10 things I have learnt in my second year at university

Here is what I have learnt in my second year at university:

1. It is up to you what you take from the set readings and research – if a section does not feel relevant to your angle, skip it over! The readings are full of so much detail that you should only read what interests you, the rest will feel like a waste of time. You decide what you want to take away from your degree, and that doesn’t have to be every detail. You will kill yourself trying to remember everything.

2. Your real friends will not stop being your friends just because you don’t see each other as much. It will always be the same when you see them, no matter how long it has been. Your real friends will also support you, whether your decisions are stupid or not (though they might recommend against sending certain messages, but you’ll do it anyway). And they’ll be there to help you pick up the pieces when it all falls apart.

3. You need to do a weekly shop and actually cook for yourself. You cannot live off Deliveroo and Dominos. Go on BBC Good Food, get a cookbook, cook with your mates – just bloody cook!! You don’t have the money to order food every day. (I’m still working on this one)

4. Despite how hard they can be, long distance relationships are so worth it for the right person.

5. Hoover your room, make your bed, clean your desk – you will feel as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

6. Wake up in the morning, even if you don’t have a lecture. Don’t sleep in every day until 12, you lose half the day which could be spent doing productive things.

7. It’s okay to have some days when you can’t get out of bed though. Wallow in those days so that the next day you wake up ready to start again. Watch Disney films, get your friends over, acknowledge the feeling and address it.

8. You don’t need to go out in order to have fun. I’ve had my best nights this year at home, laughing with friends. Going out is great once in a while but you’re getting old and you can’t handle the sesh like you used to.

9. Tell your friends you love them. Tell them you’re thankful to have them, tell them how much they’ve improved your life, because who doesn’t want to hear how happy they make someone?

10. Look after yourself. Shower. Brush your teeth. Do your make up. Style your hair. Get at least 8 hours sleep. Love yourself. Nap. Go outside. Exercise. Just remember to keep living for yourself, do what makes you happy. You are the one thing in life that you can control, so take control of your life and live it well.

It’s my name for a reason…

I am content. So content. And when I’m with my friends, I am happy. When I am with my boyfriend, I am happy. When I am with my family, I am happy. I am able to feel happy and it has taken me a while to recognise that. One of the questions my doctor asks me at my check ups is ‘Are you able to enjoy things to their full extent?’ and historically my answer was NO WAY. I couldn’t. I hadn’t learnt how to cope with the ‘bad brain’ and it would frequently get in the way during sixth form and my first term of university. But I have grown with my illness I suppose, by that I mean I have learnt how to live with it (and my medication is definitely at the right level at the moment). I understand myself a lot better now than I did a year and a half ago when I started university, which obviously is a natural part of growing up; but when you’re figuring yourself out whilst coping with mental health problems… I just couldn’t recognise myself for a long time because my illness would turn me into someone I wasn’t.

The thing that I had to change was my perspective, or the eyes through which I live my life you could say. I began looking at everything through a mind of gratitude, I took time to think of the wonderful parts of my life, even on the worst days. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy and sometimes my moments of gratitude are as simple as missing an old friend and letting them know. Sometimes my moments of gratitude can remind me of aspects of life which aren’t good. But I am always left feeling positive because I think of every reason I have to be thankful. A part of me wishes I was religious because I could be thankful for God then, but I can’t force myself to believe in something which I just don’t so I guess I look at the world from more of a spiritual perspective… that sound w*nk but it’s the best way I can describe it. I’m thankful for the amazing people in my life and the positive spirits they have brought into my life. And what I seek from the world is love because I sort of believe that’s what we’re here to do: love one another.

So now, I’m here. I’m stable. (I never thought I’d say that). I’m content. And when I think about the love I have around me I am happy. Ultimately, my name is Loveday so it was inevitable that would always I thrive off love.

I appreciate you

In the last year I’ve come a million miles when it comes to my mental health. This time last year I wasn’t even sure if it was a good idea for me to stay at university, I genuinely was a bit of a danger to myself. I didn’t look after myself and I didn’t love myself. Now, here I am, still learning how to look after myself and love myself, but in the strongest position I’ve ever been in. And that comes down to a few things, the first being my ‘vice’ which those close to me know about (it has changed my life, for the better). But another reason I’m so much stronger now is because of the amazing people in my life: my friends. All of you, those from home, those in Exeter, those thousands of miles away. So here’s to you guys:

I am so grateful for the positivity that you bring into my life. Thank you for making me laugh when I feel like crying. Thank you for calling me just to say hi. Thank you for updating me on your life so I don’t feel like I’m missing too much! Thank you for showing me parts of myself I never knew existed and teaching me to like myself. We’re working on getting to loving myself, but without any of you I wouldn’t be here today. Thank you to all my girls at home for having my back since day one – we march together. Thank you piñapple. Thank you Pat. Thank you to the weirdos I get to call some of my new best mates, I’ve only known you a year but I feel like I’ve known your messi-selves forever. Thank you to the good eggs that I live with for making our house feel like a home, I know I’m not the most useful housemate but I hope I provide entertainment? Thank you to the best thing that came out of my break up; every cloud has a silver lining. Thank you d**g-mother, you helped me transform my life.

I could go on and on. There are so many more people I want to thank, even those who might not consider me a friend. You’d be surprised how much of an impact one interaction can have. I suppose the purpose of this post is to make sure my friends know they’re appreciated, but also to remind others to think about the people in their life and what a difference friends can make. Write a list of who/what your grateful for. Tell your friends how much you appreciate them because everyone deserves to feel the love!

(I would also like to thank my family but that’s an entirely different post to be done one day)

dear you

So here’s the thing. It’s been almost a year to the day and I’ve come to peace with my break up. It sounds cliché, yeah, but it’s taken time and I actually want to reach the point that we can have some level of friendship. We don’t have any contact at all so I honestly could not think of any other way to try to do it other than just write this and hope the right people see it. I’ll make it as short as I can.

I’m not angry anymore, you might still be, but I hope you aren’t. I hope you’re at the same point as me where it’s a lesson learnt and some memories that will probably last a lifetime, but there is no animosity. Frankly, no strong emotion at all. I hope you’ve started afresh away from me; I can see now that’s what we both needed. I hope you’re well, I really do. I hope university is everything you imagined and, though I can’t get my tone of voice across on this, I genuinely hope your new relationship is happy and healthy. I’d like to hope that one day if we see each other we’ll be able to have a polite conversation and maybe even catch up, I’d love to know how your family are.

I suppose yeah, this is just my olive branch for peace. I admit I made some mistakes, I hope you can admit the same. I’m sorry.

Naturally this was a late night thought and I may immediately regret this in the morning if it backfires… I just hope not.

an in-depth study of eyeliner

I have a post-it note on my desk saying “WRITE ESSAY“, so naturally I decided to do a comparison of all my eyeliners and rank them according to their best attributes. Yes, eyeliner has attributes.

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So, first up is Eyeko’s eye do liquid eyeliner. This eye liner is perfect for beginners to wings or cat eyes, or for people who aren’t as bold with their wings. The tip of pen is like a felt tip and, though it has a fairly short life, it creates a very fine tip… Until you use it too much, and it gets stubby. But the solution to that is to cut the end of the pen, as though recreating the original tip. It is a thick black, not too liquid or washy so gives you a good clean line for a wing. This eyeliner lasts well; typically I could wear this for an entire day, maybe 16 hours, and it won’t have come off or smudged.

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Next is my ‘go-to’ liner, YSL’s shocking eyeliner. This liner claims to create a false lash effect and I think it definitely does; it makes your lashes look fuller because of the depth its deep black can create. The reason this is my go-to liner is because it’s very easy to use and creates a strong, bold, black wing which is my go-to eyeliner look. The tip of this pen is much longer and thinner than the Eyeko liner so you can create a longer, bigger wing easily as well.

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Third on the list is the longest-lasting eye liner, MAC’s Liquidlast Eyeliner. THIS EYELINER DOES NOT BUDGE. I have kept this eyeliner on for almost 3 days before, with no topping up, and it only began to fade after the second day. This eyeliner is like a tattoo for your eyes. It’s dangerous because it doesn’t come off easily, so you have to get your eyeliner right first time. I’m always hesitant to use this because, even though it is the longest-lasting and therefore ideal for lazy make up users, it is extremely thick liquid, almost like melted gel. And you have to wait for it to dry which often goes wrong because my eyes flicker somewhere and then BAM I’ve got eyeliner all over my eyelid. So for this one you need patience, a steady hand (which I really don’t have, so it’s a struggle) and lots of time. But when this stuff is done right it creates a very bold, fierce and clean-cut line.

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The fourth pen on the list is the one which served me best in its very short lifespan, it is BareMineral’s Lash Domination. This liner gives you such a good wing and is extremely easy to use but it dries out extremely quickly and, even for some of my friends, the lid pops off extremely easily without you realising. It is more liquid than most of the eyeliners I use but that makes it easier to apply if you want very fine lines.

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I don’t very often use pencils because I like the smooth line you can achieve with a pen but if I am doing a smoky eye or a softer look I will always reach out to these, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. These liners will blend with any eyeshadow you want to create a smooth transition; I particularly love doing this with the brown liner for my more basic looks. These create a very clean line, considering they are pencils, they are easy to use. However I would never use these to create a wing, they are far too stubby for that – no matter how much you sharpen them.

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Finally, I thought I’d note on how not all high-end products are good. All of the eyeliners I have mentioned are good quality from high-end brands but I have often been more disappointed by high-end products than drugstore products. This is MAC’s Penultimate eyeliner. I think this is possibly the most disappointing eyeliner I have ever bought and I spent £16.50 on it (at least, because I probably ordered it online and had to pay shipping). The colour is supposed to be ‘rapid black’ and yet here I am with wishy-washy black; it is a sheer covering of very thin black eyeliner. Two seconds later is has rubbed off as well. I had high expectations for this, based only on the fact it was from MAC, and I was extremely disappointed. I suppose the moral of this is go for quality over brand when it comes to make up. Of course, the higher end brands are more likely to produce products like foundation which are better for your skin. However, this is not always the case, so I am always trying new products to find the best one for me, cost-wise and skincare-wise.

This was a bit of a different post, in fact this was the sort of stuff I expected to be posting more often on here when I first created this blog. It’s what I want to be posting more of, but I’m not sure if people actually care and will read them. So feedback would be lovely. THANKS!

Manifesto for Mental Health 2.0

So I recently rediscovered all my old Tumblr blogs and, in the midst of my cringing and wishing I could delete the internet, I find this:

Feeling down?

And I’m still shuddering with embarrassment but I’m realising the message I had back then is still applicable now; in fact, maybe even more so now. So, I’m going to rewrite it. First, go read that one. Have a good cringe, really, you can laugh as much as you want at me. Then come back here and read my Manifesto for Mental Health 2.0.

You probably know my story by now, you probably only read these because you feel your have to when I share them on Facebook, but for whatever reason you’re here I hope this might help you in your future.

(Here’s where I previously went for the tough love approach and decided to be graphic – not this time, I’ll save you from that.)

If you want to self harm, including but not limited to cutting, scratching or burning, you know what? In that very moment, that might be all you can do. So, don’t beat yourself up. If you live with suicidal thoughts and you simply make it through the day you’re doing better than you could be and that should be commended.

I was right when I said self harm was an addiction and that it can progress, so much so that it becomes attempted suicide; but it’s like drinking, as long as you keep it under control its okay.

So, next in my original Manifesto for Mental Health, I told a very graphic story about the terror suicide causes. And, though that story is the harsh truth, it’s not what people in that mindset need to be thinking. (I also put loads of random phrases in bold to try to make it more ‘impactful’ in the original).

In reality, anyone considering suicide needs to be gently reminded of all their reasons to live, not the way they will ruin things if they don’t live, because they will already be feeling as though they don’t have a choice.

The length of the effects of suicide were correct, but again when your mind is in that place you’re not thinking rationally. I would never have believed my family would still care 2 months later at my darkest point.

I’m cringing again at everything I wrote when I was, like, 14.

I think I wrote this thinking I knew so much more about mental health than I did so I couldn’t fully understand how it truly feels to be in that place.

Then I go on to address eating disorders which, at this point, I had had no real experience of at all. I think I explain the basis of anorexia pretty well, standard. But I just stop there. As if there aren’t other eating disorders.

I think I actually described the psychology (at least of my own experiences) behind the eating disorder pretty well. You do feel like you need to be punished for eating, in some way. And people do look at you differently and you can’t not notice that. (I hate using a double negative but that was the best sounding way to phrase it).

I then went on to explain as though I had come through some massive recovery journey that “it all gets better”. But that’s not true, for some people it might not get better, but it just might also not get worse if they’re lucky and they’ll learn to live like that. So, maybe from each individuals perspective it does always get better.

The rest of what I wrote made me cringe too much.

I just thought I might rewrite my manifesto, you know, keep it up to date if it’s going to be on the internet forever (because I can’t seem to delete my original Tumblr so it’s been immortalised).

mental health awareness week – an honest review of myself

Well, it’s mental health awareness week and I thought, rather than pretending to be uber happy in some “look how far I’ve come” post, the best way to raise awareness of mental health issues is to be honest.

And, seeing as the theme is ‘surviving or thriving’, I’m here telling the truth and admitting that in some ways I am thriving and in other ways I am not, I am simply surviving.

Let’s take my appearance for example. I’m eating. I’m eating more than I feel I should, I’m snacking, I’m binging. But I hate the way I look; I look in the mirror and see ‘FAT’ plastered all over it. I want so badly to be skinny but I also eat way too much and I’m too tired to get to the gym most days and I don’t even know why I’m so tired because I’m sleeping well. But I do know why I’m tired; I’m tired because of my depression, it does affect me in the same way any other illness like flu might. And I’m in this cycle because I hate myself and the way I look, so I eat my feelings, literally. It’s horrible and it’s what I need to work on at the moment. At least I can recognise that.

I have phenomenal friends; there are genuinely some incredible people in my life, however there are also not so incredible people in my life. And I have been learning which is which since coming to university. There are people I can just ‘be’ with, we can just sit in my room and mellow out and not need any words. There are people who give me the best laughs of my life. There are people who make me feel important. So yeah, some fantastic people. So, I just have to focus on those instead of the not so fantastic people.

I feel the happiest I have been in a long time and yet also, at times, the emptiest I have ever felt. Most of the time, I’m happy; I think for once in my life I really, truly am just happy. And I can admit for the first time publicly, I am happy on my own. I am content. Content is the best word to describe it because happy does still feel a little too strong of a word to describe myself. I think that’s possibly why I notice the emptiness more, because I’m embracing the fact that I am on my own. I’ve learnt to realise that emptiness, though bad in itself, isn’t always the worst in the world. It can be moved through, you have to admit to yourself that you are lonely, and question what you need to do about it. If, when I ask myself why I feel lonely, I am able to actually do something about it, I will. But, if it’s out of my control, you just have the ride through that wave of emotion. There’s no point fighting it because you just won’t win if there is nothing you can do about it. By “nothing you can do about it” I mean when the loneliness goes beyond just wanting to be in someone’s company, or you can’t be in someone’s company, etc. So, I just go with my thoughts – it’s mindfulness – I have the thought, acknowledge it, and then do what I can with it.

Sometimes it is hard and, right now, some aspects of my mental health are a lot harder than others; but it isn’t all bad. Like I said, for the first time I can honestly say I have moments where I feel true, genuine happiness, even if they are fleeting moments sometimes. For the first time since being ill I can see real hope.