Thursday, 15 December 2016

41 Things I Worry About Daily

Push For Prosecco Button: 41 Daily Worries
Last year I read this post by one of my favourite word-users, Natalie Wall, on 43 things she worries about on a daily basis. I tweeted her, well over a year ago now, asking if she would mind me using the idea because it was too relatable and perfect not to. Fast forward 18 months and I'm finally re-visiting the draft to finish and post it*. Hopefully soon I won't have to start each blog post with some kind of explanation or apology for my being inconsistent and terrible at blogging, but, whatever.

*I was employed when I started this post and I'm leaving in the ~office stuff~ because it's probably hopefully gonna be relevant again one day and, man, did I nod along at my own words when I first re-read my draft.

Whether due to my anxiety or due to just... being who I am, on a daily basis I worry about:

Friday, 14 October 2016

Reading, Lately: 5 Book Reviews

Reading, Lately: 5 Book Reviews (Book Pile)
It's super weird that I've never reviewed books on my blog before, because guys: I love to read. I love books. I could talk about books all day. I thought it was high time I got some book-related content up on ALG, so I've started with some reviews of the books I've read recently.

A few things:

Firstly, I like mini book reviews where a brief synopsis is included before the review rather than clumsily trying to avoid spoilers while writing my own summary, so that's the format I'm going for. Skip the italics if you don't like to know too much about a book before you read it.

Secondly, a friend of mine recently got his knickers in a twist about decimals in numerical scores ("just rate out of 100 if that's what you need"), so I'm restricting myself to the standard 5-star scoring system and I'm not allowed any half stars. Which is difficult.

Thirdly, I don't have photos of all of the books in this post because one is my sister's and one I lent to a friend. Forgive me.

Let's get on with it, shall we?

Thursday, 13 October 2016

You Have Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

Monday was World Mental Health Day, and while I didn't think I was up for blogging, I ended up writing a pretty long tweet thread and a hefty status on Facebook, too. Thought I'd publish the status on my blog as well because the message is important. No frills, no photos, just copy and paste. Take some time to care for yourself today, pals.

You can't see our illnesses, but that doesn't mean they aren't real, awful and often debilitating. The impact on our lives is huge, we are battling with our own minds most days. We are tired. And we're tired of being dismissed and discriminated against just because our illnesses are invisible.

Three weeks ago I went to a doctor because my depression and anxiety have got a lot worse since the last time I was getting medical help. My GP was ignorant, dismissive and uncaring. After telling him that most days I can't leave the flat, I was asked if I'd tried "going for a walk" to improve my mental health. Spoiler, educated doctor: if and when I am ABLE to “go for a walk”, sometimes my mood will improve, other times it won’t.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

10 Little Things For Down Days

Bookshelf (10 Little Pick Me Ups for Down Days)

I'm spending a lot of time on my own lately, dealing with suffocating cabin fever and battling anxiety in a frustrating vicious cycle. At times like this, it's easy to get into a bit of a rut, so I'm trying to focus on doing at least something good for the soul each day, if and when I am able.

Sure, none of these things are exactly revolutionary but this post can serve as a reminder - probably more for me - that a) it is possible to blog something even at your lowest and b) when they are possible, the little things do actually make a difference so go and shower right now.

Talking to friends and family aside, here's the things I do when I'm feeling a bit rubbish - and leaving the house isn't an option - to get myself out of my downward spiral:

Friday, 5 August 2016

ALG July/August Playlist (ft Stranger Things Soundtrack)

ALG July/August Playlist

Over lunch recently, Zoë and I were discussing playlist blog posts and how it seems like nobody cares, when she said that they aren't about that; they're self-indulgent. I couldn't agree more: it's nice to spend some time each month (or, you know, every two months...) being completely present in the music I'm listening to and putting together the perfect assembly of tracks to represent the last 30 (ahem, 60) days.

I did a Twitter poll on this because I was curious, and the "score" at time of writing is extremely mixed...

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

"50 Things To Teach Your Daughters": An Edit

"50 Things To Teach Your Daughters": An Edit (Beyonce, Ivy Blue)


You sent me the link to a post on Facebook (Dawn French's fan page, to be precise) entitled "50 Things To Teach Your Daughters" and I so appreciate the gesture, but I was a bit nervous to even open it because I suspected--rightly--that I'd find it, y'know, problematic.

I know sometimes you think that I'm just looking for things to be annoyed about, but you have to understand that I care about the "small things" because they are part of a bigger picture; they help make up the foundations of bigger, more damaging problems. These things are important to me not because I'm a contrarian, but because they are important.

I bolded the ones I agree with (30.5/50 - see? I'm a reasonable person) and left some without comment because they were weird or simply hard to comment on.
Hope it makes sense to you!
P.S. Dawn almost definitely did not write it herself, sorry to break it to you. In fact, I think I found the original on Meraki Lane here.

P.P.S. I know you're a Christian, so some of these things--namely, the ones about sex--might not fit your beliefs; it's the overall message that's important, though, as I'm sure you'll understand!

P.P.P.S these aren't, like, the lessons I personally would want to teach my daughter... just my edits. Although thanks for the content inspo!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Taking A Breather

Taking A Breather | A Little Grey

Last month I tweeted that I was having a good mental health week, the best in years, but then I woke up a few days later and all the noise was back, after eight days of quiet. I thought maybe it would be okay, because at least I had those good days, right? But it's not okay. To be honest, it feels everything but okay.

Mostly I've been working on drowning out the constant stream of self-insults and overcoming the suffocation I feel sometimes simply for being in my own skin. Every now and then I leave the house, but usually I don't. Sometimes I find the words I'm searching for, but more often than not, writer's block wins. I've lost a great deal of interest in a lot of the stuff I love, and that sucks. Motivation is out the window, too, and I can't focus on anything for long.

It's frustrating and boring and disappointing and I'm really angry about it, but there's not a whole lot I can do right now.

So, yeah... it's been a little quiet around here this past few months, and it's probably gonna stay that way for a while longer, too; I have to figure some stuff out and start using the little energy I have to get some new projects rolling, reply to people I need to reply to. Basically: I'm gonna try my best to get (some) shit done, you know?

I guess I wanted to say that I'm still about, just not so present. Bear with me.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

ALG May/June Playlist

ALG May/June Playlist

So, yeah, I skipped a month. Not to worry, though, I've lumped all the songs into one longer playlist to make up for (?) it. Expect the usual mix; a few (belated) Bowie additions, a few classic JT's to make up for my disappointment at his (read: Disney Pixar's) new song, some summer "jams" and some more chilled out stuff.

'Ave a listen:

Monday, 23 May 2016

Mental Health Blogger Meet: Register Your Interest

Mental Health Blogger Meet

This evening I took part in the #thegirlgang Twitter chat and mentioned that I'd been thinking about organising a mental health blogger meet in the UK. The response was preeetty huge, so let's get the ball rolling!

I have absolutely no idea how this is going to work yet, but first I want to get an idea of numbers.

If you're interested in coming along to a meet to discuss blogging away the mental health stigma, leave me a comment below and I'll get compiling a list. I already have a number of names but I figured this would be a lot more efficient. 

Please include the following info to make my life easier:
  1. Your name
  2. Where you live, what major cities you're close to whether you'd easily be able to get to Manchester/Leeds (or London if we were to do a North and South meet)
  3. Your email address
  4. Your blog url
  5. Your Twitter handle
I know this started within #thegirlgang, but absolutely anyone will be welcome (provided you have a blog or are looking to start one).

After I've got a list together I'll have a brainstorm and figure out the best way to do this. Thanks guys, and hopefully see some of you in the near future x

P.s. Can everyone share this post using #mhmeet?

P.p.s if anyone has any thoughts/ideas, feel free to email them over!

P.p.p.s. sorry about the rushed photo and post...

Friday, 20 May 2016

A Newly Vegetarian Meat Lover: Some Thoughts & Feelings

Linda Mccartney Meat Substitutes
Well, here's a blog post I never thought I'd be writing! You guys: I'm a vegetarian. An actual real life vegetarian. Like, I'm a herbivore. I haven't touched meat in five whole months* and I'm pretty proud of myself, honestly. I never thought I'd be able to do it for so long.

But wait, before you close the tab, this post isn't gonna be all about convincing you to go veggie too; I just want to note down a few of my thoughts, feelings and observations, as much for my own retrospective benefit as yours.

*alright so I forgot to change my plane food on the way home from Indonesia and also I ate a chicken pie my friend cooked for me the day I got home out of politeness, but these instances were still almost 4 months ago and I was an emotional wreck/jet-lagged respectively so we can just sweep that under the rug and carry on...

Friday, 29 April 2016

A Bad Day

I write about my depression and anxiety a lot on here, but, generally speaking, I write about it from a positive angle; when I'm feeling optimistic. As the photos in my post for International Day of Happiness show, so much can change in a day - it's easy to write optimistically in the wake of a bad day or moment, but it's becoming more and more apparent to me that I should also write when things aren't good. Talk about how I'm feeling, in the moment.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

ALG April Playlist

ALG April Playlist 2016 - Album Artwork

What up. It's the time of the month where I take my favourite songs of the past 4 ish weeks and publicise them in a playlist and blog post for you all to judge. Just about the only thing I've ever committed to in my whole life, though, so...

Monday, 11 April 2016

16 Things That Make Me Anxious

Imagine you're about to walk into an important exam you've not prepared for. You meant to cram revision the night before but you fell asleep with your head on your desk and woke up half an hour before the exam was due to start. Imagine the exam was going to make or break something important to you.

That tangible feeling of dread and panic inside you? Imagine that, but every day, about things that other people don't even have to consider.

That's anxiety (most commonly, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, or GAD), but no one person with anxiety experiences it quite the same. This makes it hard to recognise, hard to come to terms with and hard to understand: despite dealing with it most days of my life since a young age, I had no idea what I was experiencing was clinical anxiety until my twenties. The more we talk about it (as well as depression and other mental illnesses) and the more widely it's understood, the less likely people are to suffer in silence.

For this reason, I thought I'd make a list of the main scenarios around which my anxiety centres itself.

Quick foreword: these stressors and stimuli aren't "scary" to a lot of people, at least not to a serious degree, and there is generally very little logic involved. Remember, though, anxiety does not have to make sense to you for it to be very, very real for me.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

ALG March Playlist

A Little Grey March Playlist Collage and Handlettering

I'm planning on getting my monthly playlists back up and running as usual (and, you know, monthly), but this month, I've done things a little differently.

The March 2016 playlist is a lot longer than previous ones; it's a mixture of new releases I've been enjoying, some of the stuff I had on repeat throughout my travels around Southeast Asia, and the tracks I've come back to over the past month or so. Oh and some recommendations from a few pals (shout out to Andy and Bim so they don't start a fight with me). I wrote notes on some and alphabetised it for ease. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

On Making Myself Small: A Message

Hey, you, cultivator of my smallness.

I want to tell you a little bit about myself, because I'm feeling pretty good today; that isn't something I feel often enough, so I better come out with it while I can.

Since I was a child, I've had a habit of making myself small so as not to draw attention to myself, and though I put this down in part to my mental illness and in part to school bullying, there are other causes, too.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Time to Talk Day 2016: Why I'll Always Talk Openly About Mental Illness

It's Time to Talk day so let's do this, shall we? Let's talk.

It's been just over two years since I dropped out of university in my final semester with depression and anxiety (read my post about that here, but full disclosure: it was not a well thought-out or grammatically sophisticated piece of writing, more a highly emotional brain dump and a release).

I never really expected it to reach as far as it did; I hoped writing about my experience would help maybe one or two people, a handful maximum. Two years on, I receive several emails each week from people who are in a similar situation, asking for advice, wanting to figure out their options with me or simply in need of someone to talk to. So often in these emails, I get apologies for "bothering" me, and I always tell them the same thing: they are the reason I wrote the post in the first place. Talking to them gives me life.

To tell you the truth, though, sometimes I feel like a bit of a fraud. I'm still suffering from the same illnesses I was suffering from when I dropped out of university, you know? I still have a lot of bad days and I still haven't found a way to keep my anxiety under control or force myself out of bed when I'm depressed. Leaving my studies wasn't a magic life fix, nor the solution to all of my problems. How and why should little old me be advising all these hundreds of people? Why am I the one to help them? Sure, the bad days have significantly decreased and sure, I still think it was the best decision I could have made for my health, but I'm not "recovered" or "cured", by any means. Do I have a right to be some kind of advisor?

But then I remember how desperately lonely I felt at my worst. No matter how much support a person has, suffering from depression and anxiety is so intensely isolating. You can be lonely without being alone and that is what mental illness does. People feel alienated and isolated because a stigma still exists surrounding mental illness. Nobody should ever feel like they are alone, or unsupported, or like they can't speak out about their illness.

So that's why I reply to every single email I receive. That's why I talk. That's why I'm talking now, and that's why I will continue to talk. That's why I will never shy away from blogging or tweeting about my mental illness. That's why I'm going to share this post on Facebook even though it terrifies me.

That's why I talk openly and honestly about mental illness. Thats why I talk loudly about mental illness. That's why I will never apologise for talking about mental illness.

It's #TimeToTalk: let's end the stigma.

Want to start a conversation today? Get more information about the #TimeToTalk campaign here. 

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Downtime in Bali: 6 Online Finds

Almost two weeks ago I said goodbye to Maddy after three incredible months travelling Southeast Asia, and jumped on a plane from Bangkok to Ubud, Bali for some "me time" and green juice before joining her back at home.

It's been a bit of a rollercoaster (spending too much time alone usually ends in hysteria for this here Emotional Person), but a lot of good has come from it, too. Namely, while I'm generally rested and relaxed, I'm also feeling extremely inspired and starting to knuckle down and get stuff done. And that was pretty much the plan: take a time out, do some yoga, do some reading, do some writing, do some drawing. Take a time out. Headspace.

While a considerable portion of the time I've spent on my balcony (and I've spent a lot of time on my balcony, because... the view, you guys) involves listening to season one of Serial and re-reading Lolita, I've also made a conscious effort to read, watch, listen to, admire and absorb as much inspiring, motivating and soul-feeding content (read: stuff) online as possible. Here are the standouts:

I already knew she was a total badass*, but this podcast just took my love for Essie Button to a whole new level. She's just the most inspiring, creative, interesting, funny, down-to-earth and not to mention beautiful woman. I see your concerns that YouTubers are bad role models for kids, and raise you Estée. Just listen to the way she talks about learning new things, and the importance of doing something because you love it, not just because you want to be the very best at it, and why relationships with friends and family are most important. And everything else she talks about. Get it, Estée, get it**.

*and other such sentiments that I can only ever get away with in writing because I'm too British to say them out loud.j

**as above.

002. (Magazine) Doll Hospital mag

I stumbled upon this incredible print magazine while doing some research for my own mental health project, and fell head over heels for the whole concept. Doll Hospital is an art and literature magazine on mental health - "it's 172 pages full colour of soothing illustrations, comic art, poetry, fiction, literary essays and real talk" and I'm all for it.

The pages are filled with beautiful artwork and encouraging words, personal experiences and important reminders, I've read both cover to cover and it's the sort of thing I'll be flicking through again and again if I ever need a pickmeup or a little motivation to get out of bed in the morning.

So far, there's been two issues, and I immediately bought them both as digital copies, although it hurt my soul that I wasn't in the UK to order the print versions. Maybe I'll do that when I get back, too?

003. (Article) This is What I Believe In by T.W. Abel, on Soul Anatomy

Some beautiful words on where the author finds meaning, his/her values, what is important. Not every point resonates with me but I love that. I love that everyone could write their own version of this (as I plan to do, just in my journal) and none would be the same. As I'm thinking a lot about my own values at the moment (see no. 5), this was a good and timely read.

004. (Poetry) Andrea Gibson

Okay so not so much a "find"; I've loved Andrea Gibson for years, like, I'm a big fan (I've got a reference to one of her poems permanently scrawled on my body, yo). Lately, though, lI've been reading and re-reading her words more than ever. She has a way of creating a journey in her words and forcing you to travel it with her and feel her feelings alongside her. I'm barely sure that makes sense but I can't think of a better way to describe the twists and turns and wit and metaphor in her work. It's art. It's so clever and powerful, and has rarely not brought me to tears, not that that's a challenge. For a taster, you can also head to this page on Goodreads.

I listened to this after reading Rebecca's post on 5 inspiring podcasts, because the idea of being okay with "average" intrigued me. It's not what you think, and it's actually a beautiful concept that really struck a chord with me. Jessica described her situation a couple of years ago, and it couldn't be more similar to the position I'm in right now, so it's inspiring to hear about what she's doing now and how she's defining her own success. Her 10 truths are seriously inspiring.

Following on from that podcast, From Roses added her two cents, and it's definitely worth a read.

"Life works in seasons and it might not be until later in life that you reach your big hustle and right now could be your time to work on other area's of your life, which are just as important. Not everybody wants a big fancy job title and a killer career history and it's no-one else's place to make a judgement."

(Unofficial 007.) In her post, Rebecca also recommended this article on Clementine Daily, which talks all about embracing the "anti-hustle":

"...the point isn’t the pushing — it’s the passion that precipitates the push. Sustainable hustle thrives only with wholeheartedness as fuel."

Yep. I'm sold. 

Did you enjoy any of these, too? What's inspiring you online at the moment?

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