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13 October 2016

World Mental Health Day: An update!


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With World Mental Health Day on Monday, I felt I needed to write a little something about my own. It got me thinking about my progress over the past few weeks and decided an update was in order...


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 I've always been an animal person. Obsessed with dogs since I was tiny, I can't wait to get my own. I feel so calm with them, and I love how much they enjoy getting out of the house. I started using BorrowMyDoggy last year to help with my depression and it is one of the best decisions I made.

I sometimes sit and work in their home, then take them out for a walk and this really takes away the isolation of university life. I feel at home. Having a dog around is really calming and feels homely, so I don't feel quite so lonely living away from home. I can't wait for the day where I get to come home to my own dog one day.

So on Monday when I had no uni work to do I decided to take them back out for the first time in awhile. Having been home for ages and with an ACL tear in my knee, I haven't really had much chance to take them out. I love taking them for walks, it's such a calming, therapeutic time for me.

I'm naturally fairly introverted so taking a dog or two out with my headphones gives me time to reflect, think and focus on stuff. The relaxed cardio is also a bonus, perfect for rest day and slowly building my knee's strength back up. It does me good to get out and not just spend my days off stuck in my room. I also get the chance to experiment with my camera and try new things (like my brand new 70-300mm lens, hello you utter beauty!).

So a small thing like taking dogs for a walk means a big deal to me and my mental health. It stops me obsessing over things and being a hermit in my flat. I get the exercise I need and I get to practice one of my favourite hobbies whilst also feeling slightly more normal and 'at home'. It relaxes my anxiety so much and given all that has gone on in the past few months in my private life, I have needed that.

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My mental health has been swings and roundabouts the past few months. I've been very worried about myself given all that was about to change in September. I'm finally in third year, a year that, pardon my french, I cannot fuck up.

I've joined societies and clubs and this year has gotten off to a busy start. I'm now on three seperate society committees, helping run Equestrian, Cycling and Journalism clubs/societies. A lot of responsibility but also fun and it's made me even more in love with these parts of my life. I'm soon to start coaching training for cycling which I am so excited for and can't wait to get out there more on my bike.

My biggest battle with my mental health is getting a correct diagnosis. Being told 'you're depressed' or 'you have anxiety' is all and well good but I never knew: why?! Over the past month or so, due to a series of events I sought counselling and therapy. I have now been given a new diagnosis which fits the bill and I'm currently getting help with the issue. It feels like a light has been switched on and I can now fight my way out of this hole that my previous actions and undiagnosed self got into.

The diagnosis helped me understand how to look after myself better too. I'm now in the gym at least a couple of times a week and I'm really starting to love the burn. Especially upperbody; when it's sore a day or so later, I love knowing I've done my body good. I'm aiming for that 40lb total loss by Christmas. No ACL tear is going to get in the way of me getting back on a horse, into that awesome dress in my wardrobe or out on the long cycling club cycles! I am so fucking motivated right now, I feel like I'm constantly pumped.

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I've even made new friends, which I was very nervous I wouldn't be able to. Friends that are into the same stuff as me and don't freak out when I begin to vlog; that's pretty cool. Also, they love cameras as much as me, so a good bit of tech talk goes on.

I've been so active the past month and it has lowered my depression to the point where I feel it ebbing away. At night it gets worse, but I'm learning to combat this with a good pampering time before bed.

Making myself feel happy is the most important thing in my life right now. I just want to be happy, and proud of myself. I'm fighting for myself and my own mental health and I refuse to lose this battle. I want to be so happy, and confident and to generally feel like I have my life in order. For the first time in years, I'm so confident in my abilities to fight this. I can see myself slimmer, fitter and more active. I can see myself doing my dream job. I can see myself being social and actually going out enjoying student life.

Because it's already begun... the journey has already started and my god I'm proud of myself!

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