Friday, 16 May 2014

Only Constant is Change

So as many of you are aware, I've been detoxing from mirtazapine (US: remeron) for quite a while now. It's compared on some online forums to coming off heroin. I don't think it's anywhere near that bad but it is still pretty rough.

A brief list of the side-effects of detoxing:
- Residual anxiety: I've been treating with this with essential oils. Try lavender, geranium & palma rosa for anxiety or Geranium, Neroli & Nutmeg for depression. (Courtesy of the fabulous The Fragrant Pharmacy by Valerie Ann Worwood). Even with these remedies, I have had one major slip-up but rather dwelling on it, I've tried to move forward.
- Nausea & Headaches: Feeling very nauseous but very light.
- Loss of balance: Certain yoga poses that I've always been able to do now challenge my balance.
- Conjunctivitis
- Break-through bleeding
- Half of my upper lip changed colour & got very warm
- Itching, lots and lots of itching.

But as my body returns to me (have lost 8 pounds so far!), I feel more at ease with my life than ever. When people ask me what has helped most with my depression, obviously my meds have saved my life. But what makes my life bearable is: yoga, vegetarianism & trying to eat as clean as possible.

Even on those days when the side-effects take over, I still get to that yoga class and roll out the mat with scarred arms. Because they are scars of the battles I have faced and won. I have hated myself and my body for as long as I can remember. I have wished to be other people, anyone but myself. But with yoga, I fall in love with my body. With what it is capable of. The beautiful thing it is. And how I and it deserve to live. That I have a place in this world and I am rooted to it through my practice.

I stopped eating meat primarily because it was cheaper but then I was struck by this thought that I didn't want to put something dead inside myself. (Yes, I know that plants are dead when I eat them!) But I wanted to embrace a fresher and healthier lifestyle that was based not on the deadly meat industry that is characterized by the greed of humans and the fear and death of animals. It has made such a huge difference as has trying to eat clean and organic. I have fallen in love with quinoa and spinach and shakes and coconut oil. And some might say that the healthy, organic life is all guff and we should all bacon sarnies. But for someone who has struggled self-hatred and feeling out of control all her life, it is so positive. I choose what I eat and I choose to honour my body with good, healthy, nutritious food.

For the first time in my life, I am happy to be here. I don't want to say that yoga and healthy vegetarianism will work for everyone. It won't. But for me, it has given me a life that does not need to survived but has made me thrive.

And when all else fails, as my Mumma says: "At least the flowers make you smile."

These are all flowers from my front garden. The middle ones are called Campanula because they look like bells. The Italian for bell is Campanello.

Kimono: Topshop // Top: New Look // Shorts: Primark // Earrings: New Look // Necklace: Present from the bloke //

Cape: Free People (no longer available in black) // Top: New Look // Skirt: New Look // Hat: ASOS // Scarf: Primark // Earrings: New Look // Necklace: ASOS (reduced!) //

Dress: Urban Outfitters // Skirt: New Look (Wardrobe Staple!) // Earrings: Present from the gorgeous Eve and Milo // Hamsa Necklace: Accessorize // Charm Necklace: ASOS (Reduced!) //

Signalling the 4 pounds I'd lost!
Jumper: Urban Outfitters (Reduced!) // Dress: Free People (only in black & alabaster) // Headscarf: Mum's // Turquoise Necklace: India // Long Necklace: ASOS (Reduced!) // Earrings: ASOS //

Emily x

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A Dress for All Seasons

True love exists. Don't let anyone tell you different. So does love at first sight. 

I experienced both of those feelings when I first glimpsed this dress. Words cannot describe its beauty or how wonderful it feels to wear!

The bloke describes it as "a bit hippy." My Mum says I look like an old Welsh lady. I describe it as heaven.

Dress: Free People (now only in black & alabaster)
Crochet Top: New Look
Boots: Primark
Scarf: Mum (present from my Gran to her)
Earrings: ASOS
Dream Catcher Necklace: Parents
Crystal Necklace: Gran

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Secret Paths

"A Secret Path Will Be There For You That No One Knows"

I had late afternoon cuppa with an old friend this week. As we sat catching up over jasmine tea, we spoke about our future plans and what we hoped for. As I spoke about the bloke & I's plans, I was struck again about how much was predicated with "if". "If" he gets the job, "If" I finish my thesis, "If" I get a visa and so the list goes on. 
As I told my friend of our plans (Bali, India and then who knows?), she said "oh that's so like you, you do things, you take risks." I laughed when she said this. I live my life by plans. When I went travelling in Italy, I knew exactly which train I would get and where before I even left England. But being with my bloke and being treated for depression, I have learnt to seek out and to even love, risks and not planning my life to minute detail. My friend went further in her assessment, she said "It's because you're a dragon" (Chinese astrology). I laughed again, to be a risk taker seemed so unlike the me that I have encountered and often hated. In the face of my confusion, she continued detailing all my risk taking actions: doing a PhD without initial funding, going off to Italy on my own, planning to leave the country for good with the bloke. It got me thinking. This friend knows me well and loves me deeply.
It made me think of how much depression robs us of. I often say with a sigh, "the things you lose in the fire." To mean, all those opportunities, friends and life that I lost to my depression. But, depression does not only rob from us but it hides our true self. My plans, my careful lists, my train times were all coping mechanisms. They were ways to keep a desperate control in a world, life and body that felt outside of my control. The outside world was scary but if I knew exactly which train I would catch, then perhaps I could go off on my Italian adventure. 
As I emerge from my life-long depression, I am learning new things about my personality. I'm learning that I am an annoying optimist rather than a moody cow. I am learning that I am messy because I don't care if people think I am. I am learning that I'm a bit ditzy and a scatterbrain because I don't need to be perfect. I am learning that the world isn't scary and it's okay not to know which train you are going to take. Or which path to follow. It's okay to not know what you want to do with life. It's okay to just be. To revel in the fact that you wake up, the rain on your face, the sweat on your mat and the bluebells in your garden. It is in these revelations that we'll find our secret paths.

My Nineties' tribute outfit!
Kimono: Primark // Dress: New Look // Top: New Look // Dream catcher Necklace: Present from the parents // Turquoise Necklace: Accessorize // Orange Earrings: Made by the lovely Tasha // Mouse Earrings: Present from the bloke from Lisous Little Bazar //


Sunny Sunday Walk on the Downs

Cardigan: Mum's // Top: Truly Madly Deeply @ Urban Outfitters // Dress (underneath): Primark // Scarf: Hippypottermouse // Earrings: Primark // Sunglasses: Primark // Headscarf: Mum's //

Cardigan: Primark // Tunic: White Stuff via Ebay // Scarf: Primark // Necklace: Accessorize via Ebay //

Super pleased with my new hat! 

Cardigan: New Look // Tunic: River Island // Jeggings: Topshop // Hat: ASOS // Neon Necklace: Accessorize // Long Necklace: ASOS

I have fallen in love with ASOS recently. One of my housemates threw their magazine away to stop herself buying any more. (Un)fortunately, I fished it out and fell in love with lots of gorgeous items. And now, I get the tempting magazine! This gorgeous hat is my favourite item of this season. I wear it all the time and it takes the simplest outfit into boho heaven. 

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Life Through Rituals

So it has now been a week since I stopped taking one of my anti-depressants. My doctor said that I had such good progress that she was happy for me to come off my sleeper. In the past days, I've had insomnia, which I've treated with lots of tea and extra-long reading times. But, it has been so freeing to come off this particular meds and to get parts of my life back that I had lost to my depression. It took my mornings from me and I lost them clawing through nightmares, desperately trying to find wakefulness. Now, I get up early (ish) and I love the quiet feeling of a spring morning. Those first few days were helped waking up to my Mum's smiling face and a cup of tea.

For so many months, my life was ruled by the ritual of my meds. I had to take it about an hour before bed and woke late with breakfast in bed. My evenings were ruled by which unhealthy snacks I would crave and eat. At first, I felt a little lost without my rituals. In the mornings, I didn't know what to do with this extra time and this get-up-and-go attitude I had. So, I started making smoothies in the morning (today was avocado & cocoa powder! mmm!). I'll light a candle in the mornings to honour the new day that I look forward to (a real first). In the evenings, I light incense and spend my time either resting with a good book or joyfully contorting my body at a yoga class. I have the time and the energy to meet up with old friends, to swap news and hopeful dreams.

I believed that there would be no life for me after my diagnosis. That my life would be ruled by further dips, my new pills and a constant overwhelming desire to die. I remember telling my counsellor that I had to accept that life was just something that I had to do, like doing the hoovering. I thought being free from depression would be just surviving and dreading the next bout. Instead, I have found life open up to me. I feel joy in every day, every movement of my body. Life is no longer a chore but a gift that I receive with open arms and a joyful heart. Whilst doing a downward facing dog!

Sorry for the poor quality, they were taken on the bloke's phone.

Jumper: Made my super-talented Mum! She did a City & Guilds Fashion & Design course while she was pregnant with me and this is one of the things she made. I love wearing it and fully believe that it is why we won pub quiz that night! What I love about this outfit is that I look like how I remember my Mum did when I was a child, knitted jumper and stonewash jeans! // Jeans: New Look // Earrings: New Look //

Cardigan: Ecote @ Urban Outfitters // Top: H & M // Skirt: New Look // Necklace: Accessorize via Ebay //

Dress: Urban Outfitters // Waistcoat: H & M via Ebay // Hat: Accessorize // Short necklace: The Bloke // Hamsa necklace: Accessorize (current) //

Dressed down for shop work!

Cardigan: Primark // Top: Truly Madly Deeply @ Urban Outfitters // Jeans: New Look // Scarf: Hippypottermouse // Hat: Accessorize //

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Most Beautiful Thing

After over two years away, I am back working at my beloved Wild Oats. This little shop is a treasure trove of health food and natural remedies. It's a lovely place to browse the shelves and pick up new treats for yourself. It's an even lovelier place to work even if most of your wage gets spent on yummy foods!

I'm really enjoying working there again be it doing the washing up, putting out stock or serving customers. What I love is the ability to serve people in such a basic way. Though it may just be finding them a gorgeous new tea to try or picking up a quick pint of milk, I get to participate in their daily life and bring nourishment to their body. It really is the most beautiful thing.

Shawl: Free People // Blouse: H&M // Shorts: Primark // Necklace: Accessorize //

Top: Truly Madly Deeply @ Urban Outfitters // Skirt: Staring at Stars @ Urban Outfitters // Earrings: Gift from a lovely housemate // Short necklace: the cross was a Christening gift and the pendant was a gift from the bloke // Hamsa necklace: Accessorize //

Top: Truly Madly Deeply @ Urban Outfitters // Jeans (I enjoy wearing these not just because they're comfy but because the bloke hates them!): New Look // Necklace: As above // Boots: Primark

I love wolves and you should too. Or at least watch this amazing video!

I absolutely adore how relaxed and comfy this outfit. The top was an amazing purchase from Primark. It's a wool-like material and is great for just sloppy elegance. I also love wearing it for yoga, look at me doing a mini-tree!
Top: Primark // Dress: New Look // Leggings: Primark // Hairband: Primark // Earrings: Accessorize // Short necklace: Mixture of gifts // Turquoise necklace: Accessorize //

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Love Cannot Be Weighed

As I edited the photos for this blog post, I ummed and ahhed over each picture. Thinking to myself, Oh I look too fat in that one, People don't want to see my body like that, I don't want people to see my body like that. As I sit in my yoga classes, I get frustrated as my body gets in the way of my postures.

Let me explain a little more, I am from a naturally skinny family and yes, those really do exist! We are very tall and very skinny. We called my Dad the human dustbin whilst we were growing up because he could eat so much. His other nickname was Daddy Longlegs. And I grew up like that, with a very skinny body, able to eat as much as I wanted. That is not to say that I haven't struggled with food my whole life. It is something that I can control when the world outside feels uncontrollable. My weight has dropped dangerously low in the past. And then I was prescribed Mirtzapine for my depression. This pill saved my life. There is no other way to put it. It made me sleep when all I could think about was how much I hated myself. It forced me to eat, and to eat a lot. But when the over-appetite waned, the weight did not. And I piled on the weight. And then some more weight. A couple of friends have even mistakenly thought that I was pregnant! 

As I start to come off Mirtzapine, I am eager to lose this weight but not the feeling of acceptance of my flesh and existence that it led me to. Being bigger forced me to accept that I existed and it was okay to do so. One of my counsellors once suggested that my issues with food were not just about a control but stemmed from a belief that I did not deserve or want to exist. Being heavier has forced me to accept my body as it is. It has forced me to think about my yoga postures, as I struggle to find a gravitational centre in a body that is so alien to me.

Sweatshirt: New Look (just £5!) // Vest: New Look // Skirt: New Look // Necklace: Accessorize (present from my Mum) //

Apologies for my crazy hair! I'd been on the telephones at work all day! But still smiling! 
Shirt: Joules via Ebay // Top: Free People // Skirt: New Look //

Poncho: Free People // Top: New Look // Vest (underneath): H&M // Shorts: Primark via Ebay // Necklace: New Look (present from the bloke) //

Denim vest: Primark via Ebay // Lacy top: New Look // Skirt: White Stuff via Ebay
I wore this lovely ensemble when my little sister visited and we went out for a scrumptious Sunday lunch. In the evening, the bloke and I went to see a really interesting and lovely film called When the Iron Bird Flies. It's about Tibetan Buddhism coming to the West and it was put on by the Aro Ling centre on Gloucester Road. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend this film. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

A Tree is Strong by its Roots

First of all, apologies that it has been so long since I last wrote. When I first started this blog, I was deep in the seemingly-eternal depths of depression and had very little social life. My blog was a way to reach out and interact with the world in a safe and healthy way. As I've started to claw my way out of depression, I've found that my life has filled up with the things that bring me joy but that bring me away from my laptop. My weeks are now full of yoga, books, friends, and above all, joy. I went to see my doctor last week and said I'm happy, I'm happier than I ever been. I didn't know life could feel like this. 

And my secret? Well, the mixture of anti-depressants smoothed me out enough that I could think about eating healthy and getting back into yoga. And that first class, when my feet hit the mat in downward facing dog, was where I experienced joy. I started to learn that my body was not something to be cut at, to be tortured and reviled but something that should be enjoyed, fed and glorified. As B.K.S. Iyengar said: "My body is my temple, asanas are my prayers." I'm not going to pretend that my life is all sunshine and rainbows now. But, now, when I trudge through my day underneath a black cloud, I know I can leave that at the door of the studio and find peace and myself again as I roll out my mat. If a tree is strong by its roots, then yoga is my tree. 

The sun always shines on a yogini in tree pose!

The bloke and I went on a Faith Crawl around the different spiritual spaces around Bristol. This is me at the Sikh Gurdwara. Felt a little bit naughty covering my hair in my scarf decorated by Śiva!
Jumper: Jack Wills // Vest: New Look // Skirt: New Look // Scarf: From the very sadly departed Hippypottermouse in Leeds.

Dungarees: Primark // Stripy vest: New Look // Long-sleeved top: New Look // Hat: Accessorize // Necklace: Accessorize via Ebay


Vest: New Look // Skirt: White Stuff (via Ebay) // Necklace: Sole Sisters // Hamsa necklace: Accessorize 

 Cardigan: BDG @ Urban Outfitters (in grey) // Dress: Free People @ Urban Outfitters // Necklace: Accessorize via Ebay // Socks: Primark