Posted in MyStorys

Will finding out I am Bi-Polar change me?

Most people hear the term Bi Polar and think ‘crazy person’ but no person with a mental illness is crazy. They’re unwell, sick, ill. People break their leg, they get the flu or they are diagnosed with a disease and they get time off work. Why? because they are physically unable to do their jobs. Yet, when someone goes off work for a mental illness such as anxiety or depression, people look at you like you’re faking it, they look at you like it’s not a real reason to not be working like everyone else. When people are diagnosed with cancer, break a bone or come down with a serious illness, everyone rallies around them. They send cards and flowers, magazines, they wish them well. They write notes like ‘Get well soon’. When someone is diagnosed with a mental illness however, an overwhelming number of people don’t even bother to text or phone that person to see how they are, never mind visiting them or sending a cute card that tells them how much they are missed in the office. Why? Well, there could be a lot of reasons, like I said before, maybe some think they’re faking it, maybe some think its not that important, maybe some don’t believe that mental illnesses can’t possibly go undetected by the public because to have a mental illness you must look ‘ crazy’… right?

Wrong. Yes, there are a number of mental illness that show signs to the public everyday. For instance, Personality Disorders and some forms of Schizophrenia can be noticed by people that work with the person, people who see them regularly but most mental illnesses are hidden very well by the person who is suffering. Just because a person looks confident, doesn’t mean they don’t judge themselves or their actions in their heads. Just people a person smiles and laughs in front of you, doesn’t mean they don’t go home, close front door and cry for hours. Just because a person looks healthy, happy and content with life, doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about suicide and ‘ending it’.

A lot of people these days are more aware of mental illnesses, they respect that they exist, they don’t stop being friends with someone because they have an illness, they don’t always understand it but they try to. But, even with family, friends and professionals looking after you in different ways, you still feel alone. Like you’re the only one on your side on the battle field. They’re all behind you, ready to defend you and help you but you’re front and centre and you feel overwhelmed, alone, scared. You think you can’t take this other side on, it’s too much and for some people, they lose the battle. Those people shouldn’t be called cowards or selfish. It isn’t fair that people say things like ‘they just gave up’. No, they didn’t ‘just give up’ they fought hard and painfully everyday. They got up every morning and breathed and they tried with everything they had to stay, to get better, to feel better. Suicide isn’t something someone with a mental illness does because they want attention or because they’re a coward. It is something that is done because mental illnesses are painful and frustrating and are cruel diseases.It pushes us away from the ones we love and it can even push us to end our own lives. Mental illnesses aren’t something to be swept under the rug, they do not deserve the stigma and they shouldn’t be something someone is ashamed of.

I’ve written countless times about anxiety and depression. I’ve wrote about their effects and how to deal with anxiety attacks and how to ease depression. I’ve written about the stigma that mental illnesses still hold and how having a mental illness affected my life and friends. Things have changed and my diagnoses has changed. You see, here in the UK, we have the NHS which is a wonderful thing, we don’t HAVE to have insurance to have access to see a doctor or to get medication. Operations are provided to us at a NHS hospital for free and Medication is only paid for if you have a job and earn over a certain amount a year. But, one thing the NHS falls short on is waiting times. It being a public service, much like the police, it has a lot of clients. ‘Walk in’ centres were created to put an ease on hospitals and doctors practices but yet their waiting lists are months long. If you go into a hospital and get admitted to A&E, you wait an average of 3 hours on a normal day. You go the walk in and you wait an average of 1.5 hours, although I have waited 3 hours in one once. You want an appointment with the doctor and sometimes have to wait a whole week before getting an appointment. They ask you if its an emergency when you call the doctor, they say you need to go the hospital if you have taken pills or cut yourself, but what they don’t tell you is that when you get the hospital, unless you’re dying, it’s not an emergency. You’re placed in a waiting room, you are put on a list, at the bottom. Just like when you go on the mental health crisis team waiting list. Six months can go by before you even hear anything back. Six months could be too late, six months isn’t acceptable. But, what else can someone with an average wage each month afford? They can’t go private. They have to rely on the NHS.

I was 14 when I first went the an NHS centre over something more serious than a water infection. It was when I was raped. They have documented proof of what I went through, my words, my ‘evidence’. They bounced me from counsellor to counsellor, each one as disappointing and unhelpful as the last. I didn’t give up though, I went through many different services, all claiming to have ‘helped me all they can’ or stating ‘we cannot help this person, they need a different company’. Because I had been raped and abused, they wanted to me to go a specialists for that, because I was attempting and contemplating suicide they suggested someone else for that as well, because I presented with mild anxiety and moderate depression, they suggested yet another company. I was 17 when I gave up going the hospital when I hurt myself. Years of bouncing from one company to another had me angry and frustrated. I kept thinking to myself, why don’t any of these people want to help me? You go the doctors and they don’t even listen, they want to get you out the door as fast as you walked through it. They don’t really listen, they ask a few questions, write something down and tell you they’re going to refer you to another company – yet again. You go the hospital and they bandage you up and send you home. How is that helpful?

I have spent many years confused. Why do I act this way? Why don’t I feel a certain way all the time? Why doesn’t my illness line up with that of someone with anxiety and depression. Did I have severe depression and anxiety or was it a completely different illness. Under 18’s are barely ever given meds, but as soon as I hit 18 they had me on an anti-depressant, at 19 I was on a beta blocker. They didn’t do much, maybe the anti-depressant dosage wasn’t high enough, but it was only helping make part of me feel better. Had they spent more time with me when I was 14, 15, 16, 17 or 18 maybe they would have diagnosed with Bi Polar disorder, something that only this year  I found out I suffer with.

Bi Polar disorder. Makes sense I thought before I was officially examined and diagnosed. At first I felt happy. I felt like everything finally made sense. The mood changes, the depressive episodes and the mad episodes. They are called super depressive and mania. I could be flying high for days, go without sleep for over 24 hours, I could laugh uncontrollably and talk really fast, I could do things I wouldn’t normally do, I could be wreck less. Then I could crash, I could be scared, alone and angry, I could be fearful of the world and resent everyone. I could stay in bed all day and sleep. Then sometimes, in-between the sadness and the madness I could be ‘normal’, I call this my ‘content period’. A time in which I do not feel really depressed and suicidal but I don’t feel wide awake and ‘over the top’.  It all made sense, to me, my best friends and my mum. But, after I got the diagnosis I was all of a sudden ashamed. I didn’t want anyone to know. I was so open about my anxiety and depression because so many people suffered from it. People in the public eye like Zoe Sugg suffers with anxiety, suffering from something successful people suffered from made me feel like I wasn’t alone, it made me feel hopeful that I could some day do something that amazing with my life. I don’t know anyone in the public eye with Bi-Polar, either because there aren’t a lot of people with it or because they aren’t comfortable being open about it, either way this made me feel ashamed and alone all over again. I hide my pills so no one will see them and ask what they are and what I am taking them for. I don’t talk about it to people I know. I’ve become closed off again. I may have people surrounding me and supporting me but I feel all alone.

Most people who know me think this is who I am. Oh, it’s Shannon. She’s fun sometimes, other times not so much. They must just think its my personality or mood swings. They probably do think I am a little strange or different. But I don’t know who I am so how can I expect them to know who the real me is. I thought I had myself figured out. I thought I knew what I wanted and who I was. I thought I knew what I liked and didn’t like but I don’t anymore. I am questioning everything. Over the last few months I have questioned who I am, why did I choose the people that are in my life? Are they friends with me because they like the Shannon that isn’t really who I am or are they my friends because they see through that? I can’t see through it. I have been pushed, slapped, abused and spoke down too. I have been told I’m not good enough, I’ve walked down a hall with people looking at me as I pass and whispering about me when I have my back to them. I have had people call me every word imaginable. I was raped by my boyfriend, my first ever boyfriend. I was hit by my stepdad when I was 10 because he didn’t like the person I was/am. I live in a house with the mother I love with everything, but a stepdad who acts as if I am invisible. So, when people ask me if I have ‘built a wall’, you can surely bet on my answer being yes. After years of tear downs and mean words and abusive men I stopped caring. I stopped caring so much what men said to me or did. I still cry but every time someone hurts me, I get a thicker skin, a harder shell. I am all the clichés. I am the ‘tough nut to crack’. I’m seen as cold and vindictive and bitchy sometimes, because I don’t open up or because I close myself off. I don’t get excited with my friends about boys or going on holiday. I guess I always assume the boy is going to hurt them and that something bad is going to happen. I have become negative and tough on the outside but inside I don’t always feel like that. Sometimes it feels like an act. Sometimes a word or a name or an action can hurt like a punch to the stomach. I just act as if I am not the least bit bothered. So, who am I? If I get better on these meds, does that mean my personality changes? The person I have taught myself to be to the world, will that change? Will my laugh and smile go away? Most of the time, the only time I actually smile and laugh is when I am being manic. Will I not be the same person or will I stay the same? Mybe this is who I am, but it scares me. It’s hard to admit but it scares me to think about my future and the person I don’t know inside me.

I don’t like uncertainty. It’s one of the only things left that still scare me to death.


This a hard post for my to share, sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes. I have only done one re-read. The issues talked about in this post are upsetting to me and posting this post makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. However, I know other people suffer with similar illnesses and even know this post doesn’t offer any advice only my opinion and experience, it could still help other people, that and the fact I needed to get some things off my chest is why this post is public.

Shannon x

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Posted in Advice♥, Slimming World

Low Syn Snacks & Treats – Slimming World.

Since starting a diet in March I have lost two stone. I didn’t do it by not eating enough, or onlt eating fruit or not eating carbs. I did it by joining a group, one that didn’t tell me to cut major food groups out of my diet, they never tell you that you can’t have something, they simply advise you on what’s better for you and informing you on what you can eat instead of something full of calories. I thought when I started Slimming World that takeaways, treats and carbs would be wiped off the table and that I would be shouted at for even thinking about pasta or a portion of chips and curry from the chippy. I was wrong. Once a week I go to a group near me with other people who are there for the same reason as I – to lose weight the healthy way. You’re given a booklet full of information when you start, including a book that informs you on most of the food you eat on a daily basis. There are multiple sections in this book. One section tells you what fruit and veg are ‘speed’ (helps you lose weight faster), another part of the book tell you what ‘A’ and ‘B’ choices you can have each day ( I normally got for 30g cheese for my A choice and 2 pieces of Hovis 400g bread). Then there is a section in the back full of ‘syns’. Syns are things that have a high calorie count. For instance, chocolate has syns in, as well as sausages. It is recommended that you have no more then 15 syns a day if you want to lose weight, not gain. You also have a section full of ‘free’ food. Like, rice, pasta, potatos etc. So, for instance you ate a jacket potato with butter and cheese for your dinner, the potato is free, if you only use 30g cheese, that’s your A choice and for 1 teaspoon of LIGHT butter, it’s 2 syns. You can skip the butter for a syn free meal or simply minus 2 syns from your daily allowance of syns. It’s easy to follow and after a few weeks of referring back to the book and online site, which you are given a pin to when you gain, you will be able to remember the syn count for most basic foods, like butter, mayonnaise and a packet of maltsters. Some treats have more syns in than others and over the last few months I have brought together a list of snacks and treats that are low in syn but that I still really enjoy, they take away the cravings I have and stop me from binge eating and undoing all the work I have done up to now.

This is my list of low syn treats and snacks! Let me know in the comments about your favourite low syn snacks and treats.

Meringues

Possibly one of my favourite treats to have when I feel I need a little treat on a Monday evening.

Syn Count – 2 syns per nest.

Price – £1.25 at ASDA (Extra Special, 8 nests)

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Sugar Free Strawberry Jelly Sachets

I love these because they are cheap and very low in syns. There are 2 sachets in each pack and they make a lot of jelly then the premade pots you can buy, yet have the same amount of syns.

Syn Count – 1/2 per sachet.

Price – 74p at ASDA

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French Fries (Crisp)

These have always been one of my favourite crisps and luckily they aren’t the highest in syns compared to other crisps

Syn Count – 4.5 per packet.

Price – £1.45 for 6 packets at Asda.

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Cadburys Highlights (sachets, 11g)

Sometimes I get fed up with drinking tea, or diet soda and want a cup of hot chocolate. These 11g sachets are the perfect treat.

Syn Count – 2 per sachet (with water)

Price – 4 sachets for £1 at ASDA

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Fab (Lolly Ice)

Thank god there is a lolly ice out there that is easy to get a hold of and cheap. Everyone wants to enjoy a lolly ice at the beach or park with the kids on a hot day, so luckily this fab lolly ice doesn’t go over your daily syn count!

Syn Count – 4 per lolly 

Price – £1 for a box of 6 at ASDA (the birthday cake edition is about 25p more and weirdly half a syn less at 3.5 syns)

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Nutella 

I don’t know a person who doesn’t like Nutella. I mean, there must be people out there who don’t like the chocolate spread, but they’re rear. Nutella isn’t the lowest in syns but 1 tablespoon on toast or straight from the spoon is the same amount of syns as the FAB lollies and will settle your chocolate cravings.

Syn Count – 4 per tablespoon (1.5 for teaspoon) 

Price – £1.50 for 200g at ASDA 

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Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is something I only ever eat when put into something, like my peanut butter cupcakes which are NOT slimming world acceptable. Lets just say they’re only made for special occasions as a whole tub of peanut butter goes into 24 cupcakes. But, my mum does like peanut butter and like Nutella, if she is craving some will have a tablespoon on her B choice for the day.

Syn Count – 4.5 syns for 1 tablespoon (1.5 syns for 1 teaspoon)

Price – £2.58 for 340g at ASDA (the whole earth one, asda own is about 95p for 400g) 

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Aero Mouse Yogurt/Dessert

These are great for a low syn dessert or treat during the day. They are cheap and easy.

Syn Count – 4.5 syns per yogurt (59g pot)

Price – £1.40 for 4 at ASDA 

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Snack a Jacks (Caramel)

These are one of the lower syned treats on here. They are again cheap for the amount you get and you can have a few of these for the same amount of syns at are in a packet of crisp.

Syn Counts – 2.5 for each 

Price – £1.79 per packet at ASDA

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These are my picks, if you want a part two let me know below. What are your favourites? Are you also on Slimming World. Comment below or tweet me @lifeasshanx

 

Shannon x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

ALL ABOUT MY TV SHOWS TAG

 

I saw this tag going around on various bloggers sites so I thought I would do my own version of it. I have the 10 questions on the original tag and have added 5 of my own to it. I do not know who created this tag so I am giving credit to www.drizzleandhurricanbook.com as it was their site I got the idea to do this tag!

So, I don’t feel like I really need to say anymore about what this tag is. Let me know your answers are in the comments or on your own blog and tag me in them on twitter so I can see what your answers are! @lifeasshanx

 

Favourite/ Best Quote 

Anything from one tree hill, all their quotes are worth hearing and taking something from. Here is a bigger list of my favourite one tree hill quotes! There are too many to put here.  ttps://www.theodysseyonline.com/23-one-tree-hill-quotes-to-live-by

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First TV Show You Watched

I don’t remember the first TV show I watched but I do remember my first favourite show and that was Friends.

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All Time Favourite TV Show

This is one that changes a lot actually, At this current minute, it is Bones. I only started watching this show last year, but ended up buying every season on DVD and whenever I need a distraction this show goes on.


Your Character Crush 

NATHAN SCOTT.

Nothing else needs to be said


Favourite OTP

Speaking of Nathan Scott, my favourite OTP is Nathan Scott and Haley James from One Tree Hill. Actually I have to also add Dr Brennan and Agent Booth from Bones. I can’t pick just one!


Most Disappointing Ending/Cancellation

There are lots of shows that I didn’t want to end – Revenge, Bones and 2 Broke Girls to name a few but The Secret Circle was probably the most annoying cancellation out there. The acting was good, the storyline/plot was interesting and the quality was more then good enough, so why didn’t a show that left off on a massive cliff hanger get a season 2 or movie to wrap things up? I loved the books, I even read the 3 that came out in 2012/2013 that weren’t written by the original author but I was so annoyed by this cancellation, as you can tell 6 years on I am still bitter.

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A Show You Would Like To Be On

Easy, Gilmore Girls and for two reasons. One, I want to live in Stars Hollow and two, I want a Lorelai Gilmore in my life!


A Character You’d Love To Take Out On A Date 

Do I have to say it again? Nathan Royal Scott, anyday…

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A Popular TV Show You Can’t Stand

I don’t care how many times this show is pushed on to me, I will never like it. It will never beat Buffy The Vampire Slayer, never. Sorry, but the show I can’t stand is The Vampire Dairies 

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A Scene That Made You Cry

When Lance died on Bones, I cried that whole episode to be honest.


A Character With A Killer Wardrobe 

Yes, these styles are from 1994 but I loved Rachel Green’s style in the early seasons. They were cute and I would wear them today!

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Favourite Friendship 

It’s hard to find a loyal friend in real life, but I love these women because they support each over and don’t judge eachover even though they are different. Again I don’t just have one. Max and Caroline – 2 Broke Girls. Angela and Brennan – Bones. Brooke and Haley – One Tree Hill. Monica and Rachel – Friends.


A Show That Everyone Should Watch

I can’t tell you how much I love this show. Maybe it’s because I relate so much to Callie or maybe because of its amazing portrayal of ongoing issues in the world. From LGBT rights, The foster care system to family. Its a show everyone should be watching. The Fosters!

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A Show That Makes You Laugh Every Time

Brooklyn nine nine has the ability to make me smile and laugh everytime I rewatch it!

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A Show With The Best Music 

One Tree Hill wins this. Fair and Square. The One Tree Hill soundtrack has songs for every mood and I have found so many new bands from this show that I still love today! They always find the perfect song to fit the scene.

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This is just a small insight into my favourite TV shows, they’re are plently of other shows that I watch that aren’t on this list like

  • Law & Order : SVU
  • Chicago PD, Chicago Fire and Chicago Med
  • Criminal Minds
  • The Middle
  • Modern Family
  • Riverdale
  • NCIS
  • Bull
  • Pretty Little Lairs
  • Switched at Birth

Okay, there are to many to name…

Do you agree with my choices? Let me know below!


Shannon x

Posted in MyStorys, Uncategorized

Best Episodes Of One Tree Hill

It’s a magical place, son. I’ve seen that magic in your eyes for the past nine years. There’s only one Tree Hill, Jamie Scott. And it’s your home.”

There are plenty of good shows out there, shows that make us laugh, make us cry, make us think, make us change what we believe in but One Tree Hill did all of those things. A show that started about two brothers brought up very differently turned into a show that would set the standards high for any future shows. To choose the best episode or season would be impossible because there are so many episodes that scream out at me for being important in their own way. There are so many reasons why this show is special, how it’s different. This was the show that changed my outlook on life, the way I thought about life and ambitions and dreams, family and friends, love and heartache. The storylines were interesting and drama filled, the characters relatable and full of depth but what made this show stand out was the music, the show centres around music, the music helps the scene, it tells a story all by its self.

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(Left to right) – Haley, Nathan, Jake, Peyton, Lucas, Brooke.

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Like I said its impossible to name ONE favourite episode, so I’m going to name ALL my favourite episodes.

Season 3 Episode 16 –

With tired eyes, tired minds, tired souls, we slept.

This episode gave us a wake up call that not everything  ‘turns out okay in the end’ when two people don’t make it out of Tree Hill High School alive. This episode makes it on to this list for multiple reasons. The first being the amazing acting done in this episode done by Colin Fickes (Jimmy Edwards), Craig Sheffer (Keith Scott), Bethany Joy Lenz ( Haley James Scott, James Lafferty (Nathan Scott), Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis), Chad Michael Murray (Lucas Scott), Hilarie Burton (Peyton Sawyer) and the rest of the cast of the season 3 episode. The tragic and anger ridden ending we were given left me speechless. From this day on, Dan Scott was nothing but an evil man in my eyes, someone who made your blood boil, someone who didn’t deserve the forgiveness he so much wanted.

Season 3 Episode 22 –

The Show Must Go On.

Something I wanted to see all through season three was Nathan and Haley rekindle their relationship, so this episode was meant to be all smiles and happy tears but instead of ending the season with Nathan and Haley leaving for their honeymoon to London, we get a car plummeting off a bridge into the river below with Nathan’s uncle and Rachel inside. The screams from Haley ended the season. Oh, and we find out Karen is pregnant and someone else.

Season 4 Episode 09 –

Some You Give Away.

This is probably one of my favourite episodes from the whole series, I don’t really know why, whenever they focus around the basket ball games and all the main characters are together, it makes me a littler happier. This episode makes me happy but it also made my bring up my hands to cover my mouth in shock. This episode, to me, sees all these characters looking into the future and the past. Haley is pregnant with Nathans child, they’re her future. Nathan is going to be father and is about to lose one of his other loves – basketball. Luca’s doesn’t think about the future when he doesn’t take his meds and Skillz is looking at impressing scouts for college. This episode is about the future and how what you do today can affect your future.

Season 4 Episode 17 –

It gets worse at night

Something a little uplifting. After Nathan and Haley’s not so romantic prom (pregnant with a healing broken leg) and Brooke and Peyton’s Prom of Horror (Pysco Derek), they all needed( and us honestly) a break away from Tree Hill, so what better place to save Mouth and crash a Prom then Honey Grove, Texas. Oh and Chris Keller is joining them. of course.

Season 7 Episode 22

Almost everything I wish I’d said the last time I saw you.

As you can tell, I like an episode when all the main characters are together. I loved how they ended this episode, well not the shooting 2 people part, the Haley part. The season had been hard on Haley, losing her mother and seeing her go through those stages of depression was relatable and made me love Haley so much more and I loved the way she found her way back. Depression doesn’t take a day to heal, I loved that they didn’t condense her depression into one episode, but I was glad she was finally healing at the end of this episode. Lot’s of amazingly cute things also happened in this episode, proposals and pregnancies!

Season 8 Episode 11

Darkness on the Edge of Town

This episode made me cry, I actually thought we had lost Brooke Davis and I was crying for Julien and for myself because she was one of the best female leads in this show, but luckily, she doesn’t die and it became one of the best, albeit upsetting episodes of one tree hill.

Season 8 Episode 13 –

The other half of me

Finally. That is all I can say about this episode. We watched Brooke Davis get cheated on by her high school boyfriend Lucas with her best friend, she was brought up in a family that didn’t seem to care much about her and was attacked, twice. She was told she couldn’t have kids and she had her heart broken a few times. She lost Sam, she didn’t even get to meet the baby she was going to adopt, so when Brooke Davis got marred in season 8, I thought, finally the girl gets some happiness. Finally.

Season 8 Episode 18

Quite little voices

Season 8 was full of memorable episodes, this one being one. With flash backs of Naleys past, we see them about to welcome a second baby into the Scott family, everyone is excited and happy for them, but Brooke’s heart is breaking again after she finds out, she isn’t going to be a mother…yet.

Season 9 Episode 10

Hardcore will never die, but you will.

Nathan is rescued, thank god. But his dad has been shot. Chris Keller is there, of course and this is probably one of the only times that I liked Dan Scott. And quick question… why did they have to bring back the disgusting man that attacked Brooke!

Season 9 Episode 13

One Tree Hill

Come on, I had to mention the last ever episode of One Tree Hill. This episode made me happy, from start to finish. The flashbacks, the music, the words. Not many shows get that great ending, but this one did and when I ended One Tree Hill, I didn’t know what to do next, it had become such a massive part of who I was. I loved this show, not just because of the music or the characters but for the storylines and plots, for everything really.

 


Quick Q & A

Favourite Character – Brooke Davis

Favourite Couple – Nathan Scott and Haley James Scott ‘NALEY’

Favourite Friendship – Brooke Davis and Haley James Scott

Hated at first but grew to love – Alex Dupre

Favourite season – Seasons 3 and 8

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Posted in Uncategorized

Intimacy, Sex, and Freedom

The Boys I Encounter

I’m about a week late on this. A year and some odd days ago, I started The Boys I Encounter. First and foremost, thank you to all of my followers. You have liked and commented and supported my blog, and I am grateful you have been there every step and through my ups and downs. I know that sometimes I go weeks without posting and sometimes I post every day for several days straight. Very inconsistent, but that’s life.

A little over a year ago, I opened my blog with my Introduction and quick follow up to declare I’m Taking a Break from Boys. What sparked this urge to write a one year post was actually a boy I was just beginning to forget. This boy is Sexy Six Pack Boy, he re-added me on snapchat today and I realized it has been just over a year since I…

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Posted in Advice♥, MyStorys

10 things I wish I knew at 15

Being 15 is hard. You’re dealing with feelings you’re not yet used to having every day, you are dealing with fake friends and first love.

There are things I wish I knew at 15, if you’re 15 or nearly 15, you should know these things as well.

  1. You won’t be friends with 95% of these people when you leave, so whether you’re ‘popular’ or not, it doesn’t matter. In 5 years you won’t even remember their second names.
  2. The exam results/grades your teachers are pressuring you to get aren’t the most important thing in the world – your health is. Teacher’s say things like ‘ these tests will define your future’ but they don’t and they won’t. You’ll define your future. You have your whole life to learn.
  3. You’ll say and do things you regret. Don’t feel bad, everyone makes mistakes, all you need to remember is to learn from them.
  4. It hurts now, but it won’t forever. The person you like doesn’t like you back, your girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you, your best friend hurt you. They feel like the worst kind of pain when you’re 15 and it’s all new to you but you won’t feel like that forever. Give it time.
  5. It’s okay to say no. It’s high school and all your friends are going to parties, getting high, drinking and having sex. You aren’t any less of a person for saying no, you aren’t any less fun for not wanting to do something. Even if its as small as your boyfriend not wanting to wear a condom, if you don’t want to put yourself at risk of STDs and pregnancy but he does, say NO. It’s your right and you shouldn’t feel bad about saying the word NO.
  6. But its okay to say yes. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to wear something, wear it. If you want to say something, say it. Do what feels right to you and don’t let other peoples small minds keep you from being who you are.
  7. Don’t stand for bullies or anyone who knocks you down. If a friend is bringing you down, leave that negative person, tell them to get out of your life. High school is hard enough, you need people who support you, make you laugh and understand you in your life. Don’t let anyone make you feel worthless.
  8. Respect your family. They have their rules and you’re probably going to break them, that’s what being a teenager is all about BUT respect your mum and dad. I lost my dad at 15 and I will always feel guilty for the argument we had a few months before he got sick. Help them, let them know you’re okay, tell them you love them.
  9. Enjoy yourself. You’re only a teenager for a couple of years, soon you’ll be doing exams and picking a collage and being pressured to pick a career path but right now, you don’t need to worry about that.
  10. Smile, laugh, work hard and be hopeful. You’ll be older soon, you’ll be out of high school soon. You’ll be away from the people you don’t like, the bullies and the cliques. You will be an adult soon and it comes around faster then you would expect.
Posted in Uncategorized

A new start.

Over the last couple of years I have become more involved in world issues and one thing I can say I am is a feminist. The word feminist isn’t a bad word. Feminism is about equality and demanding equal rights. Everyone deserves the right, women, men, people from different ethnic backgrounds, different walks of life. Everyone deserves equality. Over the last two months I have started talking to new people, people online who also support the same causes that I do, who share the same beliefs. It’s empowering to talk to women like myself, who have been through the same things as me and understand and support the same organisations.

I had a friend who wasn’t as active in this community and we fought all the same, we didn’t see eye to eye, we weren’t good friends anymore. Old arguments and history are always thrown in my face, the person I was back then is always brought up. I can’t have a friend who does such immature things to ‘fire back’ while arguing. I can’t have a friend that judges me or any other women based on her sex life, dating preference or style choices. I never judged her for not doing something or doing something, yet she always did it to me. I was disgusted by the things she said to me last night, it sparked me to right a blog post about it. Out of all the things she has ever said to me – which I normally let go over my head, because maybe she doesn’t know what she’s saying or doesn’t realise how nasty is sounded to me, what she said was unforgiveable to me and that’s why I am writing this blog post. I decided its time to move on from old friends. Fair enough she doesn’t believe in the things I do, maybe it was her sheltered upbringing with a catholic family, maybe its just who she is but its not who I am, not anymore. I don’t know how we ever were close friends. Our upbringings and beliefs are completely different and its only occurred to me these last few months (since our June holiday) that we are nothing alike. I’m done babying her. I’m done letting her make snide, little comments to my face and talking about me behind my back, which she never realised I knew about. I have to let go, its not the only friendship I have had to let go of this year. It won’t be the last. I’m not hurt or bothered that we aren’t friends. I’m just pissed she said those disgusting things about her ‘friend’.

This post isn’t about slating someone, or I would have name and shamed. I blog to express my feelings and I needed to express my feelings. I can’t have friends who don’t support me. I need friends like myself. I didn’t tell her about the friends I had meet who share the same interests with me because she would just judge that as well. Some people empower you, others don’t. Be around people who support you. Don’t put up with their shit, not even for a little bit. You’ll always find friends who are like you, you just have to go out and look for them like I did, you’ll realise then how little you actually need the ones who bring you down.

Don’t put up with it. Just don’t.

Posted in Uncategorized

The closure I didn’t end up needing

Closure is a funny thing, sometimes we need it, sometimes we don’t. But what I know now is that we don’t always get it straight away. Not everything in life can simply placed in a box and have a perfectly tied bow around it. Life is messy and not everything that ends is done so cleanly. Pain, anger and confusion are normally involved. We spend a lot of time trying not to hurt the people we care about, we may tell white lies when breaking up with someone, we ‘let me down’ easy, but is that really the humane way of doing it? We tell them it’s not them or we just don’t feel the same way, we try and make them feel better when all they want is the truth. The old saying applies – ‘The truth will set you free’ and I believe that. Yes, the truth is sometimes messy and doesn’t always involve a perfectly wrapped box with a bow on top. It can end in screaming and crying, but it’s the truth and in the end, the truth is all you can give someone sometimes. Someone can never get closure without it. We avoid it though, by making up lies and saying cliché sayings like ‘we can still be friends, right?’ No-one wants to hear that, they want the truth. Why is it so hard to give someone that? We don’t want to hurt them, fair enough. But what’s hurting them is not knowing the truth, not knowing why. They don’t know who or what the reason for you walking away is. You must care about them if you don’t want them to get hurt, so consider this, by not telling someone why or what or who you are prolonging the pain, making it harder for them to get back to ‘normal’, harder for them to move on. I guess it’s only those with a conscience that care when they hurt someone.

The person whom I wanted my closure from, never really cared back then. This year though, I got that closure. I don’t think he ever expected me to get it but I did. I’ve wrote about him a dozen times on this blog, mainly because since the start of this blog, he’s been in my life. He’s the reason this blog exists. The pain and confusion was something I was used to writing about and over the years my feelings for him have ranged from anger, to pain, to confusion, to thinking I was over him to still being in pain. He’s the reason I have trust issues with men. If he could up and leave, anyone could. Right? I don’t get close to people, I just don’t want to get hurt again. It hurt a lot. To much. But despite all of that, I managed to get through it. I managed to work through a lot of pain and anger to a point were I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care what he did, where he was or who he was with. I just couldn’t care less. Some would say that was my closure, that’s true. But what felt like the real closure was seeing him again. It was self inflicted and 100% worth it.

Seeing him again triggered something that was lying low in my mind. I don’t have prove of course and my analysis is purely conjecture but, I recently found out I deal with a disorder called Bi-polar an illness that consists of episodes of mania and super depressive states. This is something I have had many years, however it can get worse after being triggered. It could be down to genes, it could be my environment or it could be down to an abusive past and or lose of a family member. I lost my dad and was abused by 2 different people. I may never know why I have this disorder, but that doesn’t matter because know I have a reason for my moods. I know why I feel this way know. Through therapy and meds I can start to get better.

But going back to what I was saying, I think he was a trigger. It heightened my illness to a point I could no longer deal and I had to get professional help. I guess I have him to thank for that. Or myself, as it was self inflicted like I said. When I saw him again I wasn’t nervous or scared. I didn’t care about looking my best or being nice to him. I was me, the girl I have been for years now. A little broken but still smiling. When he left I didn’t get the urge to message him, I messaged him but I didn’t wait for a response and I wasn’t excited when I got a reply. It was the past for me and I know I’ve said it a lot but I didn’t have any interest in him, as cruel as it sounds. But it’s not like he cared about what had gone on in my life. It wasn’t like I was a bitch when he was being nice. He was being himself, for the most part. He didn’t ask much, so neither did I. He wouldn’t know the name of my ex boyfriend, he wouldn’t know my favourite band or who my friends are. He wouldn’t know who I have a crush on or even that I write a blog. All things my friends know, he was shocked when I said we weren’t friends, but how can two people, so different be friends? How can I trust him again? How could I ever let him in again? I couldn’t. I think that’s what gave me closure in the end. That exact thing I just said, the end. It was the end. The end of a friendship, the end of the hook ups, the end of us.

I’ve said it before, said I am over it, that I don’t feel for him anymore and I was lying, but so much has happened these last few months, life changing events that will shape who I become in the future. A better, happier, healthier person I hope. The questions you have to ask your self are

Does he care about you? Does he love you? No? Leave him in the past.

Do you see him as a boyfriend, friend or someone close to you in the future? No? Leave him in the past.

It’s normal to feel hurt, its normal to hate them, its normal to not hate them. It’s okay to still love them, it’s okay to still care, give yourself the time to get over them. They may have been your best friend or your boyfriend but it will hurt less and less, just like when you lose a loved one. It won’t happen in a day, it doesn’t work like that. But it’ll happen.

Learn more about Bi Polar Disorder here! – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/bipolar-disorder/#.WX-cirpFxzk

Find out more about Mental Health and the link with abuse(disclaimer- this blog post was not written about someone who abused me, this is simply a helpful link) – http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/other/abuse

 

As normal, let me know what you want to read next on twitter @lifeasshanx or Instagram @lifeasshanx

Shannon x

Posted in reviews

After The Fire

*SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW* 

As part of the Zoella Book club this year, I ordered the bundle, which included all 8 books featured in the book club this year. One of those books was After The Fire. Out of all the books in the bundle, I wasn’t excepting to like After The Fire so much, as it is not normally my kind of book.

The book is about a young woman named Moonbean, she has grown up in a compound and raised mainly by her ‘brothers and sisters’ as her mother was banished years earlier. The compound is ran by a preacher by the name of Father John, a man who preaches the bible to get his own way and pretends he is the voice for God, on earth. The book flips from after the fire and before the fire, giving us massive insights into the life behind the fences before the fire. We learn about Moonbeans mother, her relationship with Luke and Nate. Through therapy, after the fire, Moonbean talks about what happened to people who didn’t follow the rules of Father John and why they were not allowed contact with the outside world. Throughout the ‘before’ sections of the book, we see Moonbeans faith start to shake, she starts believing other things other the in God and Father John. In the after sections we see her become stronger, shutting down the screaming words and preaches of Father John that are engraved into her mind.

One sign that I am enjoying a book, is that it’s never out of my hands. When I put the book down to do something else, I am excited to continue reading the story to see what happens next. I couldn’t put this book down, I just kept wanting to go back to it every time I had something else that needed to be done. I was drawn in after the first paragraph. If a book I didn’t think I would enjoy as it’s not the normal book genre I am interested in, I was given a nice surprise, I enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed this book. So much so that I want to read more written by Will Hill and more books based on the things highlighted in this book.


At the end of the book there are a set of discussion questions about the book, I thought this was a nice touch to the end of the book and I thought I would answer them here, as part of my review of this book.

Father John is able to exert control over the members of the Lord’s Legion through both psychological and physical methods. Pick out some of the methods he uses and discuss why or how you think they were effective. 

Father John used both of these methods to his full advantage. Through using both of these kinds of methods he had control of everyone in the compound, they feared him and that is exactly what he wanted these methods to accomplish. I think one of the scariest punishments that was both physical abusive as well as psychological was the box. People feared going into the box, with good reason. The box was described by Moonbean as a metal box in the middle of the Texas dessert. It was insanely hot in the day time and freezing cold when the sun went down. You are left with the basics to survive and even if you do, just like in Shanti’s case, was surviving even worth it? Left with no light, just enough water and bread, you baked during the day in the steaming hot metal box and froze during the night. That is physical abuse. Leaving someone in a box with no contact with other people, alone. That is psychological abuse. This man knew what he was doing in terms of keeping people in line. Even if you thought something you were not supposed to, you hate yourself as that’s heresy. If you said or done something Father John seemed ‘unsavoury’ you’d be punished, be beating or by the box or by starvation.

Is it possible to feel empathy towards Luke, or understand his actions? Why or why not?

Some will say yes to this question, others no. I think it’s entirely possible to feel empathy for him and maybe understand his actions BUT that does not make it okay or right. You could say he was scared and that is why he was the way he was, but throughout the book, even in group sessions after the fire, you can see that there is no changing his beliefs, he was brainwashed and I did not see a way out of him even before he killed himself. Killing himself seemed quite fitting for him, it made sense somewhat, except that suicide was a sin, but then again this wasn’t normal people being taught the word of the bible, it was a man twisting a whole religion to get what he wanted, control and power. I think Luke didn’t have a chance. He grow up on the base, he knew no other life. He did not know what it was really like to live a life not shadowed with fear and punishment for even thinking something you shouldn’t. As a child, he had no parents, not even knowing if his parents were still on the base, or whether they had left must have been extremely frustrating, confusing and painful. He looked up to Father John, the was the only father figure that Luke knew all through his childhood and adolescent years. He looked at Father John like his father, he believed every word that Father John preached, he would never believe that Father John was never a true believer or that he was a fraud because for his whole like he had looked up this man and believed he was the voice of God. This makes me feel sorry for him, he believed this man, a man that told him if he did everything for God, he would ascend and life a happy afterlife. I understand his actions because he had a sheltered life in a compound that preached all sorts of nonsense, he had no contact with the outside world, he was brought up in a world that was surrounded by fear and devotion to one person, Father John. I do not accept his actions nor would I ever forgive someone for those actions but you can understand why was the way he was and his story does make you feel for him.

As Will states in his author note, this novel is not meant as an attack on Christianity, but instead an exploration of power, and how power can corrupt. Would you consider the doctrine that Father John uses a type of ‘religion’? Do you think Father John ever believes his own creed? 

I don’t this book has anything to do with a real religion of any sorts. Father John simply picked Christianity and exploited the religion for his own personal gain. When we talk about religious cults or terrorism, we aren’t talking about the real religion we are talking about extremists, plain and simple. What Father John preached within the compound was not the Christian faith. Now, I am an atheist, I do not believe. But that does not mean I do not see what Father Johns intentions are, I know enough about religion to say that what he taught, wasn’t the true teachings of the bible. Religion shouldn’t be about fear, it should be about a group of people who have the same faith coming together and being united as a group. Father John simply choose a religion to exploit, he used to words in the bible and twisted them to suit his own needs. He took extracts and flipped their meaning, he used fear as a way of controlling people. When Luke kills himself so he can ascend, it is made clear to me that Father John did not preach the true words of the bible as Suicide is a sin and an a sin won’t send you to heaven. Again, I do not believe in any of this as an atheist but true Christians do, so why didn’t Luke? Was he simply lost and confused on the teachings of the bible? Or, which is more likely, did Father John not preach to this followers that suicide was a sin? Did he tell them in an honourable way to ascend? Father John, in my eyes, was not a believer in what he was preaching, by believing what he was saying would mean he wasn’t in power and the things he said were out of his hands. He told his followers that the things he told them were from God, but truly that cannot be true, because a man who needs to be in control, he would feel powerless, if God was I fact in charge. I believe that most of his followers believed in God, they believed he was true and that he spoke to God. Some on the other hands were probably there out of sheer fear, fear that they wouldn’t ascend or they simply just feared Father John. No, Father John did not believe his own creed, he was a criminal, a fraud who was playing another angle, one that lead him to a compound were he could and did have all the power and control he wanted and craved. By believing his own creed, he’d the power and if he didn’t have the power, the control would go away as well.


Quick Q&A – 

Favourite Character – Moonbean

Favourite Quote – What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

Most shocking part – When we found out Nate was dead and that Moonbean killed Father John( I thought he was the one to light the fire).

Best part – When Moonbean finally told the whole story – she could finally be free of any guilt and could try and get her life back together.


It wasn’t until the end of the book that I realised that Will Hill based his book on the ‘Branch Davidians and the Waco siege in 1993. After reading about the American cult and what happened during the 51 day stand off with agencies like the FBI, it makes more sense. Although the book doesn’t talk about any 51 day stand off, it talks about a fire, in which the cause is unknown, in the book it is Luke who sets the church on fire and Moonbean who kills their leader. The book also mentions the weapons, which was the reason the raid took place. I think Will Hill did an amazing job at writing this book, it is hard to write something about a religious cult and make it not an attack on a religion.

What are your views on this book? Did you like Moonbean’s recovery? What did you think about Father Johns intentions? Did you have empathy toward Luke?

Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter – @lifeasshanx #AfterTheFire

Shannon x

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Women; It's safe here.

It’s a period, get the fuck over it.

We are told to conceal our tampons under our sleeve while we walk to the bathroom. We are told not to talk about our periods, because we don’t want anyone to know we are on our period. We are told to say its a headache when are questioned about taking painkillers. Basically, we are told to act as if periods don’t exist. Well, I’m here to talk about why that is the completely wrong way to go.

It’s natural, I know that, hopefully you do to. You need to have a period to grow, to become a woman. So, why are we brought up to believe and think periods are disgusting and something to be ashamed of? I bleed once a month, sometimes ALOT, why is that such a big deal?

I don’t understand why a period is seen as ‘dirty’ and something a woman should shame. Where did that come from? Who was it that decided they were going to shame a woman for something completely natural and out of her control? Without periods a woman wouldn’t be able to have a child, they wouldn’t be able to ‘grow’ into woman.

Yesterday, much to my anger and shock, I received a message on snapchat from a male(whom is in his 20’s and is living with his girlfriend and her children) saying ‘Do you have to put stuff up on your story about your period’. Now, the post I put on my snapchat story was a black screen with the text ‘Period pains are killing me’, there was no image and no Emojis, just words, saying that my period pains were really hurting me. This ‘man child’ decided to message me because he was disgusted and offended that I put this on my story, now I didn’t know what to say to this message at first because I was shocked and a little pissed off to be honest. This isn’t the first time I have had a male( whom is either a friend or family member) message me TELLING me to take something down on social media. I once had an image of my legs in the bath on snapchat, now this was a racy image, everything was covered you could just see some skin from my legs under the bubbles, I was TOLD to take this picture down, I didn’t of course. I was once told I shouldn’t wear a dress that revealed my chest because ‘You look a bit like a slut’. Oh, you think I look like a slut? Well, you sound like an asshole so do me a favour and fuck off. What is it with some men thinking that can instruct me on what to wear and what I should and should not be posting on social media. What I post, as long as it doesn’t affect anyone(and by affect I mean it doesn’t hurt someone) I don’t see how its any of their business.

I don’t care if you’re my best friend, my boyfriend or a family member, I am a grown woman and I will say what I like, wear what I feel comfortable and good in and do what I please and as long as I’m not hurting anyone I don’t see why you feel your input on my life choices actually matters.

Just a word for the wise, don’t tell a grown woman what she should and shouldn’t be wearing, its her live, not yours, she’ll decide for herself, she’s more then capable of making her own life choices.

(By the way I told that lad were to go when he messaged me about my periods, I love the delete button!)

Shannon x