29 November 2013

Dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome as a teen // Part Two

Carrying on from Part one of my post (here) I decided I had to go to college, of course, because that's what all your friends are doing, so you must do as they do, right? 
I went to college, but I was still an emotional wreck and the simplest of tasks like getting the train on my own in the morning turned me into a mess let alone getting into class. I loved doing the work because I love publishing, design and photography but my heart wasn't truly there and my head certainly was not prepared to do any of it, let alone attempt to make friends. In my head I really wanted to be in college and experience everything my friends were but my body just was not with me. I found my muscles were getting worse and any walking absolutely killed me. I once came home from a bootsale and was in so much pain I couldn't walk, I had to crawl to the lounge in tears for my mum (yep, like the rugrats) 
I decided to drop out, and I felt like the biggest failure, I was embarrassed. I cried every day for pretty much a week because I was scared I was ruining my life. An illness was ruining my life and there was nothing, absolutely nothing I could do to control any of it. I turned 17
and I decided I was going to take a year out and just let myself chill out. I had so much stress for 2 years at school, I had pressured myself to go to college and I really needed to just take some time out. I'm one of these people that cannot just do nothing, that's why I felt like a loser failure for dropping out of college first of all. I decided to start my driving lessons and focus on something I enjoyed. I volunteered at a charity shop (loved that) and poured my time into blogging and writing. This is when I really found my love for blogging and I properly took the time, I found the more time I was taking to just 'wake-up and live' the less anxious I felt and I could go out and do more tasks. I was having a positive outlook on everything because I was finally doing things that made me happy without people making passive, un-knowledgeable comments about my health. One thing I absolutely despise is when people comment "Oh, so you're always tired?" because it's more than that, way more. More then words can describe. Even now I really do not know how to explain to someone what I feel when they ask me what m.e is. It's one of those things where until you have walked in those persons shoes you really do not know how they feel. I found CBT didn't help me so I decided to explore other avenues. I went on the lightning course, which I'm not going to comment on. I also went to a homeopath which is a little controversial but I found it helped me. I learnt what foods had an affect on my energy levels and what foods and drinks were not agreeing with my body to put it simply. I cut out pretty much 80% of my normal diet and ate clean. For the first time in years I felt myself getting better and I continued. This is truly how I found my way back to my 'almost healthy path' It's also how I lost the weight but It really wasn't the main bonus for me, I just wanted the old healthy me back. I passed my theory test first time (yay) and then shortly after took my driving test and also passed first time round, double yay. In a strange way this also helped me feel better because it forced me to focus my mind on achieving something, for the first time I had learnt how to do something and succeeded without having rude comments about 'oh you're here' being thrown my way. It gave me independence and I slowly found myself venturing out shopping on my own. I'm still shocked now that I just go out shopping on my own when a year ago I would never have even dreamt of it.
I also found the courage to force my booty to some blog events this year, which I always used to avoid from being to scared and nervous, I've met some amazing bloggers (you lovely lot know who you are) and had lovely evenings with them. 

After the year out, September came around again and this time I decided to try college again. This time I was determined and in the right frame of mind to do this. 
It took me a long time to be happy with my decisions that I made. Through out school and the year out I felt constantly judged and low. If I ever did muster up the courage and strength to go in I would be met with "oh you're in" comments because nobody knew what I was experiencing or were just pure ignorant idiots. 
The other thing that helped me improve was just not caring about what people think. It really makes the world of difference, wear what ever the hell you want to wear and just do you. If you're happy then that's truly what matters. I took a year out for my own health, mentally, physically, emotionally... everything. It did me the absolute world of good, and right now I think it's 100% the best thing I ever could have done for me, no-body else. Yeah, my friends are now a little ahead of me but I don't really care because I really was not ready, I just needed space to breathe. I probably wouldn't have agreed a year ago when I was crying in bed feeling like a failure for dropping out. 

In all honesty, I believe in fate. I've met an amazing group of people at college and I really love every single one of them. I never had that the year before because I just excluded myself from all situations, I was just empty and sad and totally lost at what I was doing in life. I've got myself a lovely little job and I'm studying what I want to do in my career, I'm trying to be independent and I'm still blogging. I slowly introduced light exercise which I found helped my muscle pain and I no longer need a 2-3 day recovery period to do anything or plan events. 
Yes, I still have low points. I still need 'bed' days or pj days, I just don't document it on Twitter or on my blog, because lets be honest- no-one has time for boring negativity. Sometimes I wake up for college and I just want to stay in bed because I'm just so low or sad or in so much pain with my legs but I've learnt to pull myself up, slap my hair in a ponytail and smile it off. Smiling really is the best medicine for me. One tip I do rate from a therapist is to act how you want to feel, if you want to feel happy then act it, look like it and think it and you will be it. Not in materials but emotionally. I cannot put into words how happy I am that I'm slowly grabbing my life back under my control, almost like a fisherman with his rod.  

I understand just how you're feeling and for anyone reading this who knows someone close to them then just be a shoulder and try to understand them because I really did not have this and it made me so much worse. The comments when you do finally get out and feel a little better knock you down to the ground so just try to understand and be there when you can because little things make the world of difference, believe me.

I don't want to put to many tips in these posts because in honesty, m.e like any illness is completely personal and I'm just speaking from my own personal experiences. I always used to feel alone in all this crap I was experiencing, I had my amazing parents but I didn't know how to deal with any of what was happening and needed someone my own age who understood, so if any of you want to talk in a non-cheesy cliche way, my email box is open. If any of you would like to email me, then please feel free. I would absolutely love to hear from anyone wanting any advice or a chat. My email is in my sidebar to the right. 

I honestly believe this has made me a stronger person, It's the worst thing I've ever gone through emotionally and I truly never thought I would find a way through it all and improve back to the healthy me who controlled my own body. I feel like I have completely 180'd in my views of life and I'm so much more positive in life and don't allow things to affect me, I see a way through it and I've learnt how to control my symptoms to an extent.

If there's anything anyone wants to know comment below, tweet or email me I'll be happy to reply, unless it's totally intrusive aha. 

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28 November 2013

Dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome as a teen // Part One

This is a topic I've very lightly touched upon on my blog but never really delved in to, even though I write personal posts on here, this is something very personal to me. Which when I think of it, is almost shocking. It's the main reason and outlet I used and why I created 'sjmwell'. 
I'm torn between wanting to keep all of this hidden in a drawer of my memories and also publishing this and helping anyone out there reading this in the same boat right now. 

When I was in year 10 I became really ill and absolutely drained. I still remember the day I started feeling absolutely like death, I came home from school and just collapsed in bed and did not move for a week, no exaggeration. "Oh it's a teen thing, out all day and partying" no. I never was and I'm still not one of 'those' teenagers. I was getting top grades in all my classes and I was set for A* on my upcoming gcse exams. 

The summer of year 10 is when my life went rambling out of control. I got more and more ill and more and more drained, constantly feeling exhausted and like a drained zombie. I experienced headaches, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, disturbed sleep, severe stomach cramps/pain, light sensitivity (which is why half the time I wear sunglasses in ootd) and many many more that I found myself just residing under the safety of my bed covers afraid to go anywhere. I was a massive emotional wreck and the fact I could not attend school stressed me out even more then you can imagine. Before I got ill I was an active, very happy teen who would go out straight after school until the evening to see friends, I would swim for 4 hours and then bike home, shower and sleep then school, and was learning to scuba dive and all that fun stuff. I was slowly getting worse, and I was so stressed I felt completely out of control. It really did not happen over night except from the previous I mentioned.

 I was slowly getting worse and my friends were completely clueless and confused at what was going on. I'm going to be completely honest as I always am on my blog. I decided last year to completely delete this chapter out of my memory because it really emotionally affected me and it really really was the lowest point that I really can't remember the exact timeline of events because I just do not want to go back there. I also found I put on around 2 stone in weight which I've only just finally got rid of, that really did not help matters on the rest of everything else. 

All I remember is going to constant doctor and hospital appointments, frequent blood tests and the most horrible experience was a brain scan. After constantly going to the doctors with the hope they'll find something I finally did. I found doctors really didn't listen to me and I was fogged off with "it's your age" but I was pretty sure growing up didn't feel like I felt. I finally got referred after 2 years of fighting and told everything I was experiencing was chronic fatigue syndrome/ M.E/ CFS /myalgic encephalomyelitis or for some post viral syndrome but as I didn't get a viral infection or flu it wasn't that.  

So, yay you're going to get better and drink some medicine right? wrong. For me, nothing got better. I just had to deal with it. Like I said, I'm going to be completely honest whether writing this makes me feel sad to re-live it or not. 
I was referred to CBT, which was absolutely rubbish personally, some may find it works wonders but for me, no, no not in the slightest. I remember having a huge panic attack and collapsing in the toilets crying my eyes out, I thought I was having a heart attack because I didn't even know what panic attacks felt like, I'd never experienced anything like it before. So, yes I did not continue that course at all.  
I'd became so anxious that I couldn't enter the exam hall and had to do it seperately, I was quickly becoming someone I didn't even know, I'd never been so socially excluded before, I'd done lots of exams without any problem the years before year 11, yes nerves like everyone, but I was a wreck.
After I finally finished school and got my exams out the way, my next hurdle was college. hm. I was still really socially anxious and to put it simply, I found it hard to even go to the corner shop without going with someone, I couldn't do anything without wanting to burst into tears. I cut my self off from all of my friends and deleted every social networking site I had and changed my number. My sleeping was really affected and I never slept, I often stayed awake all night and just stayed up the next day and just felt asleep when I felt like it, I was exhausted and tired and no matter how much I slept it made no difference, it wasn't refreshing sleep in the slightest, I was fed up. I found even the simplest tasks would leave me in absolute pain, my leg muscles made me suffer from doing the smallest amount of walking. If I ever done a big day out such as London I would need 2-3 days before and after of ~recovery~ I remember stumbling on Michelle Phans videos one evening, and I become obsessed with watching her make-up videos, I then found Kayla Hadlingtons blog and absolutely loved how you could document your diy's or outfits of the day and decided to make my own, and well... this is how Sjmwell came about. My blog was something I could escape to and pour my hobbies and loves into from the confines of my bed where I was so fed-up and bored of being without all of my friends. It quickly gave me a purpose and It's only now I realise just how thankful I am for blogging. 

I've literally rambled. I will be splitting this post into two because It's so long! 
Still cannot believe I actually wrote all of this. I will try and have part two up soon, and thank you so much to anyone who took the time to read this.

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17 November 2013

Paris pharmacie haul - CityPharma & Sephora

Apologies for this being posted a little later then I had planned. As some of you may know from following me on Twitter I haven't had the best of weeks in my ~personal life~ but I managed to film my haul of things I picked up from Paris. 
I also picked up lots of food/home and magazines etc but this is just things from Sephora & City Pharma and other pharmacies I popped in. I absolutely loved shopping in Paris and wish I had alot longer. 
City pharma was even better in person then imagined from reading about it on blogs. 

Read about part one of my trip here. Part two will be up sometime this week!
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8 November 2013

Paris instax #003

Normal film - here

I received the Fujifilm Instax camera for my birthday, and of course it would have been rude to not take it on my trip to Paris last week! Even though I pretty much love my digital slr, I'm a real sucker for analogue and instant film cameras, I can appreciate the beauty in the sharpest of photos but also the old school film, less sharp ones. 

The rest of my paris trip posts will be up soon, along with a pharmacy haul and part two of my vlog for my Youtube channel  (see part one here!)

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4 November 2013

Paris #001

The other day I hopped on the Eurostar and went away to spend a couple of days in the heart of Paris. Me and Paris have a rocky history, I remember going on valentines as a child and being absolutely miserable, wet and with a sprained ankle but this time I was eager for Pharmacies, chocolates, the beautiful buildings, reaching the top of the Eiffel Tower (note: one thing ticked off my '20 before 20' list, yay!) and soak up the gorgeous french atmosphere. 
We arrived at our very lovely hotel, and after my sheer excitement of the fact we had a set of gorgeous french windows that I could just stare out of in the evening, and a absolutely huge queen size bed we immediately dropped our bags and went to Champs Elysees to see the Arc De 
Triomphe, Sephora and a little peek of the Eiffel Tower to the West. 

On our first full day we decided to hit the shops, City Pharma here I come! We ventured to Saint Germain Des Pres; a lovely little area which felt less touristy and more 'french living' in a way. We discovered quickly that french buskers perform on the metro, much to our surprise when a lady started talking in french and then exercising her lungs, something I've never really seen on the tube before, I'm guessing it hasn't reached London yet. City Pharma was more then I expected, a heaven of shelves with every french skincare item you could ever wish upon with french ladies offering help on every aisle for any questions you had. I have a haul video/post coming up soon of what I picked up! After spending rather alot of time in the pharmacy lunch was beckoning and after some research before hand on Trip Advisor I saw the smiths bakery was near so we decided to pop there for some of their famous baguettes. I even managed to order fully in french to a very delightful french man who hopefully understood what this crazy English girl was trying to order. We also popped into Paul, a very wonderful yummy food haven, full of absolutely lovely pastries, baguettes, bread and just lots of loveliness. They are also priced really well, I would highly recommend their vanille eclair (to die for!) we even went back again the day we left to bring lots home. If you can't manage to get to one of their main shops, we discovered they have outlets at different places such as 2 at Gare Nord train station if you were after a last minute sweet french fix. 

The day was finished off by seeing the beautiful Tour Eiffel light up sparkling in the darkness, absolutely wonderful too see, and so lovely. It really finished up the day nicely. Well, apart from my mum & I being shut in the train doors (we learnt very quickly the french train system gives you literally 10 seconds to get on and off and off it goes) the doors continued to shut with us still in it and we were luckily saved by a lovely group of people on the rush hour packed train. Oh Parisian adventures! 

I also vlogged for the first time properly which can be found on my Youtube channel here and above.

part two here!

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