Being vegan, being a bit crazy

I have done a tonne of vegan cooking! Thought I’d share some pics of my kitchen successes. I’m very proud of my increased cooking ability. Using the kitchen is something that I still find hard on bad days, but it gives me a lot of pleasure when I’m able to overcome my anxieties and cook yummy things!

I also have a bonus pic of Yeti eating a hummus dipped carrot stick. Because as a vegan, hummus is a staple. And Yeti likes it too! (Who doesn’t, amiright?!)

I’m trying to think of what else to update. I’ve been more active again on twitter (@FrynLane) if you like pictures of rats, cooking, and a side order of mental health awareness! Speaking of mental health, I have a new diagnosis: Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. Quite the mouthful, and also quite a challenge to come to terms with. But I understand my quirks just a little bit better now. And I’m getting better therapy (DBT! Whoop!) And better medication – low dose antipsychotics act to stabilise my mood, so yay! The side effects are less fun (painful restlessness, anybody?!) but I’m dealing with them.

I have a big trip coming up and I’m terrified! Excited, a little bit. But mainly terrified! Maybe I’ll upload some photos of my holiday once I’ve been. I have a huge fear of the whole process of being in an airport (apparently that’s a social anxiety? What’s with all these new labels I’m apparently getting, eh?!) But hey ho! The way to conquer anxiety is to face it, right?! Right?! Ahem. But it should be good anyway.

In other news, after my little jaunt abroad I may be moving into supported accommodation. Supported accommodation seems a big change, and coming to terms with the fact that yes, I do need supported accommodation, is harder than I thought. But it should be really beneficial for me and a huge platform for me to move on and get better. And relieve pressure on the all-amazing Joe, too. So that’s exciting.

To round off, here’s all the things I can’t reliably do at the moment that living in supported accommodation can help me with (not glamorous, I know..!) :
– I can’t reliably do my own laundry
– I don’t get out of bed every day
– some days I don’t even change my clothes (yuck)
– sometimes I don’t eat anything that is further than arm’s length from my bed
– some days I don’t cook anything or even go into the kitchen
– some days it feels like everyone can hear my every movement, so I lie in bed, perfectly still so as not to feel judged
– I cry at things all unnecessarily
– some days I want to go outside and see people but its too daunting
– sometimes I can’t even answer the phone to family, let alone make important phone calls
– I have trouble getting the energy to shower sometimes
– some days I’m just a horrible person! I’m in such a bad place that I nastily take it out on those around me
– lots of days I’m very difficult to live with
– lots of days I’m very needy and demanding. I hate this, I am aware of it and somehow can’t stop it when I desperately want to

I’m desperate to improve in all these areas, and there are countless other things I’d like to improve too; this list is a snapshot rather than exhaustive. Um, I can’t think of what else to say. It feels like I’m just talking to myself by writing a blog. I don’t know what I aim to achieve by writing.

But there you have it; I’m looking forward to brighter things in the future! And I’m looking forward to my terrifying holiday!!

Thanks for reading,

Fryn

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Long time, big changes

So its been far too long since I last blogged. Lots of stuff has changed, some for the better, but there’s still teething problems here and there. I guess anyone with mental health glitches will tell you its never smooth sailing! Ah well. Here’s the condensed version of it:

1. Not being very technically savvy, somehow I’ve decided its good to have twitter. Hi twitter! I don’t understand you but you look so pretty

2. So I’ve been trying to lose weight since Februaryish. Which incidentally coincides with me being a year older and no more grown up. I’ve been counting calories using an android app called My Net Diary. I would highly recommend it! Its simpler for me than My Fitness Pal. I have lost a total of 11.4kilos! Whew! I am really proud. I’ll keep on going though; still a ways away from a healthy BMI. I’m confident I’ll get there eventually. Slow and steady wins the race and all that!

3. Alongside the diet I’ve started doing pilates. Pilates is hard. Especially since I get fatigued super fast, my joints are sometimes squiffy and I’m totally clumsy. But at least I’m trying! Yay, exercise!

4. So I’m still not working, I’ve made attempts to volunteer at a local animal rescue, and I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet. I went a bit loopy from tiredness when I tried going. Will try again soon though!

5. My rat Rufus was very poorly. Unfortunately on March 10th I made the difficult decision to have him euthanised; he was half the weight he should have been, was dehydrated and suffering from an incurable respiratory illness. I hated to see him suffer. I was devastated, and utterly heartbroken, but couldn’t bear to see my little guy in pain. His brother Kipper was really lonely after this so…

6. A while later I got Kipper some friends! From the local animal rescue, two 11mo male rats, Yeti (albino dumbo) and Fendrick (dark brown hooded). As a condition of their adoption, I purchased a second hand larger cage. After careful intros, they are now best of friends with Kipper. Kipper is much perkier, more active and all-round happier. He boggles his eyes with joy so often now I feel so glad! And having little squishes to cuddle is helping keep my mood up, as always. I love having rats! I still miss my Rufus every day. I loved him to bits. Little rats have such a huge hold on my heart!

7. I’m vegan now! Lots of exclamation marks!!!!! Today is day four of being vegan. I decided to become vegan because I believe that as the only species that can empathise with our prey, why do we see its suffering and choose to cause more? Its not ‘nature’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ anymore. It feels like human greed. I am horrified by factory farming practices that treat animals as a commodity and not living, feeling creatures. In a first world country, I am lucky enough to have choice in what I put on my plate. I can live without eating animals, I am fortunate enough to have the resources to do so; so why not give it my best shot? I am happy that I have made this choice, and am excited to try new foods, and delve deeper into the ethics of farming and the use of animal products. It would be too idealistic to believe I can end all animal suffering, but I can do my bit to reduce suffering and make the world a little bit of a better place. I am learning a lot and opening my mind to new opinions, scoping out exactly where I stand in all this. Animal ethics is not a black-and-white issue. There’s a lot I still need to learn and look in to.

Phew! That’s a lot of updating! Would just like to make a few final comments, and then restate my promise to ‘blog more often’. I do try, honest!

So, there’s a book that if you or a loved one have dealt with depression, I feel explains things very well. I told my boyfriend that it is ‘like an x-ray into my mind when the depression is bad’: the book is ‘Reasons to stay alive’ written by Matt Haig. I read it in one sitting. Its fantastic! Go find it and read it!

I would like to say that I have a kind of vision that my blog will be a more regular outpouring of rat pictures, my experience of depression, life and my adventures as I dip my toe into the waters of veganism. Stay tuned to see if that actually materialises… Here goes!

Thanks for reading,

Fryn 😀

I don’t know what to call this but it ain’t happy and it ain’t good news!

It’s been about two years since I started this blog. I must admit that when I started I had never thought that depression would still be such a prominent feature in my life. I have been on quite the journey but am still only now learning more about my depression. About what causes it to worsen, and how to make it better.

Alas I should have guessed that working as a lab technician would affect my depression in ‘new and interesting’ ways. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Who are ‘they’ anyway? Why didn’t I see this coming? I now fully appreciate just how big a part my energy levels have to play in keeping depression at bay. 37+ hours a week was very demanding. I lasted about a month before I spectacularly unravelled. Very melodramatic language, yes, but I believe it is justified. I could not cope with the full schedule. I tried, I really enjoyed the environment and being around my colleagues. I love love love the chemistry, making up solutions, cleaning glassware, preparing experiments. I was overjoyed to be active and revelled in my new-found responsibility and vigour. Well, whoops. It is probably no surprise that after landing the dream job, when it went bad it went real bad real quick.

I am not proud of the person I become when my depression takes hold. I become selfish, spiteful and generally unpleasant. This time, however, I took a very self-destructive turn. I became more suicidal than I care to admit. I am ashamed to admit that I deliberately hurt myself and in so doing hurt those I care about most. From mid November when the proverbial shit hit the fan, all I can remember is a blur. I was briefly on diazepam. I went to A & E, feeling suicidal with the intent of severely hurting myself at least. I saw a fair few psychiatrists, had calls to the emergency psychiatric support line, and then had a big change in medication. Mirtazapine, propanolol, zopiclone and hydroxyzine hydrochloride were added to my ‘cocktail’; my pregabalin and fluoxetine were increased too. I have only since Christmas stopped zopiclone, reduced the pregabalin back to pre-crisis levels and become less drowsy. I didn’t drive for 2 months, and can now just manage a 5 minute drive before feeling tired. And I’m now trusted around sharp objects at least! It was kind of hysterically funny that I wrapped Christmas presents using nail scissors to cut the paper (not allowed any bigger sharp things!)

I feel drained, my arms and shoulders feel kind of heavy and getting some true normality still feels far away and at times unobtainable. I have been declared unfit for work and in a true set of bad circumstances, which are actually probably for the best, I have apparently not been employed at all since October, and therefore don’t have a job to go back to. I’ll be lucky if I get paid, too. The thought of going back was only making me panic a lot anyway. This all sounds quite dire, but I am trying to give a grounded, realistic account of what has happened. I desperately want some perspective over it all! My head is still fuzzy and I find it hard to think straight. Or think at all, to be honest. I don’t know if the exhaustion will go away, I don’t know when I’ll be buying my own food, cooking my own meals and I have no clue when I’ll be ready to approach working again.

Joe has been a true gem, putting up with the very worst side of me and encouraging every last bit of progress. I am so grateful for all Joe has done for me, and feel privileged to still have him by my side. Words do not give my gratitude justice. I’m not sure what else I really want to write. I don’t know what I really hoped to achieve by writing, but this is an update for you at least, blogosphere. I’ll try to write again soon.

Thanks for reading,

Fryn

Feeling Fryn-tastic!

I’m not sure what to title this post. Epic-life-and-everything-update, maybe? I don’t know. It’s been quite a while since I last blogged, and a longer time still since I wrote anything I consider to be especially meaningful. So, I guess this is an update of a few parts. (Warning: Long and rambley!)

1. The ole job status…. I did get that close-to-home job, and then fucked it up and quit within a week, which is not something I am especially proud of. I doubted myself, and as I have now learned, when I doubt myself (which is often), I get anxious about other peoples’ opinions of me, and I quit. I have quitted many things: University, jobs, courses, friendships, support groups, etc etc. I quit a lot more things than I care to admit and I often try to downplay it. So, to continue a tradition, y’know, this job wasn’t for me, and quitting it wasn’t all that bad for me (see, I downplay like a pro!). Yes, my CV was made iffy and I took a knock to my self esteem, but things looked up. I moved (more on that later!) and applied for a job which I have only recently started.

It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride (albeit a tame, super-cliched one) between hearing about this job, applying for it, and now starting it. I am now the Chemistry Lab Technician at a secondary school. I first heard about the job in July. I applied a few weeks later, when a job advert came out in a local paper. Next step was to wait… and wait… and wait… the application process was delayed, so I went on jobseekers’, lost hope that I would get this job, lost hope that I would get any job. I really doubted myself, and despite the huge support I received nothing could quieten the voice, ever louder in the back of my head, that I was worthless and would not successfully get any job that I would enjoy ever so I may as well stop trying.

I persevered, and the support from those close to me is ultimately what enabled me to keep on going, and had interviews. I had an interview for a laboratory assistant at an environmental company. If I hadn’t told them about my depression (I feel huge guilt when I am not open and upfront about it) then I would have got the job! I am certain that I was discriminated against, and I felt like I did really well in the interview and my enthusiasm for practical chemistry shone through. It was devastating, but I had the prospect of my current job lurking, so I waited and waited. After a bit of a setback mentally, a spell on ESA and a change-up of my medication, the time finally came: an interview at the school for the job I dreamed of getting.

I heard back that evening that I was hired! Considering I was the only available candidate, and I had shown my keen interest for a full three months, I was thrilled. In the period of time afterwards though, my mood plummetted and my anxiety skyrocketed. I had my first panic attacks, I had difficulty sleeping and was restless. Sometimes I still am quite anxious; I feel a lot of pressure to do well. It is bittersweet to be working with chemicals after dropping out of university and I worry that it’s sort of too good to be true. That everyone will realise that I know less than they think I do, that I will let them down, make mistakes. I worry that I will be unreliable or that I will be unable to cope with the responsibilities of the job. I have also been daunted by the active nature of the job, and would I be able to adapt from having no job, being totally inactive to running about the science department constantly? I have been managing so far, two and a half weeks in. I am exhausted by the end of the day but I thought it would be crippling and unbearable to be on my feet so long. I worried that my knee would play up or that my hypermobility and dyspraxia would conspire against me. Alas, it is nothing that anti-inflammatories and a strong cup of coffee can’t fix! I feel like I really have made progress by getting this job, even though it still terrifies me if I think about it too much.

2. My depression status – As I wrote already, the past few months have had their fair share of challenges. Just as I get a handle on my depression, it creeps up again. But I have a lot of support, from my family, my friends, and my amazing boyfriend (more on him later!) I am very grateful for the help. I am still having regular therapy, which I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone, it is really beneficial. I am still on a medium-dose of fluoxetine. It is still working pretty well. I can’t drink on it any more though! It really enhances the effects of alcohol, eesh. I am now also on a small dose of pregabalin, that I take in the morning and evening for anxiety. As soon as I started taking it, I noticed a drastic increase in my energy levels, and I am much less anxious than I was before (only been on it a month now). I don’t think I’d be functioning this well with my new job if I weren’t on it. It really has given me so much more energy, so I’m much more productive. It is no longer such a struggle to do simple household chores like laundry and tidying. I even hoovered my room for the first time since moving….

3… Which brings me onto my next status: I left home! Whoop! I am now in a pretty unique situation where I am my boyfriend’s next-door neighbour. All the perks of living together, with all the perks of living apart. I am very fortunate, and it has really boosted my confidence to be self-sufficient at last. I am in a new county, with new sights to see and new places to go – it’s good to have a change of scenery and of course, my neighbours ain’t bad neither!

4 – last but not least, my relationship-status. Me and Joe, my amazing boyfriend, have been together nearly six months now. I am very lucky to have met such a caring, selfless and loving guy. He is so special to me and I love him very much! Enough of the smooshy stuff though, in all seriousness I do not believe I would have made it this far without his unswerving support and love. His circle of family and friends have accepted me with open arms and I really feel proud to see how much they all care about Joe. I feel truly welcomed here, and I feel well settled in now, too.

I would like to add, not to take away his thunder but because I want people to see his blog and not mine, and because I find him a true inspiration, and for shameless plugging of the amazing man I now share my life with….. Check out Joe’s blog! He has been strong and courageous through his personal battles with OCD, and is now sharing his experiences with the interwebs. Joe is writing an autobiographical book of his experience, and I cannot repeat enough how much of an inspiration I find him to be. His blog is http://thebrotherlynch.com/ – I would be honoured if you would check it out.

Many thanks blogosphere, and sorry I’ve been away so long!

Fryn

Progress! Hopefully!

It feels like ages since I last blogged. So, update!

Got the sack from work. I reckon unfair dismissal because the HR doc totally pushed me out and I said I was well and he said I wasn’t. So there’s that. Buuuuut I’ve been having interviews for new jobs and I should get an offer! For an awesome sounding job close to home. I’ll be able to move out soon which is very exciting. I feel as if my pipe dream of moving out is becoming a reality and it is really positive.

I have officially been In A Relationship with Mr Awesome for 2 months. Things are awesome so far. I feel so welcomed by his friends and family, and I feel like I have a bit of a social life now. It makes me feel really positive about the future and about myself. I’m so excited to get working at the new job and feel like I’m entering a new chapter of Frynness!

In other, depression-related news, fluoxetine is really good for me. I’m on a medium dose, and the side effects are minimal. I can have a little drink without passing out, which is nice. And I really am starting to feel more positive. Although that may be due to the boyfriend rather than the tablets!

I am really looking forward to moving out with my little pet rats. Poor Rufus has had a few cases of the snuffles, which has meant giving him antibiotics soaked into bread. At one point the vet thought he may be asthmatic which was rather concerning! And poor Kipper had a sore patch on his belly that turned into a little skin infection. They’re both doing fine now and being super cute! My lovely little bundles of hugs!

I thiiiiink that’s all I have as an update really. Just wanted to check in with the ole blog. And use far too many exclamation marks!!!!!!

Future and lack of future

So much for blogging more often, huh?! So yeah, it’s been a while. Not very much to report unfortunately.

I’ve  not yet returned to work, but at least I still have a job to go back to when I’m better. Even four hours a day proved too much, it can be exhausting putting on my everything-is-okay face. They’ve been very understanding. And I’ve started therapy. I didn’t get along with the NHS CBT lady so I’ve gone private and have weekly sessions now.

I have also tried changing my medication. Venlafaxine really did not agree with me personally, I felt the worst I’ve been in a long while. Now I’m on fluoxetine, which seems much better. I’ve actually started thinking about getting back to work, which is a HUGE deal. Although HR says I’m not yet ready :-S I really want to be though. I wanna move out and stuff! But anyways, depression has its ups and downs and I think(?!) I’m heading for an up about now. I don’t have real future-plans yet but watch this space! Speak soon, blogosphere 🙂

La la laaah

I have made a pact with myself to blog more often. Yeah. I’m back at work and it’s very tiring (even though I only do four hours per day at the mo) but it’s okay. And it’s good to have the freedom of being able to drive. No other news to be honest… :-/