Icy Adventures

Part of my recovery from (ew, I have to say it again) love addiction, involves not using anything to numb the pain and discomfort I’m feeling. No alcohol. No drugs. No distracting relationships, and – the author is very clear on this point – no using food to the same end. Easy for her to say!

This is similar to my decision to stop my course of anti-depressants. Since I’m in a place where I can cope without them, I decided that I needed to let myself feel the things I was avoiding. I can’t address my problems if I don’t know what they are. Although I’ve been an emotional eater for as long as I’ve had emotions, for some reason I didn’t consider until I read the words on the page how much my eating habits should absolutely be categorised alongside those other more insidious things. I’ve been doing ok with that so far, with only one rogue sandwich that wasn’t entirely on plan. Even that wasn’t because I was miserable as such, just annoyed that the scales haven’t been budging. More on that in a bit…

This week I started my ‘inner child’ work. I’m still very new to this side of things so don’t really know how to adequately explain the concept of the inner child, but this first stage involves me writing out every significant event in my life to date – good things, bad things, turning points etc.

I got to age ten and I was done, I needed a break. My time of the month is on its way which in itself brings sadness and a massive dip in energy, so I decided to wait until those feelings abate before I continue. This is self-care, y’all!

Weirdly, the only two events I’ve come up with so far that weren’t negative were the birth of my brother and sister. Weird because I honestly can’t remember feeling worried that they’d replace me as number one child, and weird because once they learned to walk we did not get along. It got even worse when they started talking. Ugh!

The idea of the exercise is to look for patterns and identify what triggers a tantrum in your inner child despite you now being a bona fide grown up.

Already it’s not hard for me to work out. Abandonment, abandonment, abandonment. When someone in my life nowadays disappears, my inner child is scared out of her wits. All she can think is they’re not coming back. They’re never coming back. This always happens. People always leave me.

After growing up with a father who would go out drinking ‘for a couple of hours’ in the afternoon, and next thing you know you’re pacing the living room at 3am with your mum, wondering if it’s time to start ringing around the local hospitals, you would think I’d be more discerning with my own partners. Nope, my relationship past is littered with no-shows and disappearing acts.

Past Hayley has let her inner child take over, and I’ve ended up throwing mobile phones up the wall on more than one occasion, crying, pleading, just quietly being frantic with worry so as not to cause a fuss but being totally unable to function till he shows. Definitely more quietly worrying in recent times – there’s no point telling someone how much their disappearing upsets me only for them to promise they won’t do in future, then… just keep on doing it.

Future Hayley might well end up in this situation again, but future Hayley will be whole and healed. She’ll go about her business when he doesn’t show, because her life is full of things she loves to do. She knows that his behaviour is nothing to do with her not being ‘good enough’. She already knows her worth. When he does surface, she’ll decide that this kind of behaviour is not what she wants from a partner, and she’ll move on, making space for someone more deserving.

Whilst going over all this I cried several times, occasionally over things I thought I’d forgotten about. That’s good, that’s progress. Then I felt crappy for a while, now I feel a bit better. That’s how it works I suppose. I’m pleased I’ve made a start, because I approached this exercise with the enthusiasm of someone who’s about to have their teeth drilled into with no anaesthetic. I’m guessing the teeth drilling would be worse. Marginally.

A chap at work mentioned that I looked serene and asked if it was because I had a new man in my life. I was surprised on two counts – one, because no man I’ve ever been interested in has been the type to bring the slightest bit of serenity, and two, because I have so much inner turmoil right now. I guess my poker face must be improving.

I’ve decided to schedule two afternoons a week for ‘thinking time’, like I’d be possibly be doing if I were seeing an actual therapist. That way (I hope) it won’t overwhelm me.

I’m trying not to panic about weighing in, which is happening later on. This week I’ve been doing a low-carb version of Slimming World known as SP, where you eat lots of protein and lots of low energy-density foods. People in group who have done it have had fantastic losses, but I’ve been absolutely smashing it and yet the scales have refused to budge.

I put off weighing myself till Thursday, then I couldn’t help myself any longer. I was tired and hungry, I was sure I was going to see a great loss, and I wanted to get a buzz from seeing that it was working. Except… one pound ON. I’ve been so good, that shouldn’t be physically possible! So I cracked and ate a sandwich, immediately regretting it.

Saturday and Sunday, I ditched SP before any more sandwich incidents could occur, but to be honest I’m quite proud of myself for stopping at that one sandwich. That’s pretty impressive for me.

I really do have a distinct feeling of not having done ‘enough’ this week. I’ve been too tired to walk every day, but the two trips I did take around the park yielded good fungal results.

Yesterday morning was spent having the best time with my brother. I suggested we check out a country park that’s new to us, but by the time I finished work I was regretting having suggested it. This is normal for me – I get too tired and tell myself ‘next Sunday I’ll just sleep all day!’ Then I go out, have fun, and decide it was worth it after all.

In fact yesterday was the most pure, unadulterated fun I’ve had in ages.

We got to the park a couple of hours before the visitor centre opens, and there were only a couple of dog walkers about. It was freezing, literally. There was a blanket of ice over everything but the sun was out and everything was mightily pretty.

There were loads of puddles that were frozen over, and I think we stepped in every single one. Any toddlers arriving later on would no doubt be disappointed, but that’s not my problem. They should have got their parents up earlier, right?

Just look how thick the ice was!

Stomping over icy, crunchy grass and stepping in creaky, glassy ice puddles are two of the most satisfying things in the whole world. Fact.

I also did something scary, something I haven’t done in years. Have you been down a slide as an adult? Looking from the top it seemed so steep. Surely I’d go flying off the end and possibly really hurt myself? My brother decided to film it, because if I did hurt myself, filming it would of course be even more hilarious. Thanks bro.

Ok, perhaps I wasn’t in danger after all! Injury averted, a walk through the more wooded parts got me a few more lovely shots.

As we headed back towards the visitor centre, we realised our early start paid off because it was packed. But we absolutely had to go in to get deer food. The park has fallow deer that live there all year round and they are cuuuuuuute!

Back to reality though, and the weigh in results are in. I’m in shock, because I was so sure I’d messed it all up. In fact, I lost 3lbs!

This week I’m really not going to weigh myself at home, honestly. It’s more trouble than it’s worth.

With that I must sign off as group is about to begin. Have a fab week everyone!

Hayley x

Addictions

Now that I have significantly less troubles on my plate, I’ve found that some brain fog has dissipated and I can think clearly again. Since I currently have the mental capacity to do so, I’ve started reading Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood.

It took me a long time to discover this book. Every relationship I’ve had so far has found me getting myself in worse and worse situations, so much so that with the last one (not counting Gentleman Friend, he was just a slight regression) I thought another one like that might very well be the end of me. I knew something had to change, but didn’t know what. I had no explanation as to why I got involved in the first place (knowing full well he wasn’t right for me), why my feelings were so intense, why I found it so hard to walk away… I felt lost and hopeless, doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

I eventually found my way to this book via several Instagram accounts and a Facebook support group for women like me, but I had it on my Kindle for a long time before I found the courage to start reading it.

Basically, and it’s absolutely mortifying for me to admit this, I am addicted to what I have (up to this point) perceived as love. It’s even more cringy that when I think of that, I think of that godawful Robert Palmer song too. Aren’t things embarrassing enough already?

Thus far, I’ve been attracted to men who I think need me. If they need me, then it won’t matter if I’m essentially unlovable. I’ve made myself so useful, that they won’t want to leave me. It never occurred to me in any of my relationships whether they were actually worth it or not. Some of them, I’ve realised afterwards, I never even particularly liked. Yet the feelings were so all-consuming at the time, I felt compelled to act the way I did. I don’t think it would be exaggerating to call it obsession.

It’s so exhausting, trying to keep him happy all the time and feeling absolutely, 100% responsible if he isn’t, that it starts to take a physical toll on the body. You know how I’ve been struggling with my energy levels for so long? Totally normal. I spent over a year just giving and giving but riding off the adrenaline of conflict and uncertainty. When that was gone, well, I was spent.

The book says that people of my background often have an underlying depression (yep) but when we are so full of adrenaline it’s physically impossible to be depressed. Bad news is, this is of course unsustainable and you’re left with a deeper depression that the one you started with (yep).

Such women may unconsciously seek the powerful stimulation of a difficult and dramatic relationship in order to stir their glands to release adrenaline-an exercise similar to whipping a tired, over-worked horse in order to get a few more miles out of the poor, exhausted beast. This is why, when the strong stimulant of involvement in an unhealthy relationship is removed, either because the relationship ends or because the man begins to recover from his problems and relate to her in a healthier way, a woman of this type will usually sink into depression.

Robin Norwood

Damn. I did wonder why, after the initial relief of ending things for good, I felt so awful all the time.

Then there’s the emptiness that you feel. I’m still struggling with how to just sit and be me and I still feel pretty much detached from everything and everyone. One woman described how she felt after the relationship ended: ‘At first I was so empty I felt like the wind was blowing through me’. I really felt that. I spent so much time and energy pouring everything I had into another person, I didn’t know what to do when he was gone. It felt like I was gone.

Of course there are many more facets to why I am the way I am that need to be examined and dealt with, but already this book has been so helpful that I found I had to get a physical copy so that I can more easily highlight and bookmark the bits that are helping me the most.

As for how to actually heal, well I’m just starting on those chapters, but it’s going to be intense. Simple, but definitely not easy. With Gentleman Friend, I’m pretty sure he was just a very unhealthy distraction, because even with what I’ve learned so far I can’t go back to how I was. Now I know better, I have the responsibility to be and do better. I definitely found myself trying to recreate those ‘highs’ I’d known from before, but thankfully it never got that far.

Okay, enough of the deep stuff. I’ll only be doing that in small, manageable chunks. It takes it out of me I tell you!

This week has seen things just getting better and better. I’ve managed to go out on a few walks, and although I’d planned to do more than actually got done, I also managed to sleep when I needed to instead of trying to pour from an empty cup. I got an average of 9 hours a day, which is unheard of, whilst also having plenty of Pea time, time for journaling, and making sure I stayed on plan with food.

I also found even more cool stuff at the park.

We’re now entering the quiet time of work – February and March are typically the months where we have the least amount to do, and as such we’ve been offered the opportunity to book unpaid leave.

Make no mistake, I really cannot afford to do this, but I’ve decided to make my wellbeing a top priority. I have a week off at the beginning of February, and a week off at the end of March. Apart from doing a few odd things I’ve been meaning to get around to, I’m going to go on some fabulous walks, do plenty of work on myself and generally take time to look after myself properly. Because to be quite honest, I really need this. I see it as the perfect opportunity to completely recharge before I get on with evolving into the next version of myself. The one that doesn’t get into bad relationships!

Today was weigh day, but before I went I made the time to make myself an espresso using some very thoughtful Christmas presents from my brother. Ironically, I’ve been too tired to use them until now.

I was given roasted coffee beans, a hand bean-grinder and a stovetop espresso maker, along with a cute-as-hell double-walled glass to drink it from. It was smooth as hell, but also nearly blew my head off! In a good way.

There are certainly quicker and easier ways to make coffee at home, but I really enjoyed the process of the grinding and smelling the intense aroma of the beans. It was quite relaxing… until I drank all the caffeine and got the jitters!

This week I really wasn’t sure whether I’d lose any weight come weigh-in time. Not because I haven’t been on plan (I’ve been a veritable angel) but because my home scales just weren’t budging. I know, I know, I shouldn’t weigh at home! In my defence I did manage to prevent myself from self-sabotaging, and as a result I got a 2lb loss and Slimmer of the Week, again! This time I did share it with four other very deserving people-it’s nice that so many of us got a piece of the action.

I’m trying not to think too far ahead, but it cannot escape my notice that I still have 8 lbs to lose before I’m lower than my start weight, and that I cannot wait for. In the meantime all I can do is keep plodding on.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Busy

Weirdly, the first work week of January was quite busy, with no opportunity for going home early. This is good, because it means I won’t lose money. The first sniff of an early finish and I’m outta there.

Although outwardly I thought I seemed quite calm, what with waiting for mum’s hospital results and the added stress of man trouble, apparently I wasn’t fooling anyone.

At work, my friend J was a huge support, but we spent way too much time talking. So this week (I’m back in tonight) I’m going to have to crack on. Even when I’m being ‘lazy’, I’m normally more than capable of hitting my targets, however if you have a good work ethic and put in that extra bit of effort, at the times when you aren’t feeling so great you’re more likely to be given a bit of a reprieve. Give and take and all that.

At home, I mostly just hid, but I think I’ve finally snapped out of my hibernation phase. For the first time in months, I’ve been able to get up during the day and do stuff. Thinking about the past and trying to heal those wounds is really, really tough. Exhausting, actually, and since I’ve still got a long way to go I’m likely to have many more periods where it gets worse, then better, then much worse, then great, then average, then worse… you get the idea. It must be done though, because I think this is the culmination of 37 years of stuffing everything I didn’t know how to deal with deep down inside me, and it simply refuses to be contained for one second longer.

People have come to the rescue though. Although I was busy with chores on Sunday, when my friend M offered to meet for coffee in the evening I nearly bit his hand off at the chance of a distraction. I didn’t finish the things I needed to do, but never mind, it’ll wait.

It’s impossible to stay any kind of unhappy or stressed when you’re chauffeured to Costa in an ex Royal Mail van painted (badly) to look like the van from the A-Team.

You’d think that having coffee in the afternoon might have hindered my sleep, but I was that tired it really didn’t make a difference. I’m glad I managed to sleep, because I wanted Sunday over and done with quickly before I had the chance to freak out too much over my mum’s hospital results on Monday morning.

When I woke up Monday morning, really not wanting anything else to deal with, I found that Gentleman Friend had messaged me at 3:30am. The reason for his silence was that he needed ‘me time’. He said he was sorry, and that he knew it was selfish, and asked what I was up to.

I waited till I’d calmed down a bit to reply. You see, everyone, and I mean everyone is absolutely entitled to time alone or to have space whenever they want or need it. Therefore I made it totally clear that needing that isn’t selfish at all. But for the love of god is it too much to ask for that to be communicated rather than just being ignored for 8 days? I didn’t say it quite like that, but that was the gist of it.

I mean, if you really do want time alone then surely you don’t go out of your way to invite someone out then just not bother to follow through without a single word?

So, I said thanks for getting back to me, wished him well, deleted all of his pictures and messages, and carried on with my life.

Done.

Back to the hospital results then. I haven’t gone into details, because I didn’t want to think about it too much, but before Christmas the reason my mum was in hospital was to have a tumour removed. Yesterday’s appointment was to find out what it was and what happens next.

I’ll be forever grateful that my brother came along with us, and that the doctor was running very late, because it took me 50 minutes of driving round and round the multi-storey before I found a parking space. I believe the barriers were broken and saying there were spaces when there weren’t, because I was not the only one doing circuits of the car park.

When I met up with my mum and brother, we didn’t have to wait much longer before she was called. Here’s the good bit – the tumour she had removed was cancerous, but they got it all, it hadn’t reached the muscle of the organ (the bladder) and it’s the least aggressive type of cancer there is. She doesn’t need any further treatment, just regular check ups. In the event it does return, there’s a whole load of various treatments available. The doctor said if he had to have cancer, then he’d choose this kind.

Obviously it’s still terrifying, but as these things go we really couldn’t have hoped for better. I didn’t realise exactly how stressed we’d all been until we got home and started to process that she’s ok. To be honest, I could have laid down there and then and slept for about 20 hours, but there were more things to be done!

Since the day after Boxing Day, I have been super good. I have been out on many walks, and taken many lovely photographs.

Last Saturday, I took my old Russian Helios Lens out with me on my walk and got some gorgeous shots. What’s more, the sun very kindly made an appearance.

The last one is my favourite. I never usually do anything abstract, but I think it’s lovely.

The question is, did all of this hard work pay off when I weighed in Monday evening? The answer is… YES! I lost 3lbs, which I think is great considering I managed to pull back a huge gain and get away with a maintain when I officially weighed in on the last day of the year.

AND I got this, which was most unexpected!

After group, I went for a coffee with my friend Tom, in a McDonald’s of all places. We met at 7pm, when most coffee shops shut, so we didn’t have a huge amount of options. It was surprisingly nice though, and can someone tell me how long table service has been a thing?

Because I’d love another good result on the scales next week, I’m keeping the hard work going. It’s so strange (but GREAT) to want to get out of bed again. I hope I can keep this going for a good long while.

Today I did a six mile walk, and I took my camera with me again. For my own purposes, I’m choosing one shot a day to add to a ‘Walks of 2020 album’ that I can look back on at the end of the year. If some shots are samey or not that interesting, it doesn’t really matter as long as they capture something about that particular walk.

I wasn’t expecting to get anything interesting since I went to the same park on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, but I still managed to find new things.

Pretty awesome.

Well then, I’d best get a nice, healthy dinner on the go before work. I cannot tell you all how good it feels to be writing whilst feeling something like my old self.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

19 to 20

I literally cannot help myself. I’m positively compelled to get reflective towards the end of a month, year, decade… hell, even the end of a week if I’m honest.

2016 was the year I began the attempt to consciously build and shape my life, starting with sorting my weight out. In a way, it’s been a success. I have managed to protect a five stone weight loss, give or take a few pounds at times of particular stress, for two years. Even taking into account the massive gains of recent months, this is still the best I’ve ever done. I’m proud and relieved in equal measure. The last few years haven’t been for nothing after all.

My weight was taking a downwards trend right up until November last year, when I started nearing my target. It’s fairly easy not to think about other important, life-impacting things when you’re focused on that one goal, especially when being successful at weight loss has been something that’s eluded you your entire life up until that point.

But when the other stuff ain’t right, you end up building on top of rickety foundations. Cracks start appearing in the walls, and you can only turn the other way for so long. As such I spent most of 2019 tearing what I’d built to the ground in order to clear space for me to start over. I’m going into 2020 with a determination to build new, solid, foundations, and from there, I’m going to build something good, something sturdy. One brick at a time.

The last day of 2019 started off ok. I cleaned out the refrigerator of the few veggies that perished over Christmas, took delivery of my online shopping, and refilled it with plenty of healthy Slimming World Free Foods.

Then I went out for my last walk of the year, on what was turning out to be a foggy and soggy day. You know, kind that never gets fully light.

The weather matched my mood though, because I’m still really upset about my ‘friend’. I was thinking – if we had met on a dating app, hooked up a few times and this happened I could probably shrug it off. Just block him and get on with my life. But we’ve known each other for a decade. I think that’s why it hurts so much.

So on my walk I did a lot of stomping to try and work it all out of my system. It helped a little.

Despite being such a dull-looking day, there were curiosities to be found, such as this decorated Christmas tree. I’ve seen it before, but it’s never been decorated this nicely until now. If I remember I might add something myself next Christmas.

It was also a good opportunity for me to try out my new socks. Waterproof ones, no less. I found out about them from a post in a hiking group I’m in on Facebook. Even many seasoned hikers use them if they get leaks in otherwise comfortable boots, rather than going through the horrible process of having to break in a new pair.

Since my most comfy footwear isn’t waterproof, I decided to give them a go.

They work! Although since the muddy water was so cold I could feel it going in, my feet stayed completely dry. Pretty cool.

When I got home all the fresh air had tired me out, but no one was as tired as Newton was. He was visiting while his human parents were out shopping in London, and we had a good old cuddle on the sofa. If you are in any doubt about just how sleepy he was, check out his sleeping positions.

New Year’s Eve is typically quite hard for me, and last night was no exception. I was mulling over the last year and finding it so hard to remember the good and positive things. But then I looked at the doggo on my lap, and of course welcoming him into the family made the whole 12 months worthwhile.

I think my current views are clouded by my recent rejection, especially as I’ve been so clearly reminded of previous abandonments lately. I’m guessing the way I feel about being stood up has little to do with actually being stood up. I believe I had hoped for a distraction to make me feel less of a failure last night, and instead I just got a reminder of everything I was trying not to think about.

There’s also the fact that the last two New Year’s that stick in my mind weren’t good ones. There’s the one where my uncles decided it would be a good idea to spike my drinks with numerous other spirits, so I ended up getting absolutely paralytic. I have a vague recollection of my cousin’s fiancé kissing me in the hall as the clock hit midnight, then of my friend trying to drag me up from the pavement outside because I literally couldn’t stand up.

After that, my cousin’s fiancé came on to me and some other relatives at another party (this time I mercifully had my wits about me) so after speaking with my mum (I was still quite young at the time), she spoke to my aunty about it. The response was that I wasn’t to believed, and my cousin ended up marrying the guy. Needless to say, they aren’t still together.

The other one was in 1999 where I was in Cardiff seeing the Manics at the Millenium Stadium. Which sounds pretty cool, but I was so unhappy. I didn’t really feel like I fit in with my group of friends, plus we were staying with friends of friends and I was so shy and uncomfortable. But back then I would have done anything, anything to see my beloved Manics, therefore it seemed like a good idea at the time.

We stayed with student friends, and the house was grim. I got an allergic reaction off of a manky cushion I used as a pillow that night (I didn’t even have a blanket, and I still remember how awfully cold it was) and my face went all bobbly and swelled up. I had to go to the doctors when I got home as by that point my eyes were reduced to tiny slits.

So yeah, it would have been cool to have a distraction from those particular thoughts, but it wasn’t to be. It’s got to be a good thing, because these are thoughts I haven’t entertained in many, many years. How about I deal with them now, and in 12 months time be in a much better place? Sounds like a plan.

The rest of the evening was spent watching Blade Runner 2049 with the family (awesome) then I got an early night as I was planning a very early morning.

The little brother agreed to come out walking with me, and as is tradition we try to leave as early as possible. The problem is, he left the planning up to me which never, ever works out.

You see, I forgot that it’s winter, so when we got to our destination it was can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark. So, we had a nap in the car while we waited for daylight, then enjoyed our first walk of 2020.

It was much like yesterday’s one – foggy and soggy! But we did what we set out to do, which for me was to start the year off how I want it to continue. I want to do much more walking and exploring than I did last year, no matter what the weather, and take more pictures with my DSLR.

I’m back at work tonight which means some semblance of routine and normality again, which will hopefully help get me out of this little funk I’m in right now.

I’m sure it’ll pass, because I’m doing the work to make it that way. Building them foundations.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Coffee with Tom

As the last day of my weekend draws to a close I’m reflecting how I didn’t really have high hopes for this one. I was pretty stressed out and not really feeling like I had much to look forward to – it was mostly stuff that needed to be done, but all stuff I didn’t want to do. If it weren’t for the fact I’m so tired all the time, I probably would have preferred to be at work.

During the week I was majorly cheesed off with myself for not sticking to plan like I initially thought I would, and panicking that I’d never in fact be able to lose weight ever again. Which is slightly dramatic, but hey, welcome to my world.

It seems I didn’t really give myself enough credit though. Ok, I only had one single full day on plan, but considering I dragged myself back to group last week even though I was dreading it, and that I wasn’t exactly feeling ready to jump back on the wagon, in hindsight I count every meal I did manage to have on plan as a massive win. I credit those wins with me bagging a miraculous half a pound loss this week. I’m genuinely over the moon that I managed to go back to group with a loss at all, because it was the last thing I expected to happen!

I’m starting off this week with some fresh perspective, mostly thanks to my friend Tom. He’s a work friend, and one of those I clicked with right from the beginning. Thing is, there’s often a tipping point with work friends, where you’re not really sure if you’re ever going to socialise outside of the work setting. It’s that point where a colleague will or won’t turn into a proper, lifelong friend.

Tom is really good at picking up on people’s moods, and he knew I wasn’t feeling so great, so he dropped me a text to ask how I was. I almost replied that everything was fine. But all I could think to write was ‘poo’. I didn’t have the energy to explain further than that. He asked if I wanted to talk about it, and really I did, but I’m not overly keen on phone conversations so I suggested having a coffee. Then I instantly regretted it, because what if he felt like he had to accept, because he felt bad? I quickly sent another message giving him an out, but he wasn’t having any of it. He wanted to meet for coffee, but it’s really hard for me not to feel immense guilt when asking for or accepting help. It’s dumb, because I know so many lovely people. Sigh.

Talking things through helped a huge amount, and I even came up with a plan to get my energy back. I thought it was all to do with depression, and perhaps at first it was, but I have some other things to try.

Tom suggested that maybe the food I’m eating when I get in from work is why I have no get-up-and-go. Nowadays I feel sluggish at best when my alarm goes off, but more often than not it feels like pure exhaustion. He asked what I eat after work. I thought back to the previous day…

Six mince pies‘.

Ah.

Some days it might be ice cream, some days a few sandwiches, at other times maybe a pizza and ice cream. It stands to reason that if I crash out after doing a night shift, just after eating a shedload of sugar with virtually no nutritional value, I’ll wake up feeling like crap. We are what we eat after all.

Tom said he’s been having a lot of success with oats, and since it’s now flipping freezing at work I’ve decided to have porridge with almond milk when I get in. Along with defrosted fruit and some savvy syns used on nuts, raisins and other healthy bits. It’ll warm me from the inside, comfort me, fill me up, give me slow release energy to hopefully have me feeling better when I wake up, and also be totally on plan.

It’s all part of a cycle. With a proper breakfast I should sleep better. If I sleep better I can wake up energised and I can go for a walk. The walk will boost my mood. The better my mood, the more I want to eat nutritious meals. And so the cycle continues. I just need to take that first step and stick with it till the wagon is nicely rolling along again.

This newfound optimism has come at an opportune time, because although my cold weather stuff for work (namely the salopettes) do kind of fit, they aren’t exactly comfortable. A few more pounds on and they will officially be cutting me in half, and I can’t exactly breathe properly whilst sitting down in them as it is.

If everything goes to plan this week I should have a nice big loss, and they could even be feeling more comfy by the end of the month. I hope so anyway.

After I was sufficiently caffeinated and properly unloaded of some worries I walked home via a church at the top of a big hill, getting my heart rate up and taking some outdoorsy pictures for the first time in a while. It is getting damn cold out there, so I’m especially grateful I found a new waterproof teal coat for my winter excursions. I have that coat, waterproof (yet breathable) overtrousers and waterproof boots, so there’s no excuse for not getting out during this cold and soggy season.

I may not have had high hopes for this weeked, but it looks like it turned out just fine after all.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Wet Start

Oh look, it’s November! October was a really hard month for me, but it all turned out ok. I’m alive, I’m breathing, I’m ready to try again continue. Life goes on, things get better, and progress isn’t linear.

I opened a can of worms, which was totally necessary. I’ve been unpacking a load of crap from my past which has made me (amongst a plethora another emotions), angry, sad… and hopeful. There are things I didn’t want to look at ever again, things I didn’t know to look for in the first place, things I thought were gone, but all of these buried things have a way of showing up in our lives without us even realising. Until I acknowledge them and deal with them, I can’t have a full life.

Last week I did wonder if it would have been better not to have opened the can and stay quietly yet comfortably miserable for the rest of my life, but in recent times it’s been anything but comfortable. The only way is forwards.

On a very soggy walk this morning, I had an epiphany regarding my first proper relationship in 2005. When I was a kid my dad would often go out, get drunk and not come home when he said he would. I’m not talking a little bit late, I’m talking more like a day late. Kids pick up on things, and I saw how it left my mum bereft.

Fast forward back to 2005, and the logical part of me knows that all men aren’t like that. Then the guy I was seeing at the time, quite reasonably, couldn’t make the last train home after hanging out with work friends in London and had to stay over. He let me know so I didn’t worry, but I felt abandoned. It was so, so painful. My head knew that his behaviour was reasonable and ordinary, but my body was reliving everything from when I was a kid, making me feel scared, anxious… bereft.

I’ve been reading about how the body remembers what the mind forgets, which I couldn’t really understand at first. Then when I thought back to that example, I totally got it.

What’s more, while I’m waiting for a professional to talk over these things with, I’ve found a Facebook group run by one of my favourite Instagram accounts, Loving Me After We. When you join you are provided with prompts and guidance to start the work of healing. I see this as a very good starting point. I’ll do that and see how I go.

If it gets too much, I’ll remember that this work is difficult, and cut myself some damn slack.

So, this morning, straight after work, I went for a walk in my up-until-today favourite park. I realised that I don’t actually like the park as much as I thought I did – it is good for working out because it’s very hilly, but the park round the corner from me (the one with all the mushrooms) is actually much nicer.

I’ve been avoiding this particular park because I didn’t want to bump into a particular person I know, but I decided to stop not doing things for that reason. It was only when I got there I noticed it didn’t hold the same appeal that it used to.

This is good, because I faced that particular fear so I can stop wishing I could go there. Now I just don’t want to go there!

Having said that, it was still a nice walk. It drizzled the whole time but it was still warm enough and so refreshing after spending a night in a dusty warehouse. I took a couple of photos, but not too many because I didn’t want to destroy my camera, and well, it was mostly just grey anyway.

Anyway, the important thing is that I got out. My new plan is to be out walking Monday to a Friday, then spend time on the more arty things I like on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m going to try hard to get back into a healthy routine.

November goals right there!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Rule Breaker

I’ve been breaking my own rules lately. Some of it has been not-so-good (this is it, I’m REALLY going to stick to plan this time. Yeah right!) and some of it slightly better.

I love getting second-hand bargains, but I always drew the line at shoes because it’s a bit icky. Then I started trying to save money, and I decided to reconsider my used shoe stance.

I joined a vegan Facebook buy and sell group, with the intention of selling some vegan shoes, but instead I ended up buying some. A pair of rather battered purple vegan Dr Marten’s caught my eye – and they were in my size! I’m an 8 so this doesn’t happen often, but since I didn’t really need them I held off and held off.

Until I couldn’t any longer.

I got in contact, paid the seller, then waited a few weeks for them to be posted to me. I paid £35 for a pair of boots that would have been almost £150 when new, but I thought I had been done over if I’m honest! The seller told me she was poorly but no attempt was made to drop me a quick message to keep me updated. £35 is still much more money than I wanted to lose.

Eventually they turned up, and while the seller had been honest about marks and scuffs, no mention was made of the dodgy zip on one of the boots. I found this quite dishonest, and while they mercifully smelled of nothing worse than incense, there were crisps inside them. I’d say Pringles if I had to guess.

Thankfully I managed to salvage the zip for now by bending the teeth back into shape, and they’re really comfortable and I do love them. Having said that I think I’ve had a lucky escape. I’ll definitely go through eBay from now on where at least there’s more buyer protection.

I have two events I plan to wear these to next year – Swingamajig and Shambala festival, the latter of which I bought tickets for today and I’m super excited! They’ll definitely be perfect festival boots, because I’ve never been able to find a pair of wellies yet that didn’t make my big toes go numb.

Yesterday I got out for another mushroom walk, this time through the other half of the nature reserve (two different areas are separated by a road) where I took another 400 pictures. I edited a lot less of them however because many were very similar to the shots taken Monday. Yesterday’s highlights were definitely the puff balls, which are always fun!

I probably should have been a bit more careful because of the spores but, y’know, it’s too cool!

As you may be able to tell from my tone, I’m a feeling a lot better today. I’ve eaten some rubbish, which I’m not exactly happy about, but I’m feeling more positive and just doing what I can.

I’m hopefully going out to socialise with a friend next Friday, though that’s always touch and go because he’s not the most reliable of going out buddies – he’s very prone to cancelling. If he doesn’t cancel (I hope he doesn’t, we’ve been meaning to go out since his birthday in August) then I’m not going to let the way I currently feel about my body stop me from having fun.

Perhaps I won’t have lost weight the following Monday, but I still haven’t given up on the idea of being able to enjoy the odd night out, not freak out about it before or after, and get back on plan straight away the next day. That’s probably my number one diet goal right now and I refuse to give up on it because I know it’s attainable!

Right, I’m signing off now. I’ll see you next month!

Hayley x

Too Much Whelm

I’m overwhelmed. My brain is currently a swarm of angry bees. When I think about moving forward and making progress with my goals, it goes something like this: Ok, so I need to get this weight off. Which means I need to be PERFECT every day without a single slip-up. I need to be out walking, no running, and preferably doing kettlebell workouts too, and I need to keep on top of the washing, and no early finishes from work, and spend more time with Pea, and Newton, and mum, brother, sister, friends, have a better social life, draw more, make more, be more creative, blog more and if we don’t do all of that we’ve failed and what’s the point in even trying it’ll all go wrong you’ll fail you’ll give up like you always do useless, useless, useless…

Yeah, that.

So instead of being sensible, doing what I can and inching towards the person I want to be, it all gets too much and I shut down. I just want to be in bed all of the time and not move or think.

What I’m doing right now is not in line with the person I was/want to be, and I don’t know how to get that back. I have a couple of weeks where I feel back on top of things, then I do too much and end up right back where I started. I’m not sure what the answer is right now. I wish I could just not think for a moment, but ridiculous overthinker that I am, I’ve been having trouble with that.

I’m going to try meditating. I wanted to find a class, but I can’t find one that I can get to/doesn’t clash with other commitments, so I’m going to start off with an app that was recommended to me by a friend and go from there. In the back of my head I’m thinking ‘SO POINTLESS! You’ll stick with it for a week then give up!’ which may be true, but I’ve gotta try, right? Maybe if I can quiet my brain and live more in the moment, it’ll really help.

Ok, so I just went and tried that app and it was actually really good! I’ve set a reminder to do it every day and see how I go, but I certainly feel less overwhelmed right now. Huh, who knew?

So, I skipped weigh in yesterday because I couldn’t face being in a room of people, but I did weigh in at home. Since I last went to group I put on 13.5 pounds. Yep, nearly a stone. On the plus side, I think about half of that weight was dough in various forms (pizza, bread, donut etc) as today I weigh 7 pounds less. I still weigh more than when I rejoined Slimming World but still, it’s better than it was yesterday!

Although I haven’t been feeling great, I did manage to do some things this weekend. I watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with my brother (a 1984 Studio Ghibli film) which was excellent, then I went to see the new Zombieland with a friend. It was nicely entertaining, and the first time I’ve been to the cinema with this particular friend in ages where we didn’t end up seeing something we both despised. Next Sunday I’m seeing Joker with my brother, on the IMAX screen which should be pretty awesome.

Yesterday I woke up feeling like complete poop. I couldn’t get to sleep till 5am and when my alarm went off to get up to feed Pea, I wasn’t feeling very happy about being awake. Since I was up, I just grabbed what I needed and got out of the house. Although I’m not a huge fan of cold weather, the fact that it’s cold enough to wear a hat so I don’t need to do my hair, is very helpful indeed. If I need to spend too much time getting ready, it’s just too much effort to go out.

My plan today is to prep some clothes into piles so when I get up tomorrow, everything is laid out and I can get out for a walk quickly before I change my mind.

Yesterday I was out for over two hours, because I saw more mushrooms and fungi than I’ve ever seen in my life. The woods were absolutely smothered in them. I took over 400 pictures, but these are my favourites:

I also found one of the teeniest mushrooms ever. I forgot about it until just now as when I was editing my photos it was so small I never even noticed which shot it was in.

Crazy tiny! Much too small for my camera to even focus on! It’s at this point I regret selling my macro lens, until I remember how heavy it was and how I really wouldn’t have wanted to lug it around the woods…

Aaaaanyway, I’m feeling kind of better now. Hopefully I can keep my s**t together and stop going backwards every time I start getting somewhere! Here’s hoping.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley X

Indoorsy

This time last year I was spending a lot of time outdoors. I had ‘enough’ energy to be getting with and I was going for long walks nearly every day and loving it. What with one thing or another, despite photographic evidence apparently to the contrary, I’ve hardly been out at all. At least not compared to how often I used to be.

It’s better if I’ve got someone with me, because I’ve been feeling anxious – as I’m not happy with my appearance right now I’ve been putting off going for walks alone. I’ve been intending to walk to town every day for the last two weeks (something I used to do at least once a week, whether I needed to shop or not) but every day I found an excuse not to go.

Today I didn’t run out of excuses (I’ve still got plenty of those) but the desire to find cute slippers simply became too strong. Well, whatever works eh? The desire to change my current state of affairs was probably the main reason, but cute stuff always helps!

I was in town for ages before I found these. Cute slippers are thin on the ground this year for some reason. I almost went for giraffe ones, but I figured Newton would probably think they were a toy so I decided against them.

It was so refreshing to get out, especially as there was a really light rain that felt bloody lovely on my face. It wasn’t that cold, but cool enough that I could wear a hat and save time not having to style my hair before leaving the house.

Speaking of cold, the cold weather clothing has arrived at work and was dished out to us last night. Everything I’ve ordered is uncomfortably tight so I know I won’t be wearing it just yet, and I have no idea if I’ll still manage to get last year’s salopettes on. I’m retrieving them from my locker tonight for a test run. I think this is scary enough to get me back on plan, because if they don’t fit I need to shrink back into them and do it quick, because life at work without them is painfully cold.

I think I’m going to be ok, because comfort eating just isn’t working for me any more. I simply don’t get the same sort of high from a binge as I used to, so what’s the point? This is a very good thing, but I need to get back into my walking as a way to calm myself because it’s no good if I don’t have an alternative. After I realised the food wasn’t helping over the weekend, I was mainly driven to eat more rubbish because I didn’t have the mental energy to prepare any food. It really sucks when you feel that crappy, and I usually have stuff in the freezer for such occasions, but I’m currently low on supplies. I must get organised again. I also realised that I don’t really like drinking alcohol any more. If I have any more than one glass with a meal, I feel awful afterwards. Again, it ain’t worth it.

So it isn’t all bad! Work hasn’t been a nice place to be just lately, but over the last week I’ve reconnected with someone I hadn’t spoken with for over a year (01/08/18 was the last time to be precise) and it’s actually been lovely. I can’t go into details of course, but it was all connected to my last relationship. Although I didn’t set out to hurt anyone, I made some really poor judgement calls and this colleague got caught in the crossfire. It’s been really awesome catching up with him and repairing something I thought was broken forever. Yay for good things!

Now what I need to do is learn how to deal with it when people have a problem with me, specifically when I haven’t done anything wrong. You can’t make people see you for who and what you really are, and if someone is determined to see you as a bad person then there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. I’m currently in this situation at work and all I can do is suck it up. Logically, I know that it doesn’t matter what this person thinks of me. Everyone who is important to me or whose opinion I value knows the truth, so why should I care? Why can’t I get the fact out of my head and stop playing things over and over in my mind? No idea, but it’s something I’ll be asking the counsellor about for sure! In the meantime I plan to avoid confrontation, which is not a long-term solution but until I can deal with it I need to protect myself. I just don’t think I can take any more feeling bad right now, I desperately need some peace.

Lately all I feel is sick and anxious, all the time. It’s getting boring now.

One continuous little ray of sunshine is Newton of course, so I’ll leave you with his sweet little face enjoying the one time this week that yellow orb in the sky made an appearance.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Dip

I normally get really down when it’s my birthday but weirdly, this year it never happened. Once my birthday was done however I found my mood dropping drastically by the day. It’s probably a coincidence, because I no longer get those ‘oh my god I’m failing at life! I should have a husband, children, my own house and a fulfilling job by now!’ moments. In fact these days I’m positively relieved I don’t have some of those.

I thought perhaps I’d had some kind of breakthrough where I wouldn’t ever feel as bad again as I do right now. Perhaps that was naive of me. Ok, definitely naive of me, because once more I feel more than a little lost and I suppose betrayed by my own body and mind. We weren’t supposed to be doing this any more!

I haven’t helped myself this weekend. I’ve eaten aaaaaaall the pizza in an attempt to numb the pain, and had a couple of bottles of wine, too. Which has definitely just made me feel even worse in the long run, and helped me put back on all the weight I lost over the last couple of weeks. I skipped group this week too, and might do the same next week. It’s the Mr Sleek and Miss Slinky awards (the most cringe-worthy of them all) and I’m really not feeling up to a taster night.

So what I’ve done is add to the bad feelings I already had, which now I’m feeling guilty about. Guilt, guilt and more guilt, about so many things! In a matter of days I’ve gone from feeling pretty much ok and quite positive to completely overwhelmed with everything and like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve hardly touched the art supplies I got for my birthday that I was so excited to get, (more guilt) because I’ve barely had the energy to even sit and watch a movie. Quite frankly, this is all bullshit and I’m sick of this awful cycle.

On the plus side I had a telephone appointment today to find out what help I can get for all of this. I’ve been referred for counselling, with the only downside being I will have to wait somewhere between 6 to 18 weeks for my first appointment. I suppose I’ll just have to keep doing the best I can in the meantime.

I did manage to drag myself out on Sunday even though it was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. Newton has now been fully immunised and is allowed out for walkies, so me and little brother visited the sister so we could all take him to the park.

He was loving it! It took us a while to get there because he wanted to stop and sniff everything, but eventually we got to an open area where he could have a good run. He’s still so tiny but he’s bloody fast!

Later on it turned chilly and he was getting tired so he was carried some of the way home, the lazy little git. Who can resist a face like that though?

I found more mushrooms too. Ok, so admittedly the weekend wasn’t a complete write off.

Tomorrow I’ll get back on plan and get out for a walk, because I know it will help. It’s just the getting up and starting it that’s the problem. All I want to do is sleep. Anyway, that’s enough moaning for one day.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x