Let the words flow.

Art is something that I approach (or quite possibly run away from), with a solid, 10 foot pole.

Looking and admiring it is something that I truly enjoy. It brings me mindfulness and peace. Art galleries are one of my favourite places, and I have such fond memories of spending hours exploring them with friends and my husband. Visiting MoMA is a big goal for the future.

However, when it comes to the very doing of art – nope, nada, no. Not going there. The mere thought of having to pick up a pencil or paintbrush, and create something that my perfectionist mind will never be happy with, is enough to make my skin crawl. It’s annoying. I’ve got to work on that. Because art can be fun and creative and exciting. It can bring joy, and the process can be one of mindfulness. It sounds like a very healthy and therapeutic way of releasing what is bombarding within.

Day 6 – do something creative.

So, I compromised. Writing is safe for me; it’s what I’m comfortable in. I feel as though I have far more control to sculpt what I create with words, rather than with other mediums. The backspace key is well overused.

However, it is also important to keep learning, to keep trying new things; to practice using other mediums for creativity and expression. This way we can keep challenging what we already know, and keep growing through that.

I don’t really know what to call this. A mish-mash of words, and as ankle-deep into art that I’m willing to go at the moment. It is every thought and random word that was going through my head in the moment, written down in my bullet journal. I was hesitant and uncomfortable with beginning this, in case I made a mistake (spoiler – I made plenty), and in case the whole bullet journal was “ruined” by this one page. However, by the end I was kind of happy with the end result. Doing this kept my hands busy, which is always a good thing. The mindfulness that was involved was also a good bonus too!

Here is a text version if that’s easier to read:

The beans grew big and strong
They bloomed; nothing to stars.
Is this brain a safe place?
Is it really a flooding torrent,
Or can I plant my feet firmly in the soil and thrive?
How can there be silver linings and horrors all beneath the same sky;
All flowing through the same vein?
Soldier on and soldier on again,
And just keep putting one foot ahead of the other.
Leave your skin alone.
Be small and big
(Don’t overthink “big”, don’t),
All at once –
Anything and everything.
Cicadas cicadas cicadas cicadas cicadas cicadas.
To be unapologetic and unashamed,
To be vulnerable,
To be free.
Go out there and do.
Go out there and be.

There you have it, a weird attempt at creativity which was surprisingly enjoyable, and a good way to release some thoughts that are flying around your brain! It is also good practice for accepting this how they are a.k.a getting over the ridiculous, destructive perfectionism, and seeing something for what it truly is – a snapshot of the now, a work in progress.


My 2018 bullet journal.

As I mentioned at the end of last year, I have been dwelling on the idea of bullet journaling for a while now, but the fear of imperfection has always held me back. However, it’s 2018 now, so being afraid of not being perfect, which is impossible to reach regardless, is no longer allowed to rule my life! At least, that’s what I’m working on anyway.

I procrastinated starting bullet journaling, even once I had decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and do it! It took me hours to write in it, but now I feel able to more freely continue it. The pressure to not “ruin” the entire journal with one mistake is immense, however it is lessening over time.

I’m never going to be completely happy with how neat, or not neat it is, or how my writing looks. When I first made a mistake in it, I didn’t touch it for two days. Therefore, looking forward, this bullet journal is one of progress and growth. It’s purpose is not to demonstrate how neatly I can write, or how perfectly I can try and control my life. Instead, I’m aiming for it to be a journal of joy. Of documenting and organising my life as I change as a person. I’m trying to be okay with the mistakes I have made, and will continue to make in it. It’s a solid gesture of turning my back against perfectionism, and of celebrating creativity, and just simply letting this be, instead.

When looking at inspiration for bullet journaling, it’s so easy to get caught up in how perfect everybody else’s bullet journals appear to be, and thus infer how together they have their lives. I love looking at what others do with their bullet journals, but as with everything else, comparison is the theif of joy. Celebrate what others can do, alongside finding joy in what you can do too.

The aesthetic side of bullet journaling is huge. Beautiful spreads, fonts, headers and illustrations are everywhere online. I admire the art and creativity that goes into them greatly. However, I have to keep reminding myself that I am aiming for purpose and function in my bullet journal, more so than how it looks. I am aiming for my bullet journal to help with my mental health, through organisation and documenting, rather than harming my mental health. This is why I’m just letting it be. It’s messy, it’s real, and here it is!

I chose yellow for the bullet journal because it’s my all time favourite colour. The pages are pink with gridded dots, which does take some getting used to!

There isn’t too much to show, as it’s only the beginning of Janary, and I also left out the pages that contained personal information, which funnily enough is the majority in a journal.

There’s an index, a future log, monthly spreads and daily spreads. There are also lists of books I have read so far this year, and those I would like to read too. I’m hoping to continue my therapy skills and goal pages as the year continues.

Overall, I’m really enjoying the process of bullet journalling! I love crossing off tasks, which helps to stop me avoiding all the little things which build up over the week. It’s not perfect, but I’m trying to be okay with that, as it is just a journal after all! So far it’s been fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses over time.

Planning for a healthy 2018.

Ever since my therapist explained the importance of planning my days to help care for my mental health, it’s like a lightbulb switched on in my head. And it’s still shining bright!

For someone like me, who has had a longtime foe called anxiety, simple, everyday tasks can easily become overwhelming. They can feel as though they are all stampeding towards me, and by that stage, my brain utterly convinced that I can’t handle any of them. This contributes to the frequency and intensity of the panic attacks I experience. It goes without saying that generally, the more collected, confident and organised I feel, the less anxiety reigns it’s ugly head and spews out panic attacks. Sorry for the ugly image there. But as anyone who has even merely heard of a panic attack knows – there really isn’t a pretty way to describe them.

A few months ago, my therapist began to help me plan my days for several reasons. The first, as explained above, is that it aids in stabilising my mental health. The second, is that on days that seem impossible to live through, even if I can accomplish the smallest, easiest task on my list, this lessens the feelings of hopelessness, and turns them more into a sort of hope. The third is that I thrive on productivity and routine, and being busy helps to keep anxiety at bay. It also helps my confidence and self-esteem. Last but not least, something I am working on through recovery is creating balance and engaging in self-care, so planning helps me to schedule it all in.

As 2018 is rapidly approaching, my little organised and perfectionist self is getting so excited about a brand new year. New classes will start, I get to take brand new notes (!!!), and I am also hoping to take up the opportunity to start planning my days in a new way.

At the moment, I have a standard planner, where I chuck in everything from my shifts at work, to class times, to assignments, to therapy times, to family and friend things, to birthdays, to random notes. It’s all a big, messy jumble, which is quite an eyesore. I feel as though if I curated it all in a different way, things would seem less overwhelming. It would also enable me to have clearer intentions for each day, and to work my goals into my plans to make them achievable.

White Paper With Note

So, please enter, (about three years too late, I know), the bullet journal. Or something of the sorts anyway.

One of my goals for before January 1st 2018 is to have organised out my planning for the year. I’m hoping to create healthy daily morning and night routines, which includes things that I am learning impact my mental health in a positive way. Things like taking my medication, reading, going outside, exercising, mindfulness time and communicating. I am also hoping to write down my toolbox of strategies, such as mindfulness skills, and DBT techniques, so that I have a physical list in front of me when I need it.

Also, I’m not going to lie, but I do get all wide-eyed in wonder looking at all the pretty colours and the aesthetics of bullet journals. That is definitely part of the pull towards it all.

Something that does put me off bullet journaling a little bit, is how perfect they always look online. I know logically that this isn’t real life, and that these books are not perfect. However, I’m afraid of getting so wrapped up in it looking perfect, and never being able to make it that way, that it will all just crumble around me. Therefore, this is something I have to remember throughout the process, and to just let myself simply be. Hopefully along the way of creating the journal, I will learn give more energy to being creative rather than being perfect. Creativity and growth beats perfection any day.

Some ideas of what I am hoping to include in my bullet journal are goals, well more aims, for my mental health and mindfulness, alongside goals for university, work, writing, and life after graduation, such as jobs and house savings.

2018 – you scare me, you make me excited, and you fill me with hope.