What I Love About Autumn

I never thought I’d be this excited about Autumn. I don’t like the cold because I can never keep warm and I’m not a huge fan of Christmas looming. But after the longest and most gruelling summer I’ve experienced in my adult life, I’m ready for a bit of chill. So this is my written dedication to what I love about Autumn.

Orange, brown, red, yellow leaves crunching beneath my shoes. Watching them twirl and dance in the breeze as they fall. Wearing jeans and thick knitwear and scarves and hats. Being able to show off my collection of jumpers, a different one every day, I own enough to not wear one twice for at least two weeks. Warm bed socks at home, too thick for my shoes but perfect for lounging. Crawling into a onesie, the only acceptable time of year to wear one. Wearing jogging bottoms around the house without getting too hot. Not needing a fan and being able to use a heater. Sitting by my window, the glass so cold it reaches out and tickles my skin, drinking a hot chocolate, the combination giving me goose bumps.

Seeing the sky turn pink at 6pm, finally seeing the meaning of cotton candy skies. Trading in my beloved iced coffee for spiced coffee.

Halloween festivities, watching films and TV shows about witches, dressing up in costume, carving pumpkins and using the leftovers to cook a wonderful snack. Eating the seeds and remembering the friend who first fed them to me and taught me how to make them.

Reading. Everywhere. Snuggling up in my autumn clothes in a café or at home, reading whatever is taking my fancy. Not quite reading the winter and Christmas books I reserve for December.

Bonfire season. Something I didn’t get to participate in for three years in London for university. Every village and town has their own designated date for a bonfire or firework show all starting from the last weekend of September. Wrapping up in my warmest clothes, walking round the village with friends, cans from the corner shop in hand, maybe stop in a pub or two. Watch the parade of people dressed up and carrying Guy Fawkes, shuffle over to watch the fire being lit and the sparkles scatter in the black sky. Every laugh or breath comes out as a puff of fog. You can’t feel your fingers.

This is what I’ve missed about Autumn.

~Artie

Why I don’t think I’ll ever work

Hey pals,

 

I’ve been realising recently my body’s reality. I went for a job interview recently for a full-time role. It was something I think I would have enjoyed and felt fulfilling, but the hours and amount of admin work is what made me think. It was 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, every weekend (or at least every other weekend) at £8 an hour. Maybe up to £10 if I proved myself in the role.

My health isn’t steady and predictable like a full-time job. There are lots of things I can technically do. I have use of my legs, so technically I can stand. The impact of standing (or sitting, or walking, just doing anything for extended periods of time) is what healthy people don’t understand. I’m always in low levels of pain, some days it will just be worse without reason. Some activities will exacerbate it.

One part of my disability in particular that has become increasingly debilitating is the use of my right arm/hand. This is my dominant hand. I do everything with this hand. Overusing it means I can’t grip things properly, there is weakness in the muscles, or searing and burning pain. I can’t write for long, it will hurt. I can’t use a knife to cut certain foods at dinner as my joints lock. I can’t carry things. I’ve found recently I can’t even use a mouse/track-pad comfortably if the pain has been high. I’ve been trying to do some DIY recently; I can’t even paint the shelves I’m working on. It all hurts so much. Things you take for granted.

Brushing your teeth, opening doors, using a hoover, holding a glass, holding certain kinds of mugs (I’m looking at you, Costa! Your mugs are ridiculous and I always have to ask for a takeaway cup…).

It’s a throbbing pain when it’s resting. My disability even makes it hard to stretch out. I have hyper-mobility syndrome, I’m too bendy because my ligaments are stretchy etc. etc., so I have to get creative with the stretching to finally get the right muscles. Half the time it has been so bad recently I’ve had to ask my mum to rub it and I hate asking people to help reduce my pain.

And then all the fatigue that comes along with being in so much pain all the damn time. Even if I sleep well, I will still feel tired and if I don’t it will hit me later and I’ll feel like I have the flu. Total exhaustion, dizziness, hot/cold, all over aches. I normally burrow myself away into a dozen pillows and a soft blanket, my recent addition is a very soft and warm onesie. Another addition is evening headaches or migraines. I had to ask my mum to stop crumpling paper next to me because it felt so loud. It felt like someone was slowly digging a screwdriver into the bit between my eyebrow and tear duct.

So I feel this renders me pretty incapable. I did email this job and say that a part-time position would be best for me if they had any available and I had lots of ideas for the job. But I’m not sure I’ll get a reply.

For now, I’m working on my left hand dexterity (it’s pretty useless but I have got enough things to do to practice!) so that I wont need to use my right hand as much and will still be able to get things done whilst I await a neck scan to see if there are any pinched nerves or slipped discs that could be causing all this pain in my arm. I’m looking into applying for ESA if this is going to be my long-term, but otherwise I’m still doing to same old same old of trying to earn a bit of cash where I can. Right now, I can’t imagine living independently. My family take care of so much for me right now, I guess this is where I need to be.

 

 

~ Artie

My Journal: Messy and Half-Filled

Hey pals,

I wanted to talk about my journal today. I feel like we are brought up with one format for how diaries or journaling is supposed to work. You have to write everyday, you have to expose everything but not, you’re supposed to have juicy secrets and crazy love affairs and everything has to look perfect.

I think (especially now with instagram) that people feel like they have to make everything look perfect, even though it’s just for them. Studyblr is a huge thing now too and social media is all about the aesthetic. When I grew up with the internet, I had facebook for people I knew in real life, instagram wasn’t a thing, twitter wasn’t really something we used… I had a tumblr under a name that wasn’t me. I fabricated a person (except it wasn’t, everything I wrote was me and how I felt) so no one would find it and know it was me. Everyone in my life had a different name or I only used their first name’s initial. I blogged about all the horrible ugly things that were inside my head as a teenager because therapy was more stigmatised than it is today and even if you had therapy they weren’t very nice people most of the time. My blog was my online diary, a real one was too much pressure and tumblr had loads of posts and pictures that described how I felt more than I was able to.

Diaries or journals have always been this teen girl media thing, a way to tell the story of the protagonist of a novel or film and they always looked perfect. Pretty notebooks, perfect handwriting, even a great hiding place or lock system.

They are more than what we are taught they are. Yeah, sure, it’s great to make it look pretty (especially if that part makes you excited about doing it) but this perfectionism has held people back. I’ve known people who can never ever write on the first page of a notebook in case they make a mistake, even if it was a rough notebook. It’s hard to get past that feeling, but remember you do this for you.

My journal that I’ve been writing in since my graduation was a tool for maintaining my mental health. I moved away from my therapist that I really liked and who had really helped me get to the bottom of a few things and I didn’t want to stop ‘talking’ like that entirely. Yes, I write in it everyday (if I forget or am too busy, I try to catch up) but no, it’s not pretty. The outside is nice but I fucked up the front cover because my pen smudged. My handwriting (if you’re new here) is UGLY. Especially if I have a lot to write or a limited time. I also use it to experiment with designs and drawings for when I want to experiment with bullet journaling.

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But the important part is to chronologise my life. I want something to look back on from this period of my life to see how far I’ve come. For a more immediate reason, I keep track of symptoms in my journal. I talk about my sleep, my fatigue, pain, depression or anxiety, mood swings, diet and exercise, anything I try, all of it. I’ve learned that you do need to keep track somewhere, if it ever becomes important you have it in there. I’m experimenting with all sorts of things to try and better my physical health and to see if it helps my mental health too. And if I’ve done a lot, I write down everything I did that day and feel proud of myself for managing, for succeeding. I even write if I didn’t do anything that day and how I feel. There’s no fear in this journal of not being pretty enough or perfect enough.

I mean sure, one day when I write my memoir I’ll probably quote from it but it is not a thing to be edited. It is my truth of now. Right now, I forgot to fill it in today and I don’t want to go downstairs to get it coz it’s late and I’m tired and as comfortable as I can be after an exercise class. So I’ll do it tomorrow and write about the pain I felt today and where, I’ll talk about how annoying this exercise class was and how I’m not sure I want to go back, I’ll talk about managing to write this!

Don’t be afraid of scribbling things out, don’t be afraid of your less-than-perfect handwriting, don’t be afraid of writing about those ugly feelings inside you, because this whole thing is for you to share and to verbalise things you wouldn’t normally be able to.

This is my journal and its imperfection makes it perfect for me.

~ Artie

Why I Take Magnesium Pills

Hey pals,

 

I wanted to talk through my experience of taking Magnesium supplements and why I now take them alongside multi-vitamins.

A few years ago (I say few because I have no concept of how long ago this actually was), my mother and I saw a Kinesiologist. It’s a very bizarre experience, a lot of moving my limbs and tapping. She told me I am very low in Magnesium after listing everything that was wrong and the symptoms linked. She prescribed me Magnesium, another pill and selenium drops. I didn’t really feel any benefits from this back in the day and once I ran out, I stopped.

One thing I remember her saying, “Magnesium is needed for pretty much every human function,” and that definitely stayed with me.

I have always have problems with sleep, constantly feeling fatigued, and have had bouts of really bad anxiety. Earlier this year alone I struggled to leave my uni house to do anything. That was before I started taking Magnesium again.

I’ve googled the benefits of Magnesium on-and-off since seeing the Kinesiologist and debated going back on them or even seeing her again.

I’d recently seen a YouTuber I really like (Melanie Murphy, before you ask) starting to take Magnesium along with a selection of other vitamins and minerals and she said it has really helped her anxiety and she felt so chill! So I thought, “Hey, maybe I should give it a go?”

I could always do with better sleep, more energy, less anxiety, less pain even. Magnesium helps relax muscles and has a lot of anti-inflammatory benefits. At this point, with my chronic pain, I will try anything once.

Melanie mentioned that women (lets ignore the self-misgender, because we are talking bio sex here) should be taking/consuming around 300mg of Magnesium a day. I’ve looked this up, females aged 19+ should take 310-320mg a day. So I looked at Amazon to begin, and decided I would rather buy from a company I can completely trust to give me what they are claiming to sell.

I now buy all my supplements from Holland & Barrett, because that’s their thing. I looked at the highest dose they sell, which was only 250mg, but I decided to give that a chance. Maybe I don’t need to be taking 300+mg a day, but I definitely think I need to be taking some.

 

It’s been a bit over a month now, it’s not a miracle pill but it definitely has made a lot of my above issues easier to combat. I may not dose off at 9pm every day, but getting to sleep before midnight is and waking up between 9 and 10am is becoming a habit. That’s pretty crazy, considering my previous sleeping pattern was 2am bed and 11am wake up. I have more energy and more cognitive ability. My pain is hit-and-miss but it always is. And when it comes to my anxiety, it’s pretty non-existent at this point; I’m capable of just taking things as they come.

If you’re thinking about trying Magnesium supplements, I say go for it. I did read that it can affect medications so double check with your doctor or pharmacist. But I’ve experienced a pretty positive change in my health and hope it continues to get better the longer I take them.

 

I’d love to know about your experiences!

 

~ Artie

 

What I take: https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/holland-barrett-magnesium-tablets-250mg-60005830?skuid=005830