25 Things I’ve Learned Over 25 Years.

Hello pals, today I turn 25. A quarter of a century, that’s crazy. That’s actually a considerable amount of time, mildly scary? Yes but also kinda cool. I’ve learned a few things here or there, about myself and the world, so let me share my millennial wisdom.

[Ps. if you make it through, there are some embarassing photos awaiting you at the end]

  1. Age doesn’t equal maturity.
  2. Self-care is more than a face mask.
  3. You should enjoy the taste as well as effects of alcohol. – There are times where you want to get shitfaced but at least do it with something that tastes nice.
  4. Don’t be hurt when corrected.
  5. Your twenties go quickly – I kind of feel like when you turn 21, you’re chucked into a race. It will feel like everyone is busy with their career or having babies. You’ll maybe feel stuck or off track and before you know it you’re halfway through. Before you panic, just take a moment, you’ll probably have done more than you think and more importantly, life goes on beyond your twenties. There is no rush to ‘get it right’.
  6. Never too old for ‘kids’ films.
  7. A good playlist or letter can be better than an inanimate object.
  8. Queer TV is King (or Queen rather?) for cheering me up – If I’m having a shitty day, there are 3 TV shows that are guaranteed to make me happy; Queer Eye, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Nate and Jerimiah by Design.
  9. If there is anything that will makes me believe in a God, it’s probably food – In particular, brownies fresh out the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or grilled halloumi. Gosh darn, that squeaky cheese is heavenly.
  10. Being single isn’t ‘sad’ – So in my 25 years I’ve always been single. It’s not that I’m not open to meeting someone, the opportunity and person just hasn’t presented itself. The thing is it doesn’t bother me, I mean yes when I’m alone and can’t sleep at 2am and I’ve had a bad dream, I do crave a special someone to snuggle but apart from that I’m good. I think of being single as just another way to live your life, some people do it with someone, some without and some with multiple.
  11. You can be both a cat and dog person – I don’t understand why somebody ever made the concept of a ‘cat person’ or a ‘dog person’. Cats are adorable, dogs are amazing, why the hell choose? I am here to say, I am a cat and dog person.
  12. Crying is great – You should never be ashamed to cry. Sometimes you’ll have a reason and sometimes you won’t and that’s okay. One experience comes to mind, I once cried through an entire concert. Me and my mum went to see ELO who were my grandad’s favourite band. It felt wrong to be there without him, but I also felt him there the entire time. It was cathartic as hell. Just let it out, you’ll feel better.
  13. Good friends will stick around, just maybe not physically.
  14. My sense of humour is messed up, I laugh at things I probably shouldn’t – My favourite comedians include Bianco Del Rio, Daniel Sloss and Bo Burnham, look them up if you’re into ‘dark’ humour.
  15. Labels can change – So this is for you LGBTQ+ folks mainly, maybe the heteroflexible of you out there will learn something. Unlike those annoying sales stickers that won’t come off anything, your sexuality can change, or you discover there’s a better label for you. When I first came out 9 years ago, I came out as bisexual. Now I use pansexual, bi and queer interchangeably. I also found out about romantic attraction and how I’m actually demiromantic. I’ve only found this out in my twenties. Your personality changes so why not your sexuality too?
  16. Everybody poops – Honestly whenever you’re feeling embarrassed or nervous, this is a great mantra.
  17. Travelling is something everyone should experience – 5 years ago I moved to Germany for a semester and I well and truly caught the travel bug. I don’t know what it is about diving into a new culture that makes me incredibly happy, but I know that I want to see more. Learning about a lifestyle different to yours can help you escape your problems, reshuffle where you are mentally, inspire you creatively and help you appreciate your own culture.
  18. See things live – This goes for more than just music. Theatre, comedy, even just talks are all worth the in the flesh experience.
  19. Save yourself a lot of money and buy supermarket own brand.
  20. A love of stationery can go beyond primary school.
  21. Have goals, not timelines – As someone who organises everything they possibly can, this was a tough lesson to learn. I think I learned it at the perfect time. So my plan in 1st year of university, I’d graduate in 3 years when I was 20, have my master’s when I was 21/22 and so on. But then I studied abroad, didn’t quite pass everything, I got ill and lost 2 grandparents within months of each other in my final semester. Life happens. I’ve thought a lot about whether I’d change anything and maybe apart from a few embarrassing moments, I wouldn’t change a thing. I made some incredible memories abroad, met people who I will likely be lifelong friends with and I feel more prepared to take on the stressful responsibilities of a master’s degree. I’m still taking on those goals, just at a different rate than planned.
  22. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves for them to be thinking about that thing your mind won’t forget. Stop panicking.
  23. Army of Darkness is an acceptable film for a child to watch – It was a bedtime classic for moi and I turned out just fine.
  24. I appreciate brutal honesty but not everyone does.
  25. You will occasionally forget all the things you learn and be at a complete loss but it’s okay.

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Body Positivity, Clothes and Confidence

I think everybody at some point in their life has stood in front of the mirror and just picked away at their flaws. Everybody has wished their tummy was smaller, their arms more toned or their bum was bigger. It’s one of these universal truths that sadly we can all relate to. Now however we live in a selfie age, where flaws or not, everybody is posting themselves in all their filtered glory. While it can be argued that this might pile on more pressure to the body conscious population, it has also started a wave of positivity. The body positivity movement is daring us to enjoy our bodies for what they are, lumps, bumps and all.

I’ve always had a bit of a funny relationship with my appearance. My PCOS has always meant I’m bigger than average; the ironic thing being that PCOS can be helped by losing weight but PCOS makes it difficult to do this. You’re in a vicious circle. I took up swimming around the end of 2016 though and while I wouldn’t say I’ve lost lots of weight, I have got fitter and that was really my aim.

My arms are quite chunky but now it’s all muscle and I feel proud to say I can bring in all the shopping in one go. If I’m ever asked what my favourite body part is I usually go with my legs. If I could get away with oversized t-shirts, girly boxers and over the knee socks all day, every day I totally would. Alas I live in Scotland and the climate does not allow me to whip my legs out as much as I’d like. I think I got lucky with my face. Growing up I always felt this odd kind of guilt because I actually liked my face. Like how dare I be happy with my natural features? That societal goblin still gets to me but thankfully, only occasionally. I have had so many people say that want my nose and while it looks adorable, I’d say my smile is the best part of my face. After getting my wisdom teeth out last month, I felt so sad because I couldn’t smile properly for weeks! Look at any of my selfies and you’ll see I like a big open mouthed grin, if I tried that it was agony.

My problem part is my torso. This is where you go but that’s the main bit! And yes, dear reader, it is but I don’t completely dislike it. My tummy used to bother me but when you consider literally everyone has one, it becomes less of a concern.  My problem is that I have a ridiculously long torso. I have to buy the majority of tops in a size or two bigger or wear a vest underneath. It’s actually comical when I go shopping; if I was into crop tops I’d be sorted.

Now weird torso or not, I have to clothe myself and with how many clothes I have, I’m definitely managing. To sum up my everyday style; I live in autumnal colours all year round, I have too many nerdy t-shirts to count and I love a tunic. If I’m dressing up for a night out, I tend to go for bright colours, shift dresses are my saviour and I will forever rock casual shoes to the club. Dr. Martens are the best for clubbing, it sounds mad but trust me. I’ve always loved fashion, I like trying a trend but don’t feel the need to stick in a stiff box because the catwalk has told me to. Clothes should be fun but I think a lot of us forget this.

Over the last year I’ve been trying to make the effort with what I wear. Even if I’m just heading to the library or the supermarket, I’m picking my outfit carefully. I’m rediscovering clothes that I bought and never wore or stuff I haven’t worn in forever. I’ve turned what sometimes could be a chore into something fun again. I’m experimenting with my style and it’s making me really love my body. I might be a bit oddly proportioned but I, as the famous and wonderful Tim Gunn says, ‘make it work’.

I started to take pictures when I really liked my outfit and I was determined to get my whole body in the shot. I wanted to remember that those shoes went with this dress and jacket. Most importantly though, I wanted to remember how I felt in that outfit. How happy I was, how confident I felt. It’s strange how a bunch of clothes put in the right combination can instantly change how you feel about your body and yourself. The right outfit can transform your mood and your confidence. I look back at these photos now and think ‘Damn, I looked cute’ and I can’t wait to do that even more. As we speak I’m looking at an adorable outfit I want to wear tomorrow for the first time. I’ll take a photo of it and strut my stuff out the door feeling good about myself.

Your relationship with your appearance will always be turbulent. Societal pressures will probably always be there, at least in this lifetime. Loving your body might take a while and in the mean time you have clothes to give you a major helping hand. I have a challenge for you. Next time you stand in front of the mirror, pick something you like about yourself. Not something you want to change. It could be your bum or your hands or maybe it’s this one freckle that has a cool shape. I want you to focus on how you like that part. That feeling, no matter how small, should be what you think about next time you go to the mirror. This time you might just like your eyes but next time you realise actually your nose is pretty fab too. Take that feeling and just snowball with it.

Yay for Education & Fan Fiction!

It’s taken two years but your gal is finally a student again. I’m finally getting on with my career goals. Next week my Masters course finally begins and I can stop saying finally.

I’m in a place where I know I’m ready to take this step. Health wise, I’m on new meds and finally feel more in control. I’m not having to worry about my headaches getting in the way as much, if I do have a flare up its only lasting a few days and not a few weeks. While I’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to changing medication, I’m in a much more stable place. I know I’m likely to never not have to take medication or not be a bit more cautious at times so I don’t make myself ill but I’m getting to a point where it’s not taking over all my priorities. I’ve gained some focus back which I can use for my course.

More importantly I have my writing mojo back. The last two years I’ve had ideas here and there but nothing that has really excited me. When I finished university, I was dealing with so many issues that I didn’t have the energy for writing. When you tell someone you want to be a writer, guaranteed you’ll get the response ‘Just write then’, as if it can be done just like that. But as with anything creative, the idea, inspiration and material is coming from you. If you’re mentally drained, you prioritise getting through your day over creating a whole new person or world. In order to come up with any idea, you first need to live in your own shoes before stepping to another’s. I think at times over the last couple of years, I’ve been struggling to do this & therefore writing has taken a back seat. That is until around April this year when I began writing fan fiction.

I’ll admit I used to belittle fan fiction but it’s safe to say my opinion has changed. From the beginning of this year, I began reading fan fiction after seeing a piece come up on my Tumblr feed. It was incredibly well written and it got me hooked, I started to look for more. While I found more great work, I also found work that was lacking in punctuation and grammar or real originality. Fan fiction needs a balance of the familiar and the original, I found myself critiquing work and saying how much better I could do. So one night in April I decided I would do better, created a Tumblr account for my creative writing and posted my very first fan fiction. I opened myself up for requests, which started to come in slowly. Fast forward to now where I write fan fictions for four different television shows, I’ve written 50 pieces and that includes a 9 part series, I’m currently working on about 9 requests and I have over 500 followers. It’s not just fan fiction I’m posting either, I post original poetry and prose and it gains a fair bit of attention too. I get messages from readers telling me they loved a certain piece or really enjoy my writing. The other day after commenting on someone’s work, I received a message from this writer to say how excited that one of their favourites commented on their work and that they’d read all my work. All this positivity has got me writing again, I’m working on something, whether it be my own original work or fan fiction, every day and I prioritise it.

Fan fiction has reminded me how fun writing can be, it leaves out the stress of creating from scratch but still gives you the opportunity to creative with plot and setting and so on. It shouldn’t be belittled, consider that 50 Shades of Grey began as Twilight fan fiction. While it is not a literary masterpiece, it is clearly doing well and people obviously enjoy it. Enjoyment is the essence of writing from both sides, I read and write because I enjoy it. It’s why I’ve stuck with it for so long, it’s why I know want to do it for the rest of my life. It’s why I’ve chosen to continue my education in creative writing because one day I’ll maybe be able to teach that to someone else, writing should be fun!

I’ve already began perusing the materials for my Masters and I couldn’t be more excited to start. Life hasn’t treated me great in this month and I’m in much need of a step forward rather backwards. Instead of saying ‘I’m applying for a masters’ when people ask me what I’m up to, I can finally say ‘Oh I’m studying for my masters’ and you can make your own mind up on what sounds better.

This is the calm before the storm, it’s likely in a few posts time a bit more of a stressed out Taylor will be writing. Present Taylor actually envies her a little.

One Year Of Bullet Journalling.

Hi, I’m Taylor and I’m addicted to organisation.

Being organised is not a bad thing but I’m one of these people who organises their spare time. If I’m travelling somewhere, I’ll have exact train times and even extra options if the train is cancelled or delayed. If I’m going on a night out at the weekend, I can tell you the exact days I’m prepping my skin and painting my nails. Making to do lists is my idea of fun. So when I discovered the bullet journal, my organisation monster shrieked with happiness.

If you haven’t heard of the bullet journal trend, it is essentially a diary, your to do lists & journal all in one. The best thing about it is how it’s all up to you how you use it, whether you make it simple or complex, plain or colourful, you’re in control. It takes an hour (at most) to set up initially and then it’s 10 minutes a night to plan for the next day. To start out all you need is a notebook and pen, I used this guide (http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/) along with searching #bulletjournal on Instagram for inspiration.

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I’ve now been using my bullet journal for a year and I couldn’t recommend it enough! Here are some reasons why I love it and some tips and tricks I’ve learned;

Organisation all in one place – Rather than carrying around a notebook, diary & journal around, a bullet journal provides a place for everything. I have a future log which shows me what events and appointments I have in the next 6 months, a monthly log to show me what I need to do in that month specifically as well a calendar for the month and then I have dailies which are my day to day to do lists. As well as these essentials, you can add trackers for things like exercise or medication, plus sections to help you with holiday details for example. If I am going on a trip I’ll usually add a packing list, a list of places I want to visit and also all the times for my flights or trains – having all the details in one place is so handy when you’re at the airport or station. There’s no having to rely on your phone, going through emails frantically.

 

Tip – Don’t pressure yourself to make it look perfect – The first couple of months of your journal are likely to look a bit messy but don’t worry. Don’t look on Instagram and freak out because yours isn’t looking perfect like most of the photos on there. You should use your first months to experiment. I tried lots of different styles before I settled into the setup I have now. Struggling to keep up with a task? Try out a tracker. More of a visual person? Try out a calendar so you can see how the rest of the month will pan out. It’s all about what you want to use it for so somethings will work for others but maybe not you.

 

A chance to be creative – As well as getting you organised, a bullet journal also gives you an outlet to express yourself. This could be as simple as using a different colour scheme monthly or as elaborate as a monthly theme. Maybe you don’t consider yourself an artist but like to doodle, have a whole page just for that. Adding inspirational quotes throughout can help you practice fonts and if you put them on random pages throughout it will be a nice surprise when you get to it. While I wouldn’t say I’m the best when it comes to drawing, I’ve really enjoyed doing the odd sketch in my journal. I’m actually quite proud how some of them have come out! Having the chance to be creative might actually entice you more to get organised too, instead of looking at a boring to do list, you’ll come to a colourful page that you want to get through.

 

Tip – Work out your tools – Picking the right journal is important, you’re going to be using it for a long time. For example, I’ve been using my notebook of choice for a year and still have a fair bit to go. I’d recommend using a dotted grid notebook if you can find one, next best would be square grid but lined works as well. That’s what I’m currently using and it works for me but I have this one to use next. It’s what I’ve seen recommended the most to use as a bullet journal.
– If you’re keeping things simple, you want to find a good pen that you find comfortable using a lot and a ruler too to keep things neat.
– If you’re wanting to go more colourful, I’d also recommend a set of fineliners. I currently have a set of Staedtler 0.3mm fineliners but I understand they’re a more expensive option. Supermarkets usually have their own cheap brand that work just as well. Washi tape will become your new best friend. It’s useful for borders, covering up mistake and just adding a little something special to your journal.
-Finally if you want to go for something more elaborate such as title pages, I’d buy a set of colourful pencils and pens. If you have one close by I’d recommend going to Flying Tiger. They’re really cheap and have a great selection of stationery and craft supplies. A perfect place to grab bullet journal supplies when you’re just starting out and you don’t want to break the bank.

 

It’s made me more productive – Having everything in one place means I know where to find anything I need done. Doing a daily list means I’m making sure all the little jobs are done such as filling out the dishwasher or putting away laundry. The satisfaction of seeing a list completely ticked off for the day is really encouraging. I’m noticing how much I actually get done because I’m not having to remember day to day what needs done. On a side note, I deal with chronic pain and on days where I don’t have the energy to do everything, having a daily list there already helps me prioritise so I can at least get a few of the easier things done.

 

Tip – Mistakes are chances to be creative – This is something really useful to learn early on, especially when you’re still experimenting and haven’t quite found your setup yet. A mistake can be covered up in tip-ex but it’s also an opportunity to add something a bit more creative. This can be a pattern made from washi tape, a drawing that illustrates your day or something else that fits in with the month’s theme. For example I messed up a list in the corner of my page last month. So I placed paper over it with a bigger version of my border on it, using washi tape. It looked intentional and broke up the page a bit.

 

If you’re lacking a bit of organisation in your life or need a new project, this is it. After using a bullet journal for a year now, I can safely say it will definitely get you organised. It’s completely customisable so what’s stopping you? Happy organising!

 

 

 

 

 

50 Reminders that the World isn’t all bad.

Dear Taylor,

So it’s safe to say 2016 hasn’t been great. The world is currently in a messy limbo and it’s easy to feel a bit lost. I know headache attacks don’t make it any better, one minute you’re getting ready for a girls night and the next minute you’re on the brink of fainting and can’t move. When it feels like it’s all gone to (excuse my French) shit, I think you need a little pick me up and I’ve made it in the form of this list. Here’s 50 things to cheer you up.

  1. Brownies fresh out the oven.
  2. Skins.
  3. Every Christmas advert this year, they’re all so cute!
  4. Getting pjs warm out the tumble dryer.
  5. My new addiction to Gilmore Girls (Yes, I’m late to the party…)
  6. Remembering a cup of tea when it’s at the perfect temperature.
  7. A train ride through the countryside.
  8. Discovering you like foods you didn’t before because your taste buds have changed.
  9. Iced coffee (This is due to the above phenomenon)
  10. When your nail polish doesn’t smudge.
  11. Flamingos. (If you haven’t seen them parade, watch this now).
  12. Good selfie lighting.
  13. When you predict a plot line in a TV show episodes before it happens.
  14. Cats.
  15. Our kitty Blue in particular.
  16. Travelling to new places.
  17. Hastings.
  18. The fact that David Attenborough exists.
  19. Getting your eyeliner right first time.
  20. Dogs.
  21. Making a party best friend.
  22. A Lush bath.
  23. Autumn.
  24. Bears.
  25. Burg Eltz in Germany (It’s in the middle of the forest and it’s straight out of Disney movie. If you can go, it’s worth it.)
  26. Shakespeare.
  27. Peacocks.
  28. The fact that Pokémon made an epic return.
  29. Days watching trashy tv like Say Yes to The Dress.
  30. The take off part of a flight.
  31. Walking in clean snow.
  32. Koblenz.
  33. Puns, accidental ones are particularly good.
  34. Finding everything on your shopping list in one trip.
  35. A face mask.
  36. Fresh bed sheets.
  37. You have a Momma as cool as Regina George’s.
  38. Purple lipstick.
  39. The fact that you can get pretty much any character in pop culture as a Pop Vinyl figure.
  40. A Harry Potter marathon with my favourite girls.
  41. Mint oreos.
  42. Your friends who you can talk to about literally anything and they won’t judge.
  43. Your Christmas Eve traditions (New pjs, Chinese food and Miracle on 34th Street [1994 version]).
  44. Your bullet journal and how it nice it feels to be organised.
  45. When your hair dries and comes out naturally nice.
  46. RuPaul’s Drag Race.
  47. Your Totoro onesie.
  48. Getting a haircut and actually being happy with it.
  49. Fancy dress.
  50. That days without pain do exist.

See, the world isn’t so bad after all. Just remember that it isn’t all doom and gloom, come back to this list anytime.

Love from,

Taylor.

Bi the way.

If you’re looking for someone to talk all things sexuality, I’m your gal. I find it oddly fascinating, it’s something that affects everyone and everyone has their own way of experiencing it.
In my case, I identify as bisexual as I am attracted to more than one gender. When it comes to coming out stories, I think I’m one of the lucky ones. When I was 16, first I came out unofficially when I was drunk at a party and secondly a few days later when I’d got my thoughts together, I came out officially. My friends supported me completely, not making a fuss over it. Some of them had even guessed years before that I wasn’t 100% straight. I came out to my parents over texts whilst I was at a party. My best friend holding my hand while I freaked out on whether I’d made the right decision. Luckily both were accepting of it. After reading nightmarish stories online, I was dreading the coming out process. Instead I was supported completely.
However, if you identify as anything other than straight you’ll know the coming out process does not end there. For the rest of my life, I have to come out to new friends, work colleagues and possible romantic partners. It’s a never-ending cycle. It’s been 7 years since I first came out so now I’m well versed in the situation. While I’m quite open about my sexuality, you do get fed up of the same replies over and over again. It’s what I like to call bisexual bingo:
1. So is it 50/50?
2. Have you slept with a girl?
3. Aren’t you just being greedy?
4. You’re just confused.
5. Have you had/do you want a threesome?

While I’ll answer some of these questions, some of the answers are exceedingly personal. If a person announced they’re straight, would they be asked in depth questions about their sex life? Hell no, they wouldn’t. Just because a person happens to be attracted to more than one gender, that doesn’t give you permission to probe them about the intimate details of their life. If a person tells you they’re bisexual, be like ‘yeah, that’s cool’. The person has decided to share something that is personal enough, feel privileged that they’ve felt safe enough to come out to you. Coming out gets easier the more good experiences you have. Be kind and don’t start a game of bisexual bingo.

I figured out my sexuality early on, I think I must have been a kid when I started crushing on girls as well as boys. I’ve always felt very confident in my sexuality. However it’s only as I’ve hit my twenties that I discovered there’s so much more to learn. The more I learn, the more I find out about myself. For example, I’ve learnt that there’s a difference between sexual and romantic attraction and that there’s an asexual/romantic scale. There’s so many labels out there, I love how no matter how you identify there’s probably a name for it. I have found that while I’m bisexual, I’m also bi-romantic and demi-romantic. My identifiers give me some comfort in that I’m not alone in how I feel.

 

Good days & bad days.

This post is for all those out there looking for answers, for those who are confused and for those looking for comfort after getting a diagnosis that brings little comfort.

I have a condition called paroxysmal hemicrania. As well as a fantastic tongue twister, this rare condition is where you get a particularly nasty headache which comes in shots of short pain in one side of your head. Headache seems like an insignificant word when describing the condition, when I’m ill, I usually call them headache attacks because that’s what it feels like. It feels like your brain is being attacked from all sides with very little way of defence.

Let’s go back to the beginning. It’s December 2013, a few days before Christmas. I start noticing a very occasional pain in the right side of my head. It’s not like any headache I’ve had before, it’s short but extremely painful. I take ibuprofen in the hopes of warding it off. I make it through my shifts at work and head home for Christmas without much fuss. I tell my mum of the pain and we both dismiss it as just a particularly painful headache. Come December 27th, I have my first full blown attack. I’m up early, getting ready to head back to Sunderland for my last shift at my Christmas job. I’m in the shower when the pain hits me like a ton of bricks. It was too much and next thing I know I’ve blacked out in the shower. I manage to get out with help from my mum and try and blurt out that the pain’s back. It’s not just going away however. Due to the other symptoms I was showing; stiff neck, severe rash and temperature, I was sent to hospital with a meningitis scare. After a lot of tests including one which meant I got a needle in my spine, meningitis was ruled out. However, a week later I’m still getting these pains. It’s coming in waves, I have real trouble dealing with any kind of light and my heat rashes are coating the entire right side of my face and neck. I go back to the doctors in hope of some sort of relief. The doctor I see is as baffled as those at the hospital but takes a guess. He gives me a new painkiller and tells me if this works, you have paroxysmal hemicrania. The painkillers worked thankfully and that gave us a diagnosis.

I do feel incredibly lucky to have a diagnosis so quickly. Due its rarity, it can take people years to be diagnosed. Looking back now though, I also wish I’d had meningitis. Unfortunately this is no one off.

One of my favourite things to distract myself is coming up with metaphors and similes for the pain. It’s also handy when describing what you have to other people. My current favourites are:

My brain is be grated on either side.

It feels like my head’s being boiled alive.

My brain’s turned into overcooked scrambled egg.

It’s like someone’s punched you in the face and your head’s on fire.

Over the last few years, I’ve had attacks at varying levels of pain and varying lengths of time. Sometimes I’ve just needed to sleep it off for the day with minimal painkillers. Other times I’ve been living in my pyjamas for weeks on end, taking a pharmacy’s worth of pills and barely being able to wash myself without help. Curling up in a ball is a small luxury in these moments. I’ve ended up in hospital waiting rooms leaving every health professional completely baffled when I tell them what I’ve got. Usually you can take comfort in a doctor knowing what they’re talking about, in my case not so much.

In the past, attacks could cause an interruption in my life that lasted a month at most. I was diagnosed with the episodic version of my condition, so I’d have periods of remission. Right now, I’m coming to the realisation that my condition is no longer episodic but chronic. I’m also in the midst of being diagnosed with another condition which is set off by PH, but rather than in my head I get pains in my jaw, neck and ear. I started a new job in April and after two weeks of training I got an attack. This lasted around three weeks but it hasn’t really ended. Since my return I’ve still had bad days where the pain is too much and I can’t physically handle it so all I can do is sleep. I’m having to come to the realisation that there isn’t much I can do but hope my painkillers work for the day and I can make it through my work. Those are the good days and it’s so important to enjoy them.

Today was a good day. Today the pain was manageable. Today I got to bake muffins and see my best friend and write this blog. Even in the midst of a full blown attack I might get a couple of hours where I don’t need feel like screaming in pain. I’ll try and tidy or watch my favourite film which requires concentration.

If you get diagnosed with this condition, I know this blog might be a depressing read but I think the best approach is to keep positive. That’s always going to be easier said than done. With me, I try best to keep a sense of humour. Coming up with silly names for symptoms or making stupid jokes with a brain of putty is sometimes enough to encourage a hint of happiness in a heap of pain. Make sure you have support around you, I don’t know what I’d do without my mum or my friends. I’ve also found chatting to people online with the same condition weirdly comforting, rare conditions can be isolating so it’s good to know you’re not the only one. If you’re looking for someone to talk to, I’m here to answer any questions. This post might be a lot to take it, if anything I just needed to vent. It’s important to have a release, I’m lucky in that I’ve found mine. Anyone out there in this situation, find your release.

Don’t let the pain win and appreciate the good days.