Just Don’t Think

For almost a year now, I’ve had the same obsessive compulsive destructive thoughts intruding my head space. They led to a horrendous breakdown when 2016 was winding down. Functioning like a normal human being was neigh on impossible.

While I’ve mostly recovered from that fucking mess – by which I mean I can get out of bed, hold a conversation and sometimes write something decent-ish – I’m still working on cleansing my life of the thoughts that want to do nothing more than see me fall, and fall hard, as in fall so hard I don’t get back up again.

The thoughts are there when I wake up. They’re there when I try and write. They’re there when I’m digging out my blackheads. And they tire me the hell out. I mean really. My brain gets so fucking exhausted that I’m ready for bed by 3pm.

Sleep is often the only branch I can cling to for relief from the rapids of my thoughts. The moments the thoughts are crushing me when I’m awake are few and far between but they are just so beautiful.

The really fucking tragic thing is I know what’s happening to me, and I know how to solve it. But it’s hard. I’m re-educating myself in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques, re-reading Mind Power by James Borg and talking to my mother.

Talking to my mother has probably been the most effective treatment source. She told me how she had managed to get her excessive worrying down from 8 hours a day to only 15 minutes by doing one simple thing – not thinking. That’s right. Just. Don’t. Think. Instead, live! Just LIVE! When your thoughts get the better of you, and they will, try again and again and again until all you are doing is living.

Instead of letting herself be rattled all day every day, my mother, my mountain, allows herself 15 minutes to worry about the things that are stressing her the hell out. The rest of the time, those thoughts can just fuck the fuck off. They’re not welcome in the temple of her mind.

Right now, I would say that 16 hours in 24 are poisoned with negative thinking, and this simply has to change. I refuse to allow my life to be dictated to by irrationality. I know I’m capable of it, it’s just this time the thoughts are rooted so fucking deep I know it’s going to take a little while. But I have a belief in myself that’s stronger than the doubt trying its hardest to make itself heard.

 

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In case any of my Patreon supporters are reading, I need to let you know that I’ve been having some issues with signing into my account. I have been trying to get the situation resolved for weeks now…hopefully I will be back in and writing tomorrow! I’m so sorry for not letting you know sooner. Thank you forever for the support!

A Day Of Food When I Was Anorexic VS A Day Of Food Now

I thought this would be interesting to write about because my relationship with food is so radically  different to how it used to be.

When I was 14 years old I developed Anorexia Nervosa. Over the course of a few months, I bid farewell to over half of my body weight. The hair on my head thinned and dropped out. My periods dried up. My nails and bones became brittle as kindling, and a strange, blonde fur (lanugo) started to blanket my sad and broken skin.

My body was trying in vain to keep itself warm, to keep itself alive. When the fur didn’t help, my body started to cannibalize itself from the inside out.

First it consumed any fat that I had left, then it started to steadily eat away at my muscles. I was – very effectively – starving myself to death and became little more than a bundle of bones tied up in a scrap of dry flesh.

Yet I wanted to be…no, I needed to be thinner, smaller, less noticeable. I needed to be leaving a fainter footsteps when I walked. I needed to be practically able to float. Nothing else other than getting thinner mattered in the world. Nothing. 

My diet when I was at lowest weight (just under 5 stone) was tragic. Nobody really knew what I was eating because I lied about what made it past my mouth. I became an expert at magicking food away to anywhere but my stomach.

Before this sickness adopted me, I wasn’t fussy with food. Actually, I fucking loved food, and had a more than healthy relationship with the stuff. But it didn’t take long for it to become the enemy, for me to be afraid of it even touching my skin.

This is what a day of food looked like for me then:

Breakfast

  • 15 grams of dry branflakes.
  • A small glass of water.

Note: It was VITAL that the branflakes were weighed, and I quickly replaced milk with water when I realised how many calories I could save. But then I started to become worried about the amount of water I was having and thought that it would increase my weight, so I started to have my branflakes dry instead. There were some days, before I was admitted to hospital, where I would actually count the number of branflakes in my bowl. They always needed to be an even number.

I’d forever had tea in a morning, but that quickly became forbidden when I became ill.

Lunch

  • 2 Ryvita’s each with a transparent layer of sandwich spread.
  • 1 small apple.
  • A bottle of water.

Note: I would eat about half of one of the Ryvita’s and then throw the other one and a half in the bin. When I was having lunch at school this was easy enough. Though I still did it discreetly, just in case. More often than not the apple wouldn’t get eaten and would be thrown in the bin too.

Dinner

  • A Quorn burger or something similar. Whatever it was I didn’t want to eat it.
  • Peas, Carrots.
  • Mashed potato.

Note: The fights that I would have with my mother at dinner time were so apocalyptic they became legendary. I would scream so loud I’d break an eardrum or two, and I think I remember even catapulting plates of food. I’d usually end up swallowing a few tiny mouthfuls, then somehow manage to get away with not touching the rest, most of which would end up down my sleeves then in the toilet.


After I’d pretty much reached the weight I was when I was a toddler, I maintained my exhausting anorexic existence for over ten years. I would sort of get near to being better than I’d relapse, then I’d sort of get near to being better again, and I’d relapse…and so the cycle continued on and on and on.

It pushed my terrified family to the edge, then, making me watch, flung them over relentlessly. They’d dust themselves down, repair what had been broken, then they’d be taken right back to the edge again, even more terrified than before. And again, I was made to watch as they were flung over.

Fast-forward to 2017, 17 years after I was diagnosed with anorexia, and my relationship with food is poles apart from what it was. My family and I have, together, recovered.

I have a womanly belly. My arse is taking on something of a curve. My collar bones aren’t sharp enough for me to cut my fingers on anymore. I’m also in a relationship with a Swedish man who has weaned me onto crisps and chocolate and pick n mix and Pepsi. A man who has managed what no one else has managed – he’s managed to make me eat foods which I was still, up until a few months ago, forbidden from touching.

And this is what a day of food for me looks like now:

Breakfast

  • A bowl of…I dunno…maybe 55, 60 grams of branflakes? I don’t weigh stuff anymore, with plenty of semi-skimmed milk.
  • Non Fat Greek yogurt. Again, I don’t know how much, several tablespoons?
  • A BIG cup of tea with milk AND one teaspoon of sugar.
  • A piece of dark chocolate.
  • 1 40 mg citalopram tablet, 1 100 mg quitapine tablet.

NOTE: I used to weigh my cereal OBSESSIVELY when I was ill, and I would NEVER use semi-skimmed milk. Just skimmed or unsweetened soya…soya because it has less calories than the skimmed. Also, when I was in hospital I’d drain the milk from each individual branflake and eat just one flake at a time. I’d didn’t finish a bowl of cereal until at least 5 months into my stay in hospital.

It was only when I discovered artificial sweetener in hospital that I started to drink tea again. I became obsessed with the stuff and would have up to 8 in one cup of tea…how I have no fucking idea. Anyway, I ditched the sweetener several years ago because of a million and one different reasons which I can talk about in another post – though primarily because it works to agitate my mental issues.

The dark chocolate thing is new. When the lovely lady who contributed to my Arctic Library sent me a heap of dark organic chocolate (70% + cocoa content) I became infatuated and have been having some every day since. I’m now on the last bar she sent, and I’m trying to make it last…the benefits of dark chocolate are EXTENSIVE, as you’ll probably know.

The medication I’ve been taking since 2010 helps with the shit that goes down in my brain, because it doesn’t function like everyone else’s and needs some help. The citalopram works as an anti-depressant, while the quitapine works as an anti-psychotic. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 15 along with the anorexia. Then, when I was 24 I was accessed for the millionth time and diagnosed with bi-polar.

Lunch

  • Ham sandwich cobbled together with 2 slices of white bread and butter.
  • A banana.
  • A meringue.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: Yeah, yeah, I know. White bread is shitty, but we didn’t have any multigrain in, so I had to make do. Back in the thin days I just wouldn’t have eaten. The butter is a relatively new. I NEVER EVER EVER had butter on my bread when I was ill. To be honest, I used to be so paranoid about butter that I thought if I touched it, the calories would leech through my skin.

The meringue was just there. Wanted it. Ate it. Licked my fingers.

Snack

  • A muesli bar. Blueberry or something. Love muesli bars.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: If I don’t have a snack mid-afternoon I’m a mega bitch. Seriously. When I was at my sickest there was NEVER a snack.

Dinner

  • A tuna mayonnaise and spinach (!) sandwich made with wholewheat bread. (I went to the shop.)
  • A bowl of Greek yogurt with a chopped up banana and a handful of strawberries.
  • Some more dark chocolate because I needed the good mood boost and brain energy.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: I know a tuna mayo sandwich isn’t the best dinner option, but I just could not be arsed cooking. Anorexia wouldn’t have allowed that back in the day. I had to have what I’d planned to have a week earlier, that or nothing at all.

Snack

  • ANOTHER bowl of branflakes with milk.
  • 1 disappointingly small apple.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.
  • 2 100mg quitapine tablets.

NOTE: I always eat a snack in the evening. I went to bed hungry for too many years. Plus, this is usually the time the man and I devour our crisps and chocolate…

Then later…

  • Some Horlicks because I was having anxiety attacks in bed and couldn’t sleep.
  • 1 banana because I wasn’t hungry but I needed something comforting that could also help me sleep. Bananas are good for sleep.

NOTE: My food routine was ESSENTIAL when I was ill. I couldn’t deviate away from it. If I couldn’t sleep when I was ill, there was no ‘grab a cup of Horlicks’ option.’ I just had to sit there, shaking my legs – it burned calories – waiting for sleep to come.

My, how things have changed. And how very fucking proud I am of myself and the man who has helped with much of it.

Crystal Healing : Getting Back Into It

We have always been a very crystal orientated family – thank you Waldorf education – and have used them for healing (as well as home decor and tooth fairy offerings) since I was under double figures.

But, since moving to Sweden last year, I haven’t had contact with my crystals – mar a couple of clear quartz and rose quartz pieces that come with me everywhere – or my mother’s impressively vast collection. (My mother has been a practitioner of crystal healing for years.)

Being back in the family home for a little while has meant I’ve been able to have hand to crystal contact with my collection again…and my mother’s. I’ve also been mining her books on crystal healing, including the quite frankly fucking epic tome The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall.

I need help with a lot of shit, to be blunt, so I decided that instead of overwhelming myself I’d take it nice and easy and source the crystals that would help balance me, protect me, dissolve negativity and prevent negative energies from entering my aura. The past several months I’ve been that rabbit in the headlights, the rabbit you almost kill at stupid o’clock in the morning. You know the one. And I’ve needed, desperately needed some peace restored.  

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So I reached out for hematite and amethyst. The hematite to carry around with me, the amethyst (well, this particular one) to have in my room. I rummaged through my mother’s crystal boxes and when my fingers found the smooth hematite stone and gripped it, I felt a change in me.

Almost instantly I felt calmer, the internal chatter in my head paused. At that moment my Dad shouted me to go and look at a medallion his Dad had dug up half a century ago. I went to him, the hematite in my hand, and I listened to what he had to say. Midway through the conversation I noticed that I’d been able to give him my FULL attention. If only you knew how long it’s been since I’ve been able to do that for anyone…the internal chatter has always gripped onto 50% of my focus. And this was even before I’d had chance to cleanse it.

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Hematite has always been a good stone for me because, psychologically, it’s very strong. It’s a self-esteem booster and is excellent at helping to overcome compulsions. It’s also a winner mentally. My concentration and focus has been fucking awful recently, embarrassingly awful, so it’ll do me so much good to have some hematite around. I also have circulatory problems and, yep, you guessed it, it can aid me with that issue too.

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I’ve also felt a closeness to amethyst and feel that a room is somewhat barren without a beautiful chunk of it somewhere. This purple-lavender stone, while being one of the most common, is actually bloody powerful. It’s a natural tranquilizer and overcomes blockages of all kinds. I need it for it’s calming effect. It helps me to feel less all over the place and more focused and in control. My memory has been terrible of late, and thank fuck, it helps with memory too. As a bi-polar person, it’s an essential stone to have as it balances highs and lows and also helps promote emotional centering.

Both stone haven’t been cleansed as you see them now…it’s something I’ll do tonight – I’ll be using a breathing cleanse –  then tomorrow morning I’ll start using them proper.

 

Some Things I’ve Learned : February

Despite not being able to remember who first said ‘Knowledge is power’ it’s a phrase I’ve repeated to myself on a daily basis for years. I’ve even thought about getting it inked.

(Note: thanks to Google, I now know ‘Knowledge is power’ was first documented in a tenth-century book called Nahj Al-Balagha which was originally written in Arabic, though it’s also commonly attributed to an English philosopher, the late Frances Bacon.)  

Learning itself is vital to my well-being. If I go through 24 hours without having learnt something new, I get twitchy, I get irritable, I become one of those ‘don’t touch me! I haven’t learned anything today,’ girlfriends. The same goes for achieving. I like to make every day count.

For many months of last year, just getting out of bed in the morning was achievement enough, but when I’m doing okay, and when I’m doing great, I don’t like to let anything hold me back.

Achieving creatively is what soothes my soul, but achieving in other ways – like learning to like a part of my body I’ve despised for years, or helping my boyfriend to relax when he’s been stressed to hell at work – are achievements that make everything worth it.

This documenting what I’ve learned idea only came to me about a week ago, so somethings will have, sadly and inevitably slipped the net of my aging memory (31 in 190 days). As a result, this post is a bit different to how March’s entry will look. March  will also be much beefier.

P.S. The little bullet points are the rune Kenaz which symbolises – among other things – knowledge, illumination and creativity.

The Macabre, Death & Wyrd Things

< Lavender Saved Lives During The Plague

I knew that lavender was used by in the masks of Plague Doctors to eliminate the thick scent of death and decay, but I didn’t know that it actually helped save lives when the Black Death was sweeping across Europe in the 1600’s. Fascinatingly, the population of an entire town escaped death because of the unassuming little plant. At the time, the town of Bucklersbury was the centre of the European lavender industry.

< You Can’t Actually Shoot With A Silver Bullet

One night, just before we were going to watch American Horror Story – Coven (re-watching and loving every minute) my boyfriend said ‘do you want to know something?’ Usually it’s me doing the ‘do you want to know somethings…’ so I was particularly excited as I turned around to give him my full, undivided attention. ‘You can’t actually shoot with a silver bullet,’ he said. This revelation was particularly devastating. He explained that a silver bullet is too light to make an accurate shot. The world of horror will never again be quite the same.

< In Belgium People With Severe Mental Illnesses Can Be Assisted To Die

I watched this fascinating, honest and upsetting documentary featuring Emily, a 24 year old who is ready to end her life due to debilitating mental health issues.

< An Arctic Icebreaker Makes The Best Ambient Music

I listened to nearly 10 hours of white noise from a polar icebreaker in the Frozen Arctic Sea and it was magic of the purest kind. Listen here.

Life Things

< I Love The Swedish Name Svea

I was researching a piece for Baby GaGa about Swedish baby names for girls and Svea just melted me. The fact it had a fucking brilliant back story made it even better. Pronounced SVE-ah, Svea is from a personification of the country of Sweden and during the 1600’s and 1700’s it was only used as a term for Sweden. Svea a derivative of Svear which is the Swedish name for the ancient tribe the Swedes. The Swedish name for Sweden is Sverige, a newer form of Svea rike, which translated means ‘the realm of the Svear.’

< We Need To Use The Blueberries In The Freezer From Last Summer

I was in the freezer this morning, and noticed we have about a kilo of blueberries left over from last blueberry season. I don’t know how they’ve lasted so long considering how much of a smoothie/blueberry pie fanatic I am. But before I know it, we’ll be out picking the bushes clean and the freezer will be chock full again with fruit. So, I’m going to do some thorough recipe research, and see if I can also find some ways to use them on my skin.

< I Am Actually More Patient Than I Thought

This morning I had such brilliant intentions when I hauled myself out of bed, and after a breakfast with my current read (In The Kingdom Of Ice by Hampton Sides) continued with my cross stitches for my little shop (that’s coming on the 5th of March). I ended up spending three and a half hours mostly unpicking my stitches but not once did I scream loud enough for the neighbours to hear. Cross stitch has MASSIVELY helped me to become more patient.

< Having Newly Dyed Hair Improves My Confidence Massively

My roots have been bothering me since November of last year, and going out without my hood on for the past four months has been a very rare occasion because I’ve felt hideous. It doesn’t help that my hair refuses to adapt to any style I try and put it in. The other day – after asking my boyfriend to dye my hair for several months – my friend helped me bring my roots from dirty mouse to Arctic night black. Though I like leaving the house with my hood up it’s a comfort knowing my head no longer looks like it’s been stored in a bin.

 

 

Beginnings Are Always Hard

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Beginnings are always hard. There’s no two ways about it. I actually think I used this same title half a dozen years ago for another blog… Going against one of the main rules in blogging, this post will be a bit rambling. I’m not a rule follower anyway.

I’ll start off by telling you a little obscure and not so obscure things about me so you know who you’re giving your precious time to. And it is precious.

My favourite crystal is moonstone, quartz, moonstone, quartz. My favourite crystals are moonstone and quartz. I prefer dogs over cats. Despite the photo above, you’ll rarely see me in anything other than black. My hair isn’t white. (I tried. I failed.) I didn’t like The Blair Witch Project the first time I saw it in 1999 and, despite it not being ‘scary’ enough, I didn’t dare go in the forest behind our house for a week. (It’s now in my top three.) I live in Sweden with musician-dad-of-one-all-round-good-guy Hravn who fronts the band Rimfrost. I’m crazily enthusiastic to the point of manic about my interests. I’m either up or down, rarely is there a middle ground. As is the case for most people with bi-polar, I struggle with middle ground.

Now that’s been said, on we go.

For the past week and a bit I’ve been so genuinely fucking excited about getting this blog started that it’s been hard to sleep at night because of the ideas scurrying around in my head like the soot sprites from My Neighbour Totoro. I spent hours designing my logo…

…and happily agonizing over which one to choose.

I spent days listing blog post ideas and doing preliminary research. (I won’t show you my notebook at this time because, as an immigration officer in America once told me, my writing ‘looks like chicken scrawl.’)

I spent far too long flitting between WordPress themes and customizing and flitting and customizing before settling with what you see here and will (will any luck) see for some time to come.

And then, when the time came last night (this was supposed to be put out there twelve hours ago) I had a quiet panic attack.

I’ve been hosting numerous other blogs for several years now (Wyrd Words & Effigies, The Girl With Cold Hands, Katie Metcalfe Blogger) and they’ve been my safe havens, my go-to places when the world has been a bit much, my much loved creative outlets that have also acted as therapists, best friends and family.

I’ve poured so much of myself into these spaces over the years that it felt almost wrong to be starting something new, as if my other blogs would feel as though I’d abandoned them – even though I haven’t, they’re just resting while I decide where to take them. (These weird thoughts could also be partly due to the fact that I’m overdue on getting a new prescription for my quetiapine…)

Then I remembered how my excitement was mixed with anxiety when I started those projects too, and I found myself calming down and feeling energized and empowered again.

After the initial panic of setting up a new blog, you do feel a real sense of empowerment and from my experience, with every new piece of energy you put into your blog, that feeling of empowerment expands.

Anyway. The blog you’ve found yourself at is going to be a living, messy manuscript of my wyrd, wonderful, sometimes difficult existence here in the North.

In my next post, I’ll talk about where my curiosity is heading in 2017, how I intend to bring more magick into daily life and anything else that crops up in the meantime that I think you should know. You best get the kettle on now, it’s going to be a long one…