September proved to be a wild month (quite literally in the case of Storm Ali!), it was unpredictable, filled with challenges and nothing went as it was supposed to go. Nevertheless I got through it and here’s my monthly recap for you all 🙂
Blogging & Projects
As I already mentioned I’ve been working on the Unique Bloggers group for the last few months, so that was a big part of my work load this month 🙂 It is both terrifying and exciting at the same time but I’m still so happy that I made the move to do it. I’ve been continuing to work on building this blog up which has pretty much entailed me playing catch up after the last few months gallivanting. The Zodiac series has taken the biggest hit and I’m hoping to have caught up by the end of this month, leaving me with two more to get out next month and then I will be up to date. I really don’t want to be behind in the run up to Christmas.
I have a birthday post AND a Halloween post planned for the first time ever – yep, get a load of this organised girl! How long that is going to last is anyone’s guess 😉 I’ve also just finished up my part in the Games that define us collaboration which goes live in November and I had an absolute ball taking part in it. I cannot wait for you guys to read my entry! Honestly though you need to check out EVERYONE’S posts. The whole group has worked super hard on this for months and the results are amazing. Even if you are not a gamer there is certainly something to be gained by reading these posts because they are about people not just games.
One of the things that has helped me get more organised with my blog has been the addition of a planner dedicated to my blog I’m using this gorgeous Harley Quinn notebook (featured above) that we got in a Lootcrate one month. It is a bullet journal-esque planner in the sense that I am also using it as a mindful and self care exercise to give myself a break away from the computer now and then. I’m not doing anything too fancy, but it’s fun and it’s giving me a creative outlet. I’m also taking part in Inktober this October for the first time and you can find out more about that at the start of the month. Here are the past two weekly spreads of my planner:
Three years ago I started my Masters in Information and Library Studies with the intention of finishing the course, completing the dissertation and by now ideally working in a library somewhere in Glasgow. Well.. pretty much none of that actually happened. I managed to complete the classes and coursework, and that was it. Since then I have been on medical leave and only a few months ago was I finally able to talk to my doctor about returning to my studies. All the months and months of changing medication, battling side effects and taking mindfulness courses had finally done some good and I was beginning to feel at least a little bit in control of my life again. I am very fortunate that I have a supervisor that supports me 110% and an exam board that has weighed my contributions and hard work against the unfortunate luck of getting a serious condition like ME/CFS just as I started my Masters. If I didn’t have those two things I would be just graduating with a diploma and honestly? My self esteem would be plummeting right now. Instead I was given the option to have one last deadline to complete my dissertation which I accepted.
On the one hand it might seem like that was the wrong decision. After all, I could have just taken the diploma and walked away without having to write 20,000 words. The problem is that I know I would never have been happy with that. This illness has already taken the last three years from me and I love my dissertation topic. I need to finish it to prove that I can do it, to prove to myself that I am still able to do these things – that despite everything changing and the whole world turning upside down, I can still be me. If I had taken the easy way out I seriously believe my entire career would have suffered from crippling low confidence and that is not how I want to begin my career as an information professional.
Plus, I have until May. I already have 8-9ooo words already written. I worked out that I need to write a minimum of 1,500 words a month which is 375 words a week. Yeah, that sounds ridiculous right? But if I get a string of bad days or even a bad week the knowledge that I only need to get a few words out is going to help a lot. Ideally I’d love to be able to just bash it out and write thousands of words out in one day like I used to be able to; but that isn’t my life any more and I have to accept that.
There are a whole bunch of personal challenges this month. From dealing with guilt at not being able to stuff due to health problems, to working on some couples challenges, every where I looked I was facing something that previously would have sent me spiralling. I am actually pretty amazed and happy that I got through them all and it’s because I approached them by working through them one at a time – something that I definitely credit to mindfulness. There were definitely some moments when I felt utterly helpless and there were tears, but I used those times as outlets rather than huge breakdowns. It was a case of me letting it all out and then getting up, dusting myself off and saying ‘ok, let’s do this’.
I don’t think there will ever be a monthly update where health is not a sub-title and I felt it even more so this month. Mine wasn’t so bad, but it felt like everyone around me was suffering. Chris has been going through a really bad period as we adjust his medication and my mum had a scan and the news was not good. Not cancer, but still not good. And I’m just left here doing all I can for them and sometimes it really doesn’t feel like it is enough.
The last mindfulness session was this week and due to unforeseeable events I missed it. Things happened and I just wasn’t able to face a room full of people. I was really upset because I’d also missed the two sessions before that, but none of them could be helped. My IBS was faring up due to stress one time and then another night I just didn’t sleep well, and sleep is crucial to someone with ME. It’s a 10am appointment so I can’t just go back to bed and get some more shut eye before it either. We have another appointment in December which is a sort of check in so I will be able to see everyone one last time then.
I was extremely happy to finally get my counselling appointment through! To be honest I’m well over due for more therapy. I’ve been trying to soldier on since my ME/CFS symptoms first started and since then it’s been one thing after another; my mum got sick, we found out about Chris’ heart, and so on. And then there’s just a mountain load of stuff from my past which I still need to work through. As my counsellor put it today; I’ve chipped away at my wall a lot through therapy and with mindfulness, but more bricks have been added and then some I just don’t have the right tools for yet. Thankfully he was super nice, and we clicked straight away which for me is important with a therapist. I still remember very distinctly one woman who I spent about 10 minutes with before I walked out of her office. She decided to tell me that the answer to all my problems was that I needed to ‘get out more’. So I’m always really nervous about meeting a new counsellor for the first time, and it was a huge relief to meet him and get on really well with him.
I did have to wait a really long time for these appointments but it came with some massive benefits. As it is at homeopathic hospital where I’ve been having treatment for over a year now I don’t need to explain everything all over again. That saves me a lot of time. When you’ve got 7 health problems you want to be able to drop the name, say how it makes you feel and move on. Not have to explain your whole medical history and background which can take up a good half an hour. And usually you only have 6-8 sessions with most NHS services; here I have unlimited. We will have a mini review every so often to see how I’m doing but until I feel like I am able to walk away confidently without the need for support the sessions keep going. And the final bonus was something I hoped would be possible and I’m really glad it is; he is going to do a mindfulness practise with me every so often! We were talking about how much it helped me and when I mentioned how disappointed I was that I missed my last few sessions he said we could do it! That is going to help me so much too.
Over to You
How has your September?
Did you have any wild weather like I did? Or has your autumn started our pleasant?
Any big events this month or any coming up?
As always I love to hear from you so let me know in the comments! 🙂