Autumnal

We are now officially in my favourite season of the year. Darker nights, colourful leaves and cosy nights in bed. Because I have a high body temperature, I have a short fuse during the hotter months. So, I am always happy when it starts to cool down.

There are some pains, such has getting up in the dark, but it’s worth it. Usually, in Scotland it gets a bit colder and a little more wet and windy. The weather is always something Scottish people moan about, especially at this time of year, but I think a lot of people here are climatised to the weather. For all the complaining we do actually do, we have quite moderate weather.

The only problem I have this year, as it feels like time has just run away from me. I can’t believe we are over half way through September already. But, sitting in my bed, wrapped in my duvet, watching Netflix, I am welcoming the new season.

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Finding The Balance

I haven’t been posting again. It has been a conscious decision for the first time in my life. It was a signing out of browsers and apps, so that I could disconnect from things a bit. I am really bad at putting pressure on myself to do things. Usually, it is meaningless things, things that are not essential. Blogging became one of those things, and it quickly became a thing that stressed me out. Which is the opposite to what writing usually has for me.

Where stress came into play, was that I would want to post a few times a week, and I wasn’t really in the mood. My mind was elsewhere, and I couldn’t think of anything to write about. But, because I had set my mind on posting something, I would start panicking that I was failing. I don’t know what you really fail at, if you don’t post on a blog that noone reads, but it was still a stress-point. My head has a way of recognising what I fail at, whilst ignoring everything else. And by recognising, I mean constantly berating myself till I feel so suffocated I get dizzy. Which is not nice.

So, I have been taking time out. Time to re-assess things. Try to find the pleasure in writing again. It would be nice. I mean, writing has been a favourite thing of mine for years, and it has helped me figure a lot of things out. Doesn’t mean I am any good at writing, but I should get a Blue Peter badge for trying. To write when I want, not because I feel I have to.

In the time I have spent away from my computer, I have tried to do things I like. I have been going on long drives in my car, which is fun. Being able to go where I want, when I want, instead of waiting on buses has changed my life. I have explored all around where I live, visited towns I’ve never been and walked in parks and woodland. It has really helped me chill out. I put a crappy CD on, put petrol in the car and just follow a road somewhere. There is no pressure to exceed, just drive safely. Learning to drive really is the best thing I have done in years.

I just need to try and find a mix between productivity and relaxation. If I can try to not stress about being productive, I am sure I will find pleasure in writing again. I just need to remember sometimes, that what my head thinks is most important, isn’t always that way.

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Hopes for the future

I remember leaving school. I remember preparing for leaving school. I remember waiting for my exam results. Visiting colleges. The dreaded fear as I counted down the final days.

My aim, was to be a Veterinary Nurse, as I wanted to help animals. I tried so hard. But whilst I was studying in Glasgow, I started to develop anxiety. Whilst I had an issue with depression at school, college is where it smashed me in the face. It got harder and harder to continue on. Eventually I failed an exam to get on the next year, and had to get a job in a shop. Which was okay, but I didn't get on with my manager. My anxiety lead to a fear of standing still. If I stood still, then the fact that I failed as a Vet Nurse would catch up.

So I thought about what I wanted to do, as a life. And even as a kid, I either wanted to do art or something with animals. So, I tried animals, so i thought I'd try something more arty. This time I went to a local college to try Art and then Graphic Design. To support this, I left the shop and went to work in a call centre in the evenings. The ambition was there, but at this stage (my 20s) I still hadn't got any help with my mental heal issues. I speak about them, because I can see they were there, when I am looking back. It was whilst I was at college and the call centre that i eventually sought out help. I struggled with college, so I eventually ended up just going full time at the call centre. But I struggled.

Eventually, I was paid off from the call centre for underperforming. Which was hard. But I was so anxious, that I felt I was a burden to everyone around me. I couldn't sleep before work, and I would frequently end up in tears during the shift. Although I was in despair at the time, I didn't realise how much I hated the job till I never had to go back. I spent about 6 months, whilst looking for jobs, learning how to look after myself. I was in the worst mental state I had been in through my whole life. I was self-harming and didn't want to live. I only saw what I had failed at, and wanted to give up.

I spent time with friends and family, made effort, found the things that made me happy again. And about 4 years ago, I applied for a job at a local warehouse. A job I was permanent in after 12 weeks, and that I am still at. I work long shifts, but short weeks, and this has enabled me the time I needed to continue to work on myself. And it helped. I like my job, I like the people I work with, but I still feel I could do more. So I applied to the Open University to do an IT course. I have always been interested in computers, so it would be interesting. And because I have healthier ways of dealing with any mental health issues, I think I am more prepared than before, to work on a course.

I guess that is my message of this post. What you may have in mind for your career might not pan out. But it is no reason to give up. There are so many pathways available to you, so try not to lose awareness of that. Not everyone gets lucky at their first career choice, but something is there for you. I mean, IT might hot be the thing for me, but life is too short to not try.

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Happy Book Lovers Day â¤ï¸

I rarely pay attention to these 'blah blah day' things, but when it is relation to books, I felt I'd better celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with a tag. The tag is borrowed from the lovely Kayleigh, and you should certainly check out her book blog.

1. What was the last book you read?
I finally completed Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

2. Was it a good one?
Yes. It is quite absorbing and took a lot to get through. Though the story is interesting, and not really what I would normally read.

3. What made it good?
Most of the books I look at, are either modern day or fantasy. This book had more of a period setting, and it has actually made me want to read more like this.

4. Would you recommend it to other people?
Yes, though if you have a short attention span, like me, it may take a while to get through. It is well worth it.

5. How often do you read?
Sometimes I get a little bit of information overload, and I can focus on anything, including reading. Which blows. But I counter that with the days where I can read books in one go.

6. Do you like to read?
Yes. It has been a relaxing thing for me to do for most of my life.

7. What was the last bad book you read?
About A Girl by Lindsey Kelk.

8. What made you dislike it?
The characterisation felt so contrived and fake. I couldn't feel anything for any of the characters. It made me think of reality TV and I hate reality TV.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?
I think that's the dream, isn't it. To just write anything that touches someone. It's kind of magical.

10. Has any book ever influenced you greatly?
Probably The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was a book that helped settle my mind, when I struggled most with my mental health. It's a great book.

11. Do you read fan fiction?
Yes. Started with boy bands, progressed into anime… a true captain will go down their ship. 😂

12. Do you write fan fiction?
I did, a long time ago.

13. What's your favorite book?
Out by Natsuo Kirino

14. What's your least favorite book?
The Twilight saga… in general. I bought the whole lot, read the first one, and donated the lot to my local library. I maybe would have liked it when I was younger, but I was in my 20s and it was strange.

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?
Whilst I like having books anywhere I am, like on my phone, nothing beats a book. I love the whole process of reading a physical book. And, second hand books are great, because you can think about any differences the last reader had about the imaginary world unfolding in front of you. It's why I rent a lot at the library.

16. When did you learn to read?
Probably early Primary School, with Link-Up books and Puddle Lane.

17. What is your favorite book you had to read in school?
I really loved To Kill A Mockingbird at school, to the point I bought it as an adult.

18. What is your favorite book series?
Harry Potter by JK Rowling, The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dan and The Millenium saga by Steig Larrson.

19. Who is your favorite author?
Only one? Between Chuck Palahnuik, John Grisham and Paulo Coelho.

20. What is your favorite genre?
Depends on my mood, but I like drama orientated books, but will try to read anything.

21. Who is your favorite character in a book series?
Sasuke Uchiha, because I made it this far without mentioning NARUTO. I like this character, because when I was younger and starting to have mental health issues, i felt I understood Sasuke's take on the world. Why he became so focused on one thing. He was hurting, and I empathised with that.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?
A good book should always paint a world and take you there.

23. Which book do you wish had a sequel?
I don't know. I tend to find things go a bit off kilter in a sequel, so I prefer stand alone books.

24. Which book do you wish DIDN'T have a sequel?
50 Shades… I tried, I did. It is horrible in every way, and it shouldn't have a first book, never mind sequels and movies.

25. How long does it take you to read a book?
It depends, but because I have an awful attention span, I normally flit between one or two books at a time. So longer than it would be if I just read one.

26. Do you like when books become movies?
Most of the time I have imagined something completely different, so I am left disappoint. The Harry Potter books were okay, and John Green adaptations tend to be pretty spot on.

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?
Not really the point, but my interpretation of Harry Potter changed after the movies started coming out. And that disappoints me. I started reading Harry Potter back in the late 90s, before any movies. The world was good, but I thought differently of the characters.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?
I think Lord of The Rings did a good job, considering all the the walking.

29. Do you read newspapers?
Sometimes, more editorials rather than tabloid-y stuff.

30. Do you read magazines?
Mostly anime or food related. Sometimes music. I used to buy loads of magazines, I've cut down a lot.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?
Magazines, because rather than an overview, you can get what you are actually interested in.

32. Do you read while in bed?
Yes. Sometimes just before bed, and in the morning when I'm waking up.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?
Sometimes. Usually end up playing a game on my phone.

34. Do you read while in the car?
Not really. I did when I had to get the bus, now I have my own car. I read the road… if that counts.

35. Do you read while in the bath?
I drop things in the bath. So not really.

36. Are you a fast reader?
If I can get into the book.

37. Are you a slow reader?
Probably. It's to with my attention span, again.

38. Where is your favorite place to read?
Anywhere, really. But I love sitting in the garden on a sunny day.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?
Normally I'll be able to focus for a while. After about 20 minutes my brain starts ticking on to something else. Unless the book is super good.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?
I like music. So no.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?
Both my Mum and Dad love books, and still read a lot.

42. What book is next on your list to read?
I have a selection. Amy Poehler's Yes Please probably, because I need a laugh these days.

43. When did you start to read chapter books?
Primary 3/4… I'd be about 7ish… I am guessing.

44. Who is your favorite children's book author?
Colin Dan

45. Which author would you most want to interview?
I don't really know. Maybe John Green or Paulo Coelho.

46. Which author do you think you'd be friends with?
Anyone. I think being friends with someone who is good at writing, would be so great. I'd just ogle them, no matter who it was.

47. What book have you reread the most?
Probably Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien. It just pulls me in, so hard. I could get lost for days.

48. Which books do you consider "classics"?
Books like Emma… books that have been published for possibly hundreds of years.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?
The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dan. It's animals traveling from their woodland home, which is being bulldozed to build houses. Lots of animals travel together to find sanctuary in White Deer Park. It has a lot of lessons about how the human world hurts the animals living around us. And although I read it when I was at Primary School, it wasn't taught.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?
Books breed ideas… no book should be banned. Allow for free critique, but don't ban.

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Heavy

There isn’t very much to say today. In the last half hour or so I learnt the news that Chester Bennington, from Linkin Park, killed himself. I rarely get super upset over famous people dying, but this seems to hit home really hard.

Linkin Park were a bit like Blink 182, where they opened a door to other music. I have memories of having my personal CD player in my school bag with Hybrid Theory in it. Complaining that it jumped when I tried to walk anywhere. I bought every album by Linkin Park. Throughout their 7 studio albums, the band became chameleons, doing the music that made them happy. A big part of the music I now listen to, and the kind of person I am comes from Linkin Park. Chester was a hero to millions around the world, but that doesn’t stop mental health problems.

If you feel alone, or just a bit lost, please speak to someone. I write this blog as a way to get my issues out of my head, but I have also relied on others. I find it hard speaking to friends, so services came into mind. There is always someone willing to listen, you are not alone.

Service that helped me was the Samaritans.

UK & Ireland: The Samaritans call free on 116 123

(If anyone reading this has services which helped them in their country, please comment below and I’ll add to this post.)

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Butterfly Fly Away

The other week, I met up with my friend and her daughter, and we went to the Butterfly farm near Edinburgh. It was a place I hadn’t been since I was really little. It’s very warm, and butterflies just fly all around you. Was really fun. And I was able to take a few pictures.

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The summer provides a good time to play tourist in your local area, especially if you have kids. You can find more information about Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World here.

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Can’t do without

I am always saying that I use the internet way too much. But on thinking on it, I don’t just search stuff, I use specific sites and services. And the sad thing is, that I rarely travel out with those services. So, I thought I would share the stuff I use most, and why.

YouTube I watch more content on here, than I do on any other service. I watch videos in areas that I am interested in, which are usually related to retro gaming, book reviews, Japan, news or just general geekery. I look for a topic I like, and watch any videos that come up. If I like people I subscribe. Every so often, I will go through every video a channel has made, just for fun, and it absorbs hours of my
life.

Twitter I use Twitter all the time, which is not as much as I used to. Twitter has become a place for breaking news, but it’s a swing and a miss, as there is ALWAYS fake information circulating. Twitter is where I rant if I am stuck in traffic or had a bad day, I let of some steam. It can be a great place for customer services, a lot of companies these days have someone manning a company twitter profile, and will try to help. If I am feeling anxious, twitter can be an easy way for me to get help or advice, just use the right hashtags, and the internet is great. Just remember and don’t feed the trolls.

Facebook 🙄This is probably one of the most problematic sites on the internet. Mostly because some people go on it without having any kind of brain engagement. It’s good for articles, sometimes, the non-fake, click bait ones. The main reason I use Facebook is because of Messenger. Most of the people I know are within reach on Messenger, so that gets used, a lot. So it’s good for connecting with friends, which I think is what Mr Zuckerberg wanted when he started the site.

Instagram I like pictures. I like taking them and I like looking at them. And Instagram is one of the most popular photo sharing sites in the world. It’s a great way to find artistic inspiration, which is something I am ALWAYS in need of. Never been into the trendy make-up and stuff, which are hugely popular on the site. But, there are things for everyone on there, and there are communities which are great for help, like anxiety and weightloss help.

Goodreads I like books, always have done. And this site is great for keeping track on what you read, and giving yourself personal goals. Something I am not very good at. It is another service with a great community. If there is a particular book genre you like, join a group and get loads of new recommendations and even make new friends. A lot of authors also reach out to readers over Goodreads, which is great.

I decided to shorten my list to 5, as I really could go on for a bit. Other services include WordPress, Amazon, Xbox Live, Netflix, Crunchyroll, Spotify and livejournal. I could waste my whole life on these sites, but it wouldn’t feel like a waste. The internet allows me to view content I want, and that is a great thing.

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