My Mental Health Since Losing my Dog


Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend never owned a dog

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I have never written a post, or really ever gone into depth with anyone, about my mental health so I should probably give you some background information. I grew up in a lone parent household, an only-child with one cousin who lives on the other side of the world. I was always around adults, and as a result also exposed to the harsh realities of life: I definitely wasn’t an only-child who was wrapped in cotton wool. Because it was only my mom and I, we were always together, so wherever she went, I went too. I suppose that is the main reason I was always around adults, because I went wherever my mom went. When I got to eleven years old, we got our black Labrador, Myles. It was a dream of mine, to have a black lab, ever since I was a little girl and my mom finally agreed we could get one. There’s actually a super old post here stating how we got Myles, here.
Photo 06-02-2015, 20 56 10Photo 30-08-2014, 13 11 46Last year we had to have Myles put down, I mentioned the details a bit more in my Autumn post. It was heartbreaking, to say the least. I’d never felt heartache like I did that day, in that vets room. Feeling his body still, his fur cool down, and his eyes slowly drift shut was the most helpless I have ever felt. It felt like a piece of me had died with him that day and after that it was harder to function.I’m sure some people would find it hard grasping these intense emotions that I went through from losing my dog -because to some people it’s just a dog. That’s not the case for me. Myles was so much more than a dog, or even a part of the family. He was my saviour –quite literally. When I became ill I had to give up everything, and I mean everything. With that, I lost a sense of purpose. My identity and who I was, had vanished, and life didn’t have any meaning. I became severely depressed, I left notes for my family, and my mom feared leaving the house because she didn’t know what she would be coming home to. Yes, it got that bad. But there was one thing through it all that kept me going -Myles. He gave me a purpose.Photo 29-04-2018, 22 20 38Photo 29-08-2017, 13 00 21
When it came time to have him put down, I’d say I was somewhat prepared. It wasn’t a surprise and we knew it was time to go through with it but that didn’t make it less harder. I walked in that vets office with my best friend and came out without him and half of me missing. The first week was hard but I suppressed the grief to get through an important uni assignment. Around eight to ten weeks later, I had my next big assignment and that was when I crumbled. I was burnt out but I was also emotionally drained. I couldn’t complete my assignment and so I had to forget about that and everything else, and just take a moment for me.

Christmas and all the preparations leading up to it, kept me going, They kept my spirits high and upcoming plans gave me something to focus on. I was studying the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the time, subject matters that I really enjoyed: which definitely helped my mental state. This enjoyment filled some of the hollowness within me. Another thing which helped around this point was taking our other dogs out. I had been trying to make the most of the daylight hours a bit more, and help my mom get them some decent exercise, so seeing our other dogs, Vinnie and Alfie, get out really helped. I think it wasn’t just seeing them run around and simply getting fresh air that helped, but also the fact that even in such a low mental state, I could still be of use to my mom.
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Christmas came and went, and I had enjoyed myself far more than I had anticipated. Then came Dooms day: Myles’ birthday on New Years Eve. Every year we would cook a meaty Pukka Pie, let it cool down, pop a candle in the top and then sing him Happy Birthday. I was supposed to be going out on New Years Eve with my best friends and boyfriend however, I came down with a sickness bug the day before and my boyfriend came down with the beginnings of a major cold/ear infection so that was bye-bye to our plans. Instead we ate Chinese food and watched the fireworks on telly. Even though it didn’t work out as planned, it still kept me occupied and kept my mind off Myles.

January and February were a bit more tricky, especially January. There was a period of time lasting about three or four weeks where it was really hard and I kind of withdrew from a lot going on around me. I needed to wallow. I was studying like crazy, budgeting like an accountant, trying to stay on top of my health, I kept mysteriously throwing up, and really just wanted to curl up constantly because I didn’t have my best friend by my side to keep me going. One day I mistakenly called one of our other dogs Myles which caused an avalanche of tears for the rest of the day. Emptiness overwhelmed me once again and I was gone. What didn’t help around this time, was that I was also experiencing some awful mood swings from my contraceptive pill which didn’t help my mood or anyone around me. Seriously, I became a monster in January -ask my boyfriend!
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March was a brighter note for me. My boyfriends birthday kept me going and I also started to realise how ‘bonded’ I was with our other dogs around this point. Alfie, our red lab, loves coming in my room as soon as I’m awake. He curls up on a blanket on my bed, while I have my morning tea and start working – while Vinnie, our brown labradoodle, curls up in the sliver of space beside my bed and conks out for the day. Although, they’ll never fill the hole that Myles left, I started to realise that the bond I have with them is also filled with love but in an entirely different way to Myles. I also read the book Make Your Bed (read review here) which had a profound effect on me and really changed my perspective on so many areas of my life. It made me really accept the bad things I was going through and definitely helped confront some passed demons head on.

When I say demons, these weren’t ‘end of the world problems‘ but they somehow felt so much bigger and harder to deal with, at the time, because I didn’t have my best friend by my side anymore. There is something so incredibly soothing about having a furry friend around you through tough days – it’s pet therapy. 

As we come to the close of April, the sixth month without my best friend, I feel as though I can finally exhale a huge breath and say ‘I’m doing Ok’. I know that each day will vary and there will be things or memories which hit me hard without him but I also know that ultimately, I have everything I need to survive within me: as well as some amazing people around me to help if I reach for it. 

Cheerio for now!

(Dis)abled

I have wanted to write this post for a while but have never been able to piece together my words and thoughts in a way which could convey my feelings on the subject correctly.

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You see, seven months ago I met a guy. My boyfriend James. It was pretty much an instant attraction between us and everything followed on quite fast, but it was right. At the beginning I found myself panicking about my health. How would he take it? Would he be okay with my M.E? Would he expect too much from me? Could I keep up with him? A million questions reeling through my mind. But he took it fine. In fact, he now says that I over exaggerated about the whole thing because I can do things and, I suppose, he is right.  

I have never been all that fond of the word ‘Disabled’ and the image it brings to mind. It brings about this idea that you are unable to do anything at all, not just physically but that you are mentally and emotionally unable in every form: and, I hate that. The idea that we are folk that can do nothing. Empty vases sitting on a window ledge, collecting dust. I hate it because I can do things. 
I can think for myself. I can make decisions. I can live a life like anyone else -sure it may be at a much slower pace on some days or I may be in my wheelchair or need extra help: but I can still do things. I am still a human being living my life and fulfilling my dreams and I will not miss out. 
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I suppose since being with James this seeded thought in my mind has grown more wild as time has passed. We have been living our lives together and experiencing wonderful things alongside one another for the past seven months. Over that time I have realised that I can do the things he does, but just in a different way or at a different pace. Like when I wanted to see the view of Hastings from the cliff top with him. Abandoning my wheelchair for a few moments, he helped me up and down the steep, uneven slopes so I could take it all in with him. Or when he helped me around Camden Market on a busy Saturday and kept insisting I sit down and rest. 

 
Regardless of those little things and obstacles that may stand in the way, I will still go forward and find a way around them -because I can. I can still do things. I can still live my life in a way that suits my health. I may be disabled in a medical way or in the eyes of government or the council: but in mine, I am still able. 

Cheerio for now! 

All About Juice Plus

Juice Plus Berry Capsules and Vanilla Shake Powder

Now we have all tried those fad diets, trying to shed the pounds for that beach body, your best friends wedding or to fit into that pretty dress for the Christmas parties. However often these diets are strict, unrealistic and while they may work as a quick fix, you find yourself gaining the weight back on and more. I’m guilty of all of the above and while I have tried many of the fad diets out there, there was one I had never heard about until just recently; enter Juice Plus.

Juice Plus doesn’t fall into the diet/fad diet category. While results from their products are often quick, it is by no means a quick fix but rather a lifestyle change. The mission behind these products focuses on getting all the nutrients the body needs, rather than simply shedding weight; and for this, they offer shake powder, capsules, bars, and boosters. The structure of Juice Plus works by having two shakes, two snacks, and one meal a day; though there is also various combos and plans to incorporate their bars, capsules, and boosters into your programme.

As previously mentioned, the products you can work into your programme aren’t just for weight loss or management but more so to bridge the gap between what you eat and what you should be eating in a day. The capsule, for instance, is a powerhouse full of 30 types of fruit, vegetables, and berries making it easy to get all the vitamins and antioxidants your body needs. Adults take two of the berry, fruit, and vegetable capsules a day, preferably at mealtime though some do empty the capsules into their shakes to make it easier to digest. Children can also take the capsules or, alternatively Juice Plus make chewable sweets for children.

Juice Plus Berry Blend Capsules

Although the shakes help lose or maintain weight, they also host a whole bunch of health benefits such as immune, skin health, cardiovascular health along with a ton of other benefits. They are also incredibly flexible as you can build up and use as much of the powder as you would like within your shakes; perfect for a good dose of protein before hitting the gym. The shakes are available in Vanilla and Chocolate flavours, and when added to plant-based milk such as almond or coconut milk are vegetarian and vegan-friendly. They are also gluten free, and free from preservatives, sweeteners, colours, and flavourings. 

The bars Juice Plus offer, just like the shakes, are perfect for on-the-go snacks or easy options for when you would ordinarily reach for a quick fast food option whilst out and about. The bars come in both mixed fruit and chocolate flavours, and both are gluten free. 

While the shakes, capsules, and bars are all great products to structure a healthy lifestyle around Juice Plus also places huge importance on still eating healthy foods in your daily routine. They do provide a list of foods you should incorporate into your meals and snacks, though rather than this list restricting what you can eat, it instead includes everyday foods that are sustainable in reaching the results you want but also keeping your body healthy and well nourished in the process. 

Want to read more about Juice Plus? 
click here, for their official site or check out their YouTube channel here. You can also check out the Juice Plus products here
 
Cheerio for now! 

your health’s, your wealth

Your nothing without your health
I completely agree with the saying above. My mom always said it to me when I first became ill. I think it was her way of reminding me that I’m not invincible, that I really do have to listen to my body and that there are repercussions for my actions. Without your health you are nothing. Your body is something that you have to take care off. Its not something you can take back to the store and exchange for another. But ultimately I’ve learnt through my chronic illness that yes of course your nothing without your health but your nothing without your family. Your family, friends; your nothing without them. They are your tribal community in which support and nurture you through anything you face. And as you journey through the good, the bad, and the ugly that life throws at you; you discover who are members of your tribe.

Cheerio for now!