The Positives Chronic Illness Has Taught Me

You often hear people say ‘Life doesn’t give you what you can’t handle’. Other people say you are sent things to try and toughen you, ready for future trials – that’s a scary thought. As Kelly Clarkson so eloquently put it ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, is probably the one I resonate with the most.

Chronic illness has taught me a lot in our eleven years of courtship. I can’t even begin to scratch the surface with everything it has taught me but I wanted to share a few things that come to mind; especially as, in my opinion chronic illness has made me into a far better person.

What has chronic illness taught me?

Stillness & Peace

Oftentimes, I look like a completely healthy and functional human being however there are a few people who have learnt to see through the mask I so often put on and I feel as though I have also learnt this skill. I have learnt to remain still and calm in the face of adversity. I have learnt to stop and observe my surroundings, to listen -to truly listen. Theres often no need for any input at all. People usually just need a friendly face and a listening ear for their woes.

Perspective

My life was going down a specific road but in retrospect I realise that I weren’t truly living. I learnt to live for the little things -the warmth of a first morning tea, the way the dogs get so excited greeting me in the morning, the first sign of spring and the feeling of the suns warmth on your skin. There are so many things that I absolutely love that my boyfriend and family find bizarre. In those moments I have to remind myself that they have their health which means the mundane things I so deeply appreciate aren’t so special for them.

Perseverance

Chronic illness is a brutal motherf*cker but whether it be at the will of a higher power or that little voice in your head telling you that you can do it, you find a way forward; through the weaker, darker moments. We fight on, often with great hardship. We find a way because we know our voices still matter and we can still contribute something to this world. We don’t sit and dwell on our sufferings. We either allow it to control us or learn from experience and find ways to try to control it; or at least live with it.

Strength

There is so many variations of pain that can be felt – emotional, physical, relationships, financial, mental, etc and its so hard, near enough impossible not to be shaken by such intense pain. Your life completely changes and with that brings so much pain; however a benefit, is you also come across this immense, iron-like strength. Physically I struggle every second of every day but my mentality and spirit feels Herculean.

Empathy & Compassion

When you have felt the depths of despair and felt so helpless, like you’re drowning in a dark abyss you’ll never navigate your way out of you can’t help but feel empathy for others who have also experienced something similar. With great adversity and discomfort comes an understanding that is often more authentic given your own trials. You learns ways to recognise and support others in a way that is genuine and warm.

Purpose

Before my illness, I was laser-focused on a set path which was incredibly different to how my life is now. Yes, no one ever thinks they will be ill but my purpose and identity has completely changed. I was constantly chasing a career, monetary goals, the perfect body, and so many other generic life goals. Now I live for moments of joy with my animals, family, and friends. Moments outside, feeling the sun on my skin and breathing fresh air.

Acceptance, Self-love and Self-care

I will always be gut-punched by the realisation that my life is not how I envisioned. It usually happens at milestones like birthdays, specials occasions like graduations, weddings, etc. From having a chronic illness and so much of my life being drastically changed, I realise many of my worries before were trivial. I face a whole other set of challenges which have helped me accept other elements of my life. I celebrate the small accomplishments I achieve in my daily life. I have learnt to look after myself and to accept defeat. To treat my body kindly when I don’t manage even the smallest of tasks. Being chronically ill has forced me to prioritise myself and my wellbeing in a way that I never would have had to before. So many of us get stuck in the rat-race and end up becoming burnt out. By practising some self-care and tending to our own needs, we become so much better at helping ourselves in the long run and others around us too.

I could write about chronic illness for so long but I won’t -I’ll refrain this time around. Today, the 12th May is M.E. awareness day which I why I felt so compelled to share this post today. So often I read posts about M.E. which are so great at educating people about it and other chronic illnesses but I didn’t want to go down that route. Instead, I wanted to share the positives that have come with my chronic health conditions. I will just say though, I will be spending this Sunday having my own dairy-free and gluten-free tea party for Blue Sunday, and if you don’t know what that is I highly recommend you head on over here and have a read of what it is and how it came to be.

Cheerio for now!

things I’ve found solace in lately | april

Life has been beyond hectic lately. I’m sure come October time I will go into more detail on my life lately and what the past year has brought about for me, but for now I’m looking for every and any distractions available to me. I’m so grateful for anything light I can seek a little solace in and as usual always think of instantly sending it to all my loved ones. Naturally, they usually don’t ‘get it’ and most the time just get outright annoyed with my pestering and don’t bother looking (yeah, I’m looking at you bearded boyfriend). To that end, I like to turn it out to you guys and hopefully you’ll find something you like too.

this post As a knitter myself, this was really entertaining and on-point for me. It had some more serious points which I think are really on the mark but it also hit some humorous notes which I really enjoyed.

This video of Never Fear Truth Art by Johnny Depp, with him discussing it in a very raw, candid way is soooo inspiring. I have always loved him as an actor but watching him in interviews is so telling of who he is behind all the characters he portrays. He’s such a natural creative and really quite a beautiful soul I think. We all know he’s been put through the ringer lately so watching and seeing him in this capacity is really quite beautiful. I also loved this short clip too, of him discussing his long friendship with Tim Burton.

-After reading Best Wishes, Warmest Regards I went on a bit of a tangent and listened to so many podcasts that Dan Levy appeared on, one of which was David Tennant Does a Podcast With…. While there haven’t been any new episodes with guests since late 2020, I’ve been absolutely loving going back through the episodes and listening here and there. Obviously I loved the Dan Levy one but I’ve also really enjoyed the Catherine Tate, Olivia Colman, and Jim Parsons episodes too. I think Olivia Colman is such a delightful person and so enjoyed listening to her bond with David Tennant.

-writing… getting back into a routine of writing daily has really helped my mental health. Whether it be journalling or using prompts, or even just writing morning pages or a stream of consciousness; it has helped me a lot and I have found so much comfort in that recently. I’m hoping it’s something I can maintain as time goes on. My life is becoming increasingly chaotic so I think it’s something I’d really find helpful to continue as part of my everyday routine.

-I’ve always loved the content that Vogue’s Youtube channel churn out but I especially love their Inside Home… videos. I loved their Hamish Bowles one, he’s such a fascinating character to me and I love how maximalist his home is. It’s a true representation of such a full, colourful life. I also really enjoyed the ones they did on Karl Lagerfeld’s French home and Iman & David Bowie’s one too. What I love also is how they highlight sentimental objects in their home and the stories behind them, which is quite special.

-I loved this article-rant about people-pleasing on the Frankie magazine website. Frankie is one of my absolute favourites and I love all the writers, photographers, contributors, etc. It’s just such a beautifully curated publication. I also adore their penchant for all things colourful and crafty, often with a touch of whimsy -like these charming felt frogs (honestly I’ve swooned over these guys so much since discovering them through Frankie) and these really cool knits. I have a digital subscription to Frankie magazine and as you can tell, love everything about them but do check out their website too. They always have such great, uplifting content that can always bring a smile to ones face!

I should probably wrap it up there or this could grow a bit too long.

Cheerio for now!

self-care

As time goes by, I am increasingly reminded of the importance of self-care. I think it is one of those things as a teenager you deem as a face mask or lay in on a Sunday morning, but as you get older the meaning changes. For me, self-care holds immense importance for a number of reasons. The main two being when I’m stressed or feeling drained. I think self-care is being pushed to the forefront of a lot of peoples minds these days. Living in such a fast-paced word can often become exhausting and it’s important to look after yourself in your everyday routine, but even more so when you are feeling run down.

I think the pandemic and how we were forced to slow down, brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings for everyone. Right at the beginning, you know that odd period of time where everyone was a bit stunned and didn’t quite know what to do with themselves, we were all forced to be still and naturally that caused a lot of discomfort for so many of us. Looking back, I definitely indulged in some serious self-care practises throughout that period and I think some of them have really stuck with me since so I thought I’d share them with you all today.

Here are just a few things that I like to do when I’m in need of a little care:

Get the zzz’s: In my opinion, there is nothing better than heading to bed early when you are in need of some extra TLC. It honestly is one of my little pleasures in life: doing my nighttime skin routine, turning my phone on silent and plugging it in the other side of the room and then sliding into bed at nine o’clock (yes, I’m worse than a grandma). But honestly, I can’t recommend this step enough. It is truly luxurious.

Put the Phone Away: Not just in the evenings, but even at weekends or on your day off. I find technology extremely draining when I’m feeling low. It’s like a huge black-hole sitting waiting to suck me in. Checking my emails, leads to replying to ten, checking instagram leads to hours of dog videos and all around its not okay for my self-care. It is also really disheartening when you see everyone living ‘their best lives‘ on instagram while you are going through a rough patch.

Have a Bath or Pamper: Whatever you prefer, bath or shower, indulge a little and give yourself a pamper. I like to stick on a podcast and slide into a warm bath.

Read a Book: Disconnect from everything around you and submerge yourself in a fictional world for a few hours. Fiction not for you? Pick up an autobiography you’ve been meaning to read or if books aren’t for you put on a podcast, audio book or maybe just some tunes on in the background. My point is, it’s nice to tune out for a few moments.

Be Around a Furry Friend: There is something incredibly soothing about being around animals. The love and joy they radiate is just contagious and you can’t help but feel lighter and carefree around them. As annoying as it is to have three dogs at every angle of me, nudging me while I try to cram in an extra chapter of my book: I have now come to see that as their signal to stop for the day. They usually nap while I work so them coming up and nudging me is almost their way of saying ‘it’s time to play’. And as any pet parent knows, it’s not just having them around that is soothing it is also the fact that you have to be in a routine and take them out. With my three dogs, I have to take those breaks to let them out in the garden or get them to the park. This responsibility makes me get fresh air and see daylight which has such a restorative effect on all of us.

Eat Well: Think of your body like a vehicle, if you don’t give it the fuel it needs it won’t work. Giving yourself some self-care does not include binging on crisps and chocolates as you rewatch friends and wait for your pizza to arrive. Believe me, you will feel much more nourished by preparing a healthy meal instead -plus cooking is therapeutic too!

Keep Your Living Space and Bedroom Tidy: You can’t truly take those moments for yourself when you are distracted by the clutter around you. I think your bedroom should be the main thing to focus on. You want it to be clean and tidy so that when it’s time to switch off, you can slide into those sheets without tripping over piles of washing or your mind making a list of everything you need to tidy up. Your living space, as a whole, should be your oasis. Somewhere you can turn off the business of the fast-paced life we lead.

Talk to friends: Taking the time to switch off and simply catch up with friends is such a lovely thing to do. Nothing quite beats taking time out to see your friends, chat for a few hours and have a few giggles too. This is especially true if you have a lot on your mind and want to unburden yourself or even get another persons perspective on a matter. It also helps to remind yourself that you are not alone.

So those are just a few of my self care ‘go-to’s’. I hope theres some helpful ideas here. What are yours?

Cheerio for now!

knitting projects I’d like to work on this year

Knitting has definitely became a saving grace for me throughout the beginning of the pandemic and ever since has just become an inherent part of my life now. It has done wonders for my anxiety to the point where my hands now feel a bit restless if I try to watch Netflix without knitting.

While there’s a lot of projects below, I’m using this post as a bit of a landing page for me to remind myself of all the great projects I could start when I complete something but also to keep it real in comparing projects. I’m trying to be a more sustainable knitter and what that means to me is knitting things that I may already have the wool for but that also align with my style and what I would actually wear in my day-to-day life. Some of the items below I know I have the materials for but I would be making them for friends or family members and it would merely be for my own practise rather than my own wardrobe. Although I know that I won’t be able to make all of the below this year, I still wanted to share these patterns with you lovely lot incase there’s any budding knitters out there who might benefit from these patterns.

I should note that this is in no particular order of importance, etc – I’ve simply listed them as I thought of them.

The Projects

-The first project I’m working on this year is a piece commissioned by a best friend of mine. I got a message and photo over the festive period asking if I could make her a scarf like the one she had seen on instagram. She wanted pastel tones mixed with a bubblegum pink so I’ve been working on that for her and I’m working towards that being complete by mid-late February.

-For Christmas I was gifted two knit kits by Lauren Aston Designs; the ‘Simply the Vest‘ and the Dreamy Oversized Cardigan. I’ve done some knit kits by LAD before and love working with their super chunky yarn so I’m really looking forward to completing these kits. I’ll be making the vest in Emerald green and the cardigan in Ruby red.

-I have this unfinished project from last year, Miffy and her balloon; all I need to do is knit her dress and then that will be complete.

-I made this Bubble-stitch Cardigan last year but it turned out waayyy too big (my mom and her friend both fit in it at the same time!) so it was quickly unravelled it and stored away the materials. I’d like to try it again this year, paying more attention to the sizing and my tension gauge. I would say this is the main project that I would really like to complete this year.

-I got this pattern last autumn and then received pony beads for my birthday for this project so I really wanna get this made by early spring. The pattern requires Aran yarn which I find has more body and structure to it and while it’s only a simple stocking stitch, I wonder if it would be a good option for spring time. I have a navy wool I’d like to work with and then do multi-coloured beading throughout.

-I bought this cross-stitch pattern on Etsy just under a year ago to work on for my granddad who loves VW Beetles and is a huge Herbie fan. I started this project last year and I’m about two-thirds through it so it shouldn’t be long until it is complete now.

-I would really like to work on my colour-working a bit more this year. Last year I made this Rainbow Cardigan by Paintbox Yarns (the adult version though) which I love but it was definitely a learning curve for me with the colour-work. This year I’d love to expand on that a bit more. I made this Beetlejuice hat last year but I think I’d like to try this Grinch hat this year and then maybe take a go at making this stocking.

-Speaking of Christmas, I would really like to make the members of my family something for the festive season ’22. I’m not talking something big like ugly Christmas jumpers, maybe something like a bobble hat or even cracker crowns – I have a crown pattern from LAD so this would be a pretty easy project to do with minimal effort… and it could be something we keep for each year.

Extras

-I would like to make a cardigan or jumper to add to my collection but I’m unsure of whether I want it to be plain or patterned. I have a few plain options saved like this Basket Weave cardigan pattern and this Nonna Manmi cardigan pattern. I love how textured these pieces look, and I think it’s always good to practise different stitch patterns; especially factoring in gauge tensions, etc. I do however, really love the look of this Moon & Sun jumper (I’d probably do it in a navy and mustard), this Astro Vest but I have been going back and forth whether to take the plunge and do the JW Colour block Patchwork Cardigan that Harry Styles made oh so famous and fabulous. I go back and forth on this piece as the colours aren’t typically something I’d wear myself but I don’t know what other colour palette I would do it in – it does look like a really cozy fit of pattern though… what a conundrum.

-I have been following Alix Kramers work for some time. I absolutely love her Spoonie Top, but all her vest designs are so beautiful and on point for me. I would love to give either her checkerboard Grace’s vest a go or her Eat the Rich Vest – which always makes me smile. I do also love her Pop Art Cardigan Design. I just think she’s so insanely talented and would love to try her patterns out.

-Another great vest is this Space Face pattern by Andrea Arts on Ravelry. I’d really love to have a whirl at this at some point in the future.

-I recently bought this Coraline-inspired jumper pattern on Etsy. In some ways this is quite similar to the Moon & Star jumper that I previously mentioned – maybe I’m going through a star phase? I think before I do either of these projects, I’ll have to compare them and see which I’d prefer to do. I know this Coraline jumper pattern calls for use of both merino and mohair yarn which I believe I have only used two yarns at the same time once on a small project, so this is something I should think about.

-I’d like to try knit some sort of baby/child’s item like this cardigan… not expecting, just to try out some baby yarn work.

-And finally, I always have the goal of trying to learn how to crochet at some point. I say this mainly because I would love to be able to do granny-square projects but also I love the look of these patterns too: the last of us Ellie & Joel, Coraline Doll, and Shrunken Head Guy. We’ll see though. I’m so used to knitting now I wonder if I’d even be able to adapt to crocheting.

So that’s quite a long list – I definitely have some favourites and some patterns that I am mentally prioritising but I’m looking forward to just seeing how the year plays out. Stay tuned

Cheerio for now!

What a Digital Detox Taught Me

Way back, at the beginning of 2019 actually, I took part in what I can only describe as a digital detox. I had already deactivated my Facebook account months beforehand and had felt incredibly light since scrubbing that from my brain. The difference I felt in my mind and brain power after deactivating it was insane to me. I couldn’t believe it and so, I wanted to extend that to other areas too.

Since then I have done numerous digital detoxes. I typically do them whenever I feel overwhelmed and also, whenever I’m realistically able to do one. When I say digital detox I don’t exactly mean avoidance of digital devices. I still have my phone, my computer and tv but I delete my social media apps (no insta, YouTube, etc), my tv is only for a specific amount of time in the evening, and my computer is restricted to work and emails -no browsing anything online that could influence me. The only apps that I still use on my phone is audible and Spotify, which are where I listen to a lot of my podcasts and audiobooks. So it’s not an entire detox and some would probably say that I’m cheating but it’s important to be realistic and as a housebound Spoonie, I don’t think I could commit to a full detox at this time.

Having done a few of these detoxes now, usually for a few weeks at a time, I wanted to share some things that I’ve learnt from them. Some of these are quite obvious and then others really surprised me. Even just the experience of it and how clear my mind seems during a detox is amazing and something I would recommend everyone do at some point.

How much damn time I spend on meaningless apps

I always knew I spent far too long on apps like instagram and YouTube, even apps like Pinterest and Tumblr I could spend hours on. They’re like rabbit holes into the digital abyss that would take up so much of my time and before I know it an hour or so is gone and I really need to get sh!t done. By taking all those apps away, it made it all the more evident how much of my day is eaten up by mindless scrolling – it was an eyeopener! So much so that when I did finally have my apps back it made me more mindful of my use of social media and how long I spend on there.

Facebook doesn’t contribute anything to my life

While I had somewhat realised this before the detoxes, it became ever more obvious to me as time went on. Throughout the detoxes, I kept thinking about how I use social media apps and the roles each of them play in my life. I realised very quickly that Facebook just doesn’t contribute to my life. For people like my mom and her friends, its a way for them to keep up to date with one another’s lives even if they don’t have the time to physically see one another. For me, it became more burdensome. I’d be tagged in meaningless videos and status’ that really didn’t bring anything to my life, or if they did it was a more negative tone. I’d feel like I had to comment or acknowledge the tagged posts in some way, even if I didn’t like them which would feel tiresome but at the same time I didn’t want to be rude so it also felt somewhat fake.

Now I know this perhaps sounds very ‘first world problems’ and just outright rude of me, feeling burdened by having to comment to friends and families online, but I just realised that I much prefer seeing people. By not being involved on the Facebook scene I’m far more present when I do spend time with them and I really love that. When I ask about their trip away, I enjoy seeing how their face lights up that I remember and I’m interested in them and their experience. They usually pull out their phone and show me photos of what they’re talking about and telling me their funny encounters, etc. It’s far more fulfilling for me then swiping through and simply ‘liking’ them.

Instagram inspires me but also burdens me

I think there’s different ways in which people tend to use instagram, I have friends who use it in a very social way but for me it’s a little different. I follow a lot of independent businesses, especially those with a sustainable initiative and I absolutely love following activists and keeping in touch with the different ways in which they are striving the change this world. I find these figures so incredibly inspiring but while I love this kind of content, too much of it can be overwhelming; especially if something particularly poignant is happening in the social sphere such as the death of Sarah Everard. Instagram was inundated with posts of advice and ‘what to do’s’, and there was so much conversation around this topic that needed to happen. I know personally that this event and these posts conjured so many open conversations with my boyfriend. Quite often he would send me a post he’d seen with his thoughts which would open up a discussion about it. While I loved this and to my mind these conversations are how we will change society, it can get a lot. Every so often I find instagram too much and I need to take a time out. It’s not that I don’t want to interact or stay up to date with things, and I still care about whatever’s happening at that given time, but I also need to take time out to help my own mental health and I think that’s okay.

How valuable time is

Now it’s a bit of a cliché but digital detoxes have really taught me how precious time is. I’m not talking about time in the grand scheme of things but the little chunks of time. Those 10 or 20 minutes of scrolling here and there throughout the day when you’re on a break at work or between jobs or chores, etc. Those moments all add up and can make quite a sizeable chunk when you really think about it. I didn’t realise this until I scrubbed social media from my routine for the detoxes. Instead I’d spend those little moments doing other things like getting fresh air with the dogs in the garden, reading a few pages of a book, practising some mindfulness or even just doing a little bit of knitting. I noticed not only the difference in my time but also how that time spent elsewhere contributed to my mental health. It was refreshing to sit outside with the dogs, even when it was the colder months and I really loved those moments of stillness in practising mindfulness (the daily calm tracks with Tamara Levitt on the Calm app are godsends to me).

How many important tasks I can complete instead of being on my phone

This one is somewhat linked to the one above. It’s all too easy to get distracted by our phones and let the important tasks slip by. They don’t even have to be important but even chores and little things that need doing but all too often stack up until you need a full-on chore day. Instead of browsing my apps, I got into the the routine of doing a task off my list with a podcast or audiobook on. One of my favourite chores to do is set up my stall and try do some ironing while I have an audiobook on. I can enjoy the book while ticking a thing off my to-do list -which never would have happened had I still been sucked into all my apps.

While I know this list is by no means ground-breaking, I do hope that it gives you something to think about and maybe even inspire you to try your own digital detox. Everyone is different and uses technology in their own individual ways, especially since so many had to work from home during the pandemic, so be realistic if you want to try one and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Let me know your thoughts or your experience if you’ve tried a digital detox before.

Cheerio for now!

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!