Last week, whilst off work for a few days, I took the opportunity to visit two tea houses here in the North East of England; one I have been to several times before, and another for the first time.
If you are reading this, you will know that it’s been a long time since I posted to this blog. My drive to blog has been low as of late…as has my drive to be active on social media in general. I am still active on Instagram, but it can’t deny that I am not as engaged as I once was.
I was chatting to Michael, my husband, over the weekend, and I was expressing to him how I feel like I don’t manage to find a lot of ‘hobby’ time. I enjoy painting and drawing but the arts in general are something I am wildly out of touch and practice with. I used to enjoy spending time coding (very amateur indeed) my own webpages. My desire to be active in the body positive community as an activist has waned since I hit my bad mental patch this time last year. I love to play board games, and it is the one thing that I still actively do, but it is a group activity and I want something to do for me.
In my pondering over what I could do to get myself going with something again, and found myself thinking about my recent attempts to bring more fruit and vegetables into food. I have found cooking to be an enjoyable task recently, and when I eat out, I already find myself taking pictures and sharing food online that I enjoy already. So I started to consider whether to start blogging again, with a focus on the food I prepare, the food I eat when out and about, as well as drinks. We all know I have an unbridled love of tea!
I gave it a few days thought, and the idea has stuck…so here we go!
Last night, we (meaning myself and Megan), made a curry mix from Rafi’s Spicebox.
The curry mix instructions are easy to follow, and make the most delicious food. When you choose your mix, it is made to the level of spice you want, and is put together in put of you. All the spices you need for your curry are included, and the combinations are as authentic as they can possibly be (Rafi’s is a family run business, opened by Rafi from Hyperbad in India. Rafi passed away in 2013, but the business is still run by her two sons).
We made the Mas Paretal curry with diced lamb, peppers and chickpeas, and these ingredients took on all the flavours beautifully. We will definitely be having this mix again!
If you have a Rafi’s Spice Box anywhere near you (a list of shops and stalls can be found on the website), then I fully recommend giving their curry mixes a go.
And…I hope you stay with me as I journey on this new blogging adventure.
Over the last few weeks, I have found my depression and anxiety worsening. This has seemed to conveniently coincided with the onset of the shorter days, of the world still being dark when I awake up (and also when I finish work).
It may just be complete coincidence, but I started to look into Seasonal Affective Disorder as it had been suggested to me as a possible cause, and I researched some of the ways I could go about treating my symptoms.
As S.A.D can worsen already existing depression and anxiety, I decided a review of my medication was in order. One visit to see my GP later, my dosage of Sertraline was doubled from 50mg to 100mg daily. It can go higher than 100mg (someone commented to me on Instagram saying they take 200mg) so if needs be, there is further room to increase further. As it is however, so far so good…I can see a marked different on 100mg.
I also looked into acquiring an alarm clock that featured a timed light up feature to simulate dawn. In the end, I ordered myself this one:
Find it here on Amazon
I paid just shy of £90 for this alarm, although it is currently selling at £65 in the Black Friday sale until Friday 25th November. Even at £90 however, this was money well spent in my opinion.
Prior to using this clock, I was struggling with waking up in the mornings. My work shift starts at 8am (I work from home), and whereas my alarm goes off at 6:45am so I have time to myself before I sit down and log on, the dark mornings and the way I’ve been feeling have both had me reaching for the snooze button again and again.
I’m barely a week into using the new alarm clock. but the difference in unbelievable. Every morning since I started, I’ve been out of bed by 7am. My mood has improved has as well.
I call that a win!
Here’s some pictures of the lamp in situ:
(Jenny decided she just *had* to get in the shot!)
I’m still struggling with sleep, waking up through the night. Do you suffer from S.A.D? Do you have any coping mechanisms that you’d be happy to share with me, either with getting improved sleep, or managing your mood during the darker months in general?
I am over the moon with this lamp and based off it’s performance so far, would highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with dark winter mornings.
Let me start with a story.
A week ago today, I went to the theatre. For Paul’s 30th birthday, I was stuck on what to buy him as a present, so he suggested we go to the theatre together for the first time as a couple. The West End cast of Mary Poppins is at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle until the end of October, it’s a show he really wanted to see, and he’d been wanting to go to the theatre with me for ages. It seemed like a wonderful idea.
At some point along the way, I forgot to take into consideration that I am fat, and we booked up regular seats.
That was a mistake which I am still paying for now.
A day before the performance, I started to feel very anxious.
“What if I don’t fit in the seat?”
“What if I have no leg room?”
Paul worked out that we were going to be at the end of our aisle, and he was happy for me to have the end seat, so the only other persons personal space I could possibly be encroaching onto would be his. This reduced the anxiety I was feeling somewhat, although it didn’t fade completely. Still, I put on a brave face, and off we went.
The act of sitting in my seat once we got there was sadly agony. The wooden, static armrests dug into my hips, and my knees were pressed against the seat in front. My sides went numb, but my knees didn’t and I was in a lot of pain. As the end of the first half of the show rolled around, the tears had started to fall.
After the intermission, I gave up on my seat and sat on the stair immediately next to it. I could enjoy the rest of the show without pain.
The damage was already done though. It’s been a week, and here are my hips this evening:
As well as the bruising looking quite bad, both hips also hurt when I do anything approaching slightly physical. It’s not enough to stop me doing things, but it’s damn annoying.
I guess that’s the end of the story, and now I should explain why the title of this post is “Feeling Lost”…
I have cried a few times since I saw the show. I told Paul that I felt “less than human” in the initial aftermath. That I didn’t “fit into the world”.
I want to go back and see more shows at the theatre. My trouble fitting into the seat aside, I really enjoyed Mary Poppins. But to go back, and not end up in tears again, I know in the future I will need to pay more to get a more suitable seat….at the very least with more leg room.
And it’s thinking about this that leaves me feeling confused and lost.
I feel so…separate to the world at times. I’m sure most bigger people do. It’s easy to feel like we don’t fit because so often, we don’t. So many things are designed without us in mind. This is where Thin Privilege comes in. My thin friends can enjoy a trip to the theatre without worrying about whether the seat they’ve paid for will bruise their hips like mine did.
I don’t know if I should try and lose weight….to try and conform making living in this world easier, or whether I should not try to force any change with myself in that regard, and instead stand my ground? Be angry and upset at the fact that next time around, I will have to pay more for a seat that allows me to enjoy a show without pain?
If I do decide a change is in order, does that mean I’m less “body positive”?
Prior to this whole incident, I had been thinking about trying to bring more exercise into my life anyway. Since I passed my driving test and the household got our car, I am so much less active. I’ve felt a difference in my joints, most specifically my knees. I don’t believe this change is weight related because I have not majorly changed in size. The big change, is how much I physically move myself.
That is not a weight or size related driver to exercise. It is a “I want to be more active, I want to move my body more” driver.
But…I’m conflicted now. Because my hips are bruised and sore and part of me wishes I weren’t as big as I am. I want to interact with the world more easily.
It’s taken me so long to be comfortable with my body. To find love for it despite so many external sources around it saying that I shouldn’t. I know that the journey of self love and acceptance of your body is never a straight and forward line. Perhaps these conflicted feelings are just a blip.
I know I can exercise without weight loss being the goal. If exercise brings about weight loss, then that is a by product I will have to deal with. Our bodies are forever changing; that’s something I need to keep in mind.
Finally, I’ve also struggled with whether or not to write about this. Ever since my depression and anxiety worsened at the end of last year, I have found that I don’t engage as much as I used to online. I think part of that is a fear of troll and hater backlash. This particular topic is something a concern troll could go nuts over; a fat person being too big for a seat. Even though my anxiety has been much better managed for months now and I do have a presence online again…there is a fear about talking about this kind of thing. I’ve decided to try and push past my comfort zone though. Being open and honest with the people who read my ramblings has always served me well in the past; it may do now.