Why you need to shop in charity shops

I have to admit that I never used to shop in charity shops. I assumed that the quality of clothing could never be as good as high street stores, so I carried on walking past them and refused to go in. But since volunteering in a charity shop and being responsible for sorting through donations, I’ve realised that the quality of products can often be really high. I’ve seen things that are designer, things that are rare, and it’s not uncommon to see things that look brand new. Now I love them. For me, shopping is far more exciting when you’re not sure what to expect and that’s exactly what you get in charity shops. Quite often there will be something that will catch your eye, whether it’s a jumper or piece of jewellery, or something for the home.

Here’s a few reasons why you should spend more time shopping in charity shops instead of high street stores.

It’s more ethical

You might not realise it but choosing a charity shop over high street stores helps the environment. We need to stop supporting fast fashion – it’s only going to create more problems. Why throw away old clothes when you can recycle them and put them to a better use? After all, if more of us choose to shop in charity shops then hopefully, it will encourage less demand for new clothes. Of course, you might not always be able to find exactly what you’re looking for during every visit but if you can choose to shop in charity shops more often than high street stores then you’re still making a big difference.

You’re helping a good cause

One of the main reasons to shop in charity shops more often is to help raise funds for charities. These charities rely on donations and regular customers in order to support their cause and to ensure that they can give adequate support to those who need it. Why wouldn’t we want to be a part of that? By choosing to shop in a charity shop instead of a chain store, we are helping that shop to remain open, which means that they can continue to provide care to people in need. A small choice can help in big ways.

There’s something for everyone

From clothing to jewellery to vinyls, there’s literally something for everyone. I personally love looking at the books and bric-a-brac and I could quite easily spend hours shopping and seeing what catches my eye. To be honest, I don’t get the same excitement when shopping in high street stores because I always know what to expect. With charity shops, you never what you might find, it could be something rare or valuable, or something that you’ve been searching for for ages. It’s always worth taking a look.

It’s affordable

Not only are you helping to raise money for a good cause, but you’re being kind to yourself too by not spending a fortune on clothes. Let’s be honest, a lot of us can’t afford to be buying new clothes at high prices, and we shouldn’t have to either. Buying things in the sale is one way of saving money but what if you don’t want to wait? Charity shops have things at low prices all year around and with so many choices of skirts, tops, and trousers to choose from, you’ll most definitely find something that you like.

The staff are nice

I can’t speak for ALL charity shops but I will say that the majority of the ones I’ve shopped in have had great staff working there. Most of them are run by the manager and a group of dedicated volunteers who are all happy to be there, so it’s always a nice environment to be in. You’ll often find that there’s regular customers who get to know the staff very well and the shop becomes a place where they feel comfortable and happy in. There’s just something different about charity shops that you wouldn’t always get with shops along the high street.

Do you shop in charity shops and what’s your opinion of them? Let me know in the comments.

5 blog changes i’m making

I haven’t given my blog much attention over the years as it was always something on the side that I didn’t take too seriously. Even though I enjoyed creating content for my blog, I never felt like I had any purpose. I wrote, I published, I did the bare minimum when it came to promoting content, and then I’d forget about it and come back to it several weeks later. And I wondered why I was never able to gain much blog traffic.

Now I realise I didn’t have any strategy or motivation. I just expected that writing about things that I wanted to write about would be enough, that people would somehow find my blog and click on it and keep coming back to it. The main issue was that I had no schedule; I simply wrote a blog post whenever I decided I felt like it. Sometimes I’d write 2 posts within the space of a week, and other times I could go weeks without posting anything.

One thing I’ve learnt from blogging (more so recently) is that the writing part is the easy bit, it’s the promoting that’s the hardest. Learning how to use social media and keywords to get more traffic to your website is like trying to learn a new language. It’s confusing to say the least. But this time I’m determined to keep at it and learn from any mistakes I make. After all, if you never make mistakes, you’re never going to learn.

Here’s 5 things that are going to change.

1. Using Pinterest

I’ve never been able to understand Pinterest. Honestly, I never knew what it was. It was only until recently that I found out that it’s like a search engine, just like google. I’ll be honest, my mind was blown. I also didn’t realise that creating aesthetically pleasing graphics is key to generating more traffic – all this time I’d been thinking that any old photo was fine!

I create my graphics using befunky, it’s a bit like Canva but I find that it can make the process a bit quicker and you can still create really lovely graphics. If you need to see proof, then have a look at my Pinterest page.

In just under a week I’ve already noticed a big difference in views and I’ve only just started out. I intend to keep using it and experimenting with graphics, titles, descriptions, and hashtags to find out what works and what doesn’t.

2. Creating a schedule

The main thing that was holding me back was not having a blogging schedule, so that’s something that I’m working on at the moment. I’m still undecided as to what days I want to post and how many times to post each week as it’s important for me to only write about topics that I’m genuinely interested in, rather than positing just for the sake of it. So for now, I’ll aim to write 2 – 3 posts a week with the chance of that increasing over time.

3. Going self hosted

In a couple of weeks time I’ll be going self hosted with the help of Lyrical Host and I’m very excited. I’ve been considering it a while but I’ve always been put off by costs. Until recently I’ve discovered that it’s not as expensive as it looks, not when I compared it with what I had paid for WordPress premium.

I’m well aware that if I want complete control over my website and I want it to look a certain way, then going self hosted is a really good option. I just regret that I’d put it off for so long.

4. Take more photos

I’ve always avoided taking my own blog photos because I don’t have a great camera (I use my phone!), and it’s not the easiest task experimenting with different angles and filters to create the best look. But I’ve found that by using Lightroom I’ve been able to create good quality photos without too much hassle. I’ll still be using Pixabay for some of my blog photos and Pinterest graphics, but I’ll definitely be experimenting with taking some of my own too.

5. Work with brands

I haven’t tried to work with any brands in quite a long time so I’ve forgotten how to approach them. Personally I find it quite nerve-wracking when I contact a company I’d like to work with because I can never be too sure of how they’ll react. Will they expect me to have a huge following? A high DA score? Will they laugh at a small blogger like myself?

I think it’s about time that I let go of those concerns and just try my best. If I don’t ask then I’ll never know. Besides, not every brand will be interested in working with a blogger with a huge following, sometimes they like to give smaller bloggers a chance.

Have you made any changes with your blog lately? Have they helped? Let me know in the comments.

Why you shouldn’t go on a diet

I have to start off this post by saying that I am in no way trying to discourage anyone from trying to lose weight, I simply believe that following a diet of any kind is often not the answer. There’s losing weight the right way, and then there’s losing weight the wrong way.

Let me explain.

There are so many different kinds of diets out there which promote health benefits and weight loss. Paleo, Keto, Whole30, to name a few, are often talked about a lot on the internet. Many people recommend these diets as a way of getting slimmer and healthier because most of them involve cutting out all processed foods, refined sugar, carbs, grains, starchy vegetables, and dairy products.

Now, I’m not going to claim that it’s bad for your health to cut out some of these foods but it is extremely difficult to follow such a highly restricted diet. We’re human. We’re not going to eat healthily all of the time and we shouldn’t feel guilty about that.

I once tried to follow a strict diet in the hope that it would cure my digestive problems. I cut out all of the foods that I mentioned above, even fruit, as I genuinely believed that it would work. It didn’t work. I was irritable, moody, and hungry all of the time. I hadn’t realised it at the time but I was significantly restricting my calories which could have been dangerous had I continued it much longer.

The paleo diet, for example, has been credited as being a healthy way of living and simultaneously been discouraged due to serious dangers. If you aren’t too sure, read this blog. It points out major flaws in the diet which could be detrimental to your health. And it’s not just the paleo diet that is potentially a danger, here’s a few reasons why you shouldn’t follow any diet.

You could be restricting calories

Naturally, when people are trying to lose weight they start off by limiting their calorie intake, which can be a great way of losing weight if its done correctly. Losing weight can often be achieved by smaller portion sizes, you can learn a bit more about that by reading this article, instead of skipping meals. Even when trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t be left feeling really hungry throughout the day.

Diets are hard to stick to

You’re probably aware of how frustrating it can be trying to stick to a diet. You have to meal prep every single day, stop eating out, and avoid temptation when other people around you are eating the foods that you crave. It might feel like your whole life revolves around food; what you’re going to eat, what you can’t eat, what you want to eat. It’s exhausting. That’s why after a short time a lot of people simply quit their diet and resort back to eating the way they ate before. I don’t blame them.

You might be cutting out the wrong foods

Carbs are not always the enemy when trying to lose weight. Sure, eating less bread and smaller portions of pasta will help, but cutting out entire food groups is dangerous and could lead to vitamin deficiencies. There’s certain food swaps that you could make that will make a difference, like swapping white potatoes for sweet potatoes or white rice for brown rice. You don’t have to make dramatic changes to your diet to be healthier.

It could lead to a negative relationship with food

The problem with dieting is it can often lead to negative feelings towards food. You might start to see it as the enemy and with that attitude comes the feelings of guilt and shame when eating certain foods. Some people feel like a failure when they make a ‘slip up’ in their diet and eat a supposedly banned food. This then leads to them under eating, or working extra hard to burn off the calories they just consumed. And in some circumstances it can cause eating disorders and severe anxiety.

Let me say that no one should be made to feel guilty for eating. And no, eating a cake or some chips doesn’t make you a failure, nor is it going to ruin your chances of losing weight. Don’t let that worry consume you.

If you’re trying to lose weight healthily focus on portion control, making food swaps, filling up your plate with more vegetables, and cutting back on refined sugar where possible. That should make a lot of difference without the worry of following a strict diet.

Remember that a number on the scale is just a number and there is a lot more to you as person.

Mental health resource

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to stay positive when there’s bad things going on in life. It’s hard to shift a pessimistic mindset when it’s something that is so ingrained within you.

I’m trying to learn how to block out all of the negative thoughts that burden my mind and try to welcome the positive thoughts. When you’re in a bad place, it’s easy to assume that things will never get better, that you’re destined to be miserable for the rest of your life. After all, if you’ve had depression for years then how can you expect it to suddenly stop controlling you?

I think we need to lose the mentality that we are ‘broken’ and that we need fixing. We are all whole. The only thing that we need to work on is changing the way we see the world and the way we view ourselves. Your relationship with yourself will always be the most important relationship you’ll ever have, remember that. With that in mind, I’ve created a free template that I think will help myself and other people who are struggling to see the good things in their lives. The good things are there, even if you’re blind to see it. So let’s start trying to appreciate those things, whether big or small, every day.

Feel free to save it and use it as a guide! And if you do, please do tag me in any photos.

What helps you to stay positive? Leave a comment.

Why volunteering is helping with my anxiety

As someone who has struggled with severe anxiety from the age of 11, I’ve constantly looked for ways to help me to overcome it. When I left school I tried to throw myself into work in the hope that it would force me into becoming more sociable and more confident. It seemed like that was the only option. After all, it was what everyone else around me was doing and they coped just fine.

But it didn’t work.

I went from job to job feeling miserable, severely depressed, defeated. I never stayed at a job for long because I simply couldn’t control my anxiety. It was overwhelming to the point where I would have preferred to not exist than be in the working environment.

And then I started volunteering at a charity shop and it’s made me realise a lot of things about myself. What I can do, what I can’t do, and what I expect from a job.

It’s given me a much needed boost

Even though I’m still struggling with my anxiety and I’m not currently working because of it, volunteering has still given me that boost in the right direction. It’s made me realise that I’m not useless, not at all. I’m capable of much more than I realise. When I’m there I hardly feel anxious at all and that’s such a good feeling. It’s something that I’m not used to. I usually get anxious in most places, so I find it a miracle that the charity shop is my happy place.

I get to talk to more people

Volunteering often involves quite a bit of social interaction but the good thing about it is you can control just how much socialising you do. I usually find that the more I interact with people, especially the regular customers, the better I feel about myself. I’m aware that it’s not an easy thing for me to do, so the fact that I’m able to make conversation with others is a really huge thing and not something that should ever be minimised. Often those with anxiety need some social interaction but it can be overwhelming at first, that’s why volunteering is a good way to ease into it.

I’m always learning new skills

Since day 1 I’ve been making an effort to learn as much as possible so I can get as much as I can out of the experience. And I can say that having experience of using a till, serving customers, labelling and pricing, and all of those things that help to run a business, are really good skills for me to have under my belt. I feel proud that I was able to gain so much from it. And I’m still learning all of the time.

It feels like a family

Without a doubt, volunteering provides a sense of familiarity and comfort for someone like me who struggles a lot with anxiety. Everyone wants to be there and that’s something that I love to see. It doesn’t feel forced there, like everyone is just pretending to be happy and awaiting the moment they can all run home. We’re all there for the same reason – to help raise money for a good cause. I’ve built some really good friendships through volunteering and they are people who I’ll never forget.

Provides a healthy environment

The big telltale sign that I’m working in an environment that I feel comfortable in is actually wanting to go. I’ve never experienced that with any other job before. In fact, I’ve usually dreaded going in to work. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve sat in the bathroom and cried because the thought of going in to work was making me feel ill. With volunteering, I often feel excited to go in. No two days are the same and there’s always something for me to do.

It’s given me some ideas for the future

Despite still being unsure about what I want to do career wise, volunteering has at least shown me what I’m capable of. I’ve discovered that I work well within a small, friendly environment because it erases a lot of the pressure and anxiety, so if I can find something similar then that would be ideal. Working for a charity would be an amazing opportunity and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that my hard work pays off.

Do you volunteer and has it helped you? I’d love to know your thoughts.

5 things keeping me going right now

It’s common knowledge that I can be quite a negative person at times. Okay, most of the time. I’ll hold my hand up and admit that I have a very pessimistic attitude towards life. But I want that to change. I want to start taking my own advice that I give other people and start seeing things in a more positive way going forward.

So here’s five things that have been keeping me going!

1. Volunteering

As I’m currently not working due to anxiety and fibromyalgia, it’s so important to me to have something to fill my time. Whenever I have an entire day at home, my mood instantly drops. I feel awful. I need to get out and just do something so I don’t go insane. That’s where going to the charity shop is my saviour, in a way. I always feel proud of myself for going in, for serving customers, interacting with people. It’s so hard to do those things when you have severe anxiety, and some days it can feel just a little daunting. But I’ve got used to it and it seems to be one of the only places I feel a bit more alive.

2. Taking on more challenges

I’m aware that for some people taking on more things can do the opposite of what I’m suggesting – it might make you go insane! But for me, I like being able to challenge myself. Sometimes, I might do things that don’t really work out like I’d hoped, but at least I’m still getting up each time and attempting it. I think that’s the only thing you can do; just try your best. I’m not going to keep beating myself up from now on. If I try something and it doesn’t work out, oh well, there will be other things that I’m good at. See, thinking positive!

3. My Fiancé

I really couldn’t write this post without mentioning my amazing partner who inspired this post. We’re usually opposites. He sees the good in things, whereas I see the bad. He’s the positive one, and I’m the negative. We spoke the other day about my negative way of thinking and even though we’ve had that kind of conversation several times, this time it really made me think. I am being too hard on myself. And what he said to me was true, life is too short to be focusing on the negatives all of the time and not enjoying any of the good bits. When you’re so fixed on viewing the world as a bad place, it doesn’t allow much space in your head to consider the good things in your life. I’ve often overlooked them but they are there. And it’s about time I open my eyes and see that. So, thanks Ian, as always. You are great.

4. Working on different projects

There’s a few things that I’m working on at the moment that are quite exciting. First off, I’m writing a book. It’s on the topic of mental health and covers many different areas. I’m hoping to dedicate a lot of time into it to produce something that might be able to help people, myself included. Just the thought of it gives me a little bubbly feeling in my stomach. I’m also going to take more time to work on my blog because I’ve been neglecting it for so long. I hardly ever connect with any bloggers anymore even though that was something I’ve enjoyed a lot in the past. I suppose, if I’m honest, I assumed my blog was always destined to be a flop. It’s hard building a following, coming up with new ideas, and promoting posts. Like, really bloody hard. But that’s not to say I should give up entirely. I know what my niche is now – it’s health. Mental and physical, as they are equally important. I want to keep working on it, keep learning, and seek advice when I need it.

5. Knowing that things can get better

I’m usually the person who complains about their constant bad luck. It’s true, I’ve had a lot of bad luck come my way through no fault of my own. It’s not fair, I realise that, but looking at it negatively all the time doesn’t help me much either. Sometimes, for things to get better, you have to take more risks. They don’t always work. And after all, life is all about making mistakes so you can learn from them. That’s not to say I’m going to hurl myself out of my comfort zone at full speed but it does mean I’m going to challenge myself more.

Are you a pessimist or an optimist or somewhere in the middle?Let me know your thoughts. Also, what’s keeping you going at the moment?

Coralle x

Fibromyalgia: Blog series #1

Getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia feels like a punch in the stomach. It’s not a good feeling, it’s not one of relief or power, it’s essentially a dead end. Or at least that’s how it feels. The doctor will usually suggest medication to treat it, and that’s it, you are sent on your way with the hope that maybe things will work themselves out. Maybe medication will be enough to treat the chronic pain.

Except it isn’t.

I can honestly say that medication is rarely the answer and that’s the reality you are faced with. Sure, it might help take the edge off a little, but for most it won’t completely eliminate the symptoms. So what do you do? How do you cope with chronic pain without it turning your thoughts into negatives? How do you find the motivation to get up in the morning and go to work?

Fibromyalgia is an awful diagnosis. Simply put. You have this unexplained pain day in and day out and there’s nothing you can do to abolish it. You have to just live with it.

But I can’t.

I refuse to simply accept the diagnosis and come to terms with the fact that I’ll never get to the bottom of it. Because I need answers. Everyone needs answers. I’d go insane if I never found the cause to my pain.

Even though I’m straying away from the idea that medication will be a cure or a band-aid solution, I’m not giving up hope altogether. I’m determined to get to a place where my pain doesn’t bother me so much on a day-to-day basis and more importantly I want to get to the root cause of the problem.

There are various ideas on what causes fibromylagia but we are yet to discover a cure. Personally, I believe that every single person who is diagnosed with the condition is unique, and therefore, there is more than one cause. I don’t think its a simple cause where a simple treatment can be made, though. I think it’s something a bit more complicated. Like I said, no two people are the same, and they will often present with different symptoms which are triggered by specific things.

I think with fibromyalgia it’s about stripping back the basics and trying to get to the root cause. I recently spoke to a yoga instructor who believed that the condition is best treated holistically. In the past, I probably would have laughed at that suggestion. I mean, if all it took to heal chronic pain was a diet change and some meditation then we would all be cured by now, right?

Well, maybe we aren’t thinking about it carefully enough. Is there not some truth in the fact that food can act as a medicine? And does yoga, swimming and meditation not alleviate some stress and tension in the muscles? It’s common knowledge that poor diet, lack of exercise, chronic stress and depression can all lead to various problems within the body, so taking what might appear to be simple steps, could potentially make a significant difference.

If you’re like me and you feel like you’re reached a dead end and you no longer see medication as the only answer, then keep reading this blog series. I’ll be trying various things and sharing what helps my pain levels and what doesn’t.

Leave a comment if you have fibromyalgia as I’d love to know your thoughts.

Feeling the fear & doing it anyway

I want to start off by saying that it hasn’t been an easy year for me. Not in any sense.

Sure, it’s had some really incredible moments that I am completely thankful for, but that’s not to say that I’ve been entirely happy.

I haven’t been too happy.

Gasp.

That’s not me being unappreciative or taking things for granted because I really do see the good things in my life. I can see them, feel them, and believe in them.

But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy.

Simply put, things like unemployment and chronic illness tend to make a person just a little bit depressed. Lets be honest, it’s not an easy thing to go through. You don’t just wake up one day and decide, ‘thats it, I’ve had enough. Depression be gone!’

And through some kind of miracle the dark clouds are lifted, the sun beams down on you, and you find yourself smiling uncontrollably at the wonders of life.

No, it’s not easy.

You know what else isn’t easy for someone with severe anxiety? Leaving the house, meeting new people, applying for jobs, and dare I mention speaking on the phone. That’s a big one. There’s something about speaking to a complete stranger through a device that sends me into instant panic mode. I start to sense my voice is too croaky, too loud, too quiet, too dull. And there’s nothing more agonising than the silences.

So I suppose you can imagine just how terrified I felt about volunteering in a charity shop. I’d heard the suggestion a year ago and I thought to myself, absolutely not. No way am I putting myself through the torture of serving customers, of getting behind that till and actually handling money! Just the thought alone made me sweat nervously.

Nope, I wasn’t going to do it.

And after weeks of thinking and worrying and thinking some more, I decided that maybe it was worth a shot. I reasoned with myself by saying that I wouldn’t have to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. If I couldn’t bring myself to serve customers, then I didn’t have to force it. I’d be ready in my own time.

Surprisingly, my first day went really well. Better than I could have hoped for. I didn’t get behind the till but that didn’t matter too much to me as I’d still done a huge thing by just turning up.

And something really strange happened as well, something I really wasn’t expecting.

I enjoyed it.

Honestly, I did.

I didn’t think I would ever be able to work in a shop and find some enjoyment out of it, but there I was, chatting to staff and customers, and smiling as if I’d just found a £10 note in my coat pocket.

It felt good.

After a couple more days I gained the courage to serve my first customer. It was a fairly easy transaction and made even easier by the way he was so understanding and kind. People can be kind. It’s easy to lose sight of that if you work in retail, or if you work anywhere that involves a good deal of interaction with the public. But there are people out there who will make things a whole lot easier for you, trust me.

Anyway, people have setbacks. I have many of them.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been worrying myself silly over things that I can’t change. Job searching tends to make even the most confident people feel a little discouraged. With each rejection or silence, I feel like a failure. I feel like what I’m doing isn’t enough. That I should be out there, making public announcements on a microphone to anyone who will listen, ‘please hire me, I’ll take anything. I’ll even work for free!’

And its nice to be surrounded by people who care about you when that happens. They’ll often be the ones to reassure you that you’re being silly and completely over the top. It’s not always what I want to hear, I will admit, but it’s what I need to hear.

I’ve got a lot to be proud of. I didn’t let my anxiety drive me away from doing something that I wanted to do. I challenged it. I decided I wasn’t going to let it hold me back from so many opportunities. Now I realise that I can do so many more things than I have ever given myself credit for. Anxiety tends to make you feel like you’re useless, like you simply can’t do things that other people can do so easily. But it’s crap. It’s utter crap.

You’re not less than anyone else because you have anxiety. That’s a fact.

I’ve spent far too long blaming myself and wishing that I’d done so many things differently, when all I really should be focusing on is what I do right now. And yes, I still struggle with serving customers and meeting new people and doing things that I haven’t done before.

That doesn’t make me a failure.

It doesn’t make me useless.

I’m trying, and I think just by trying my hardest, I’m doing more than enough.

My Experience Having A Laparoscopy

As I’m writing this it’s the last day of July and I couldn’t be more happy about that. July hasn’t been the best month for me, so let me just give a little insight as to why that is. Exactly 3 weeks ago I had my first laparoscopy, which also happened to be my first time having any kind of surgical procedure. It felt like a really big thing for me so no matter how many times someone would tell me, “it will be okay,” it really didn’t feel like it would be okay. As someone who has severe anxiety, something as minimally invasive as a laparoscopy can actually seem like the most daunting experience in the world. Yes, you are in good hands. Yes, you know you will be fine at the end of it. But you still can’t help but feel absolutely terrified.

Fast forward to the day of surgery and I was really panicking now. I mostly tried to keep as calm as possible while I was waiting to be called but it wasn’t until the anesthesiologist took me into a room that I suddenly felt like laughing. I suppose it was nervous laughter but it helped all the same, especially when the anesthesiologist joined in and tried to put me at ease. I really can’t thank them enough because they handled it really well and did a great job of trying to keep me calm. In fact, they called me in first because they could see how anxious I was and knew I would want to just get it over and done with. I really appreciate that as sometimes the wait is the hardest part when there’s no one with you to keep you distracted.

It was a really weird sensation waking up and anyone who has had a general anesthetic will know the feeling. Some people say it only felt like they were out for a few seconds but for me, it felt like a long time. I felt like I had the most peaceful, undisturbed sleep of my life. I had blurred vision for maybe 15 minutes so it took me a little while to grasp everything but once that wore off I started to feel anxious again. I started shaking uncontrollably at this point, and the same person who was with me before I went to sleep got me a blanket and stayed with me for quite a while until my heart rate returned to normal. It felt like a lifetime though and all I could think about was how much I wanted to see my partner.

I didn’t feel any pain immediately after waking up, which was a relief. Going to the toilet was difficult and food was hard to swallow but I tried to speed it up as much as I could so I could just go home and call it a day. Seeing my partner walk around the corner was the best feeling imaginable and I felt my mood instantly lift. We chatted for a little bit and then after the nurse discussed a few things with us, I was told I could go home and to have plenty of rest.

So I hadn’t felt much pain at all up until this point. It wasn’t until I had to start walking out of the hospital that I felt the pain under my left rib. It was like having a stitch, only so much more intense. The walk was unbearable and I did have to stop a few times but soon enough I was sat in the car and on my way home. I couldn’t wait to get home. Not to sleep, as I didn’t feel too tired. I just needed to lay down in my own bed. I craved that familiarity of being in my own surroundings.

The next few days weren’t my best, I’ll admit. The pain under my rib was often there, as was the neck and shoulder pain. Not everyone experiences gas pains after a laparoscopy but for me, it didn’t leave until nearly 2 weeks later. I also had pain in my belly button and an ache in my pelvis when I got up and moved. It’s weird not being able to go to the toilet normally or go for a walk outside. You have to let your body heal but mentally you still want to do all the things that you know you’re not well enough to do. In a way, I felt broken.

About 2 weeks later I would say I was back to normal. I could walk without any gas pains, I could go the toilet normally, and everything felt like it was getting back on track. I realised the actual procedure was nothing to worry about and I don’t know why I built up so much anxiety around it. In reflection, that was the easiest part of the whole experience. It was the recovery that was the most challenging. When you’re in a lot of pain you can’t imagine ever being able to get through it or ever finding that light at the end of the tunnel. But you do come out of it. You just need time.

If I’m honest I still don’t have any answers but I definitely feel like I’m closer than I was before and that means I’m closer to getting my life in the right direction. I don’t regret having a laparoscopy because it’s something that needed to be investigated. You can’t put something off if you think there’s a serious problem. Your health is important and you need to take care of your body as best as you can. It’s as simple as that.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

July In A Nutshell

July has been a difficult month for me, to say the least. It’s one that’s been filled with pain, frustration, and confusion. I haven’t really been able to process everything and I think that’s something I’m still struggling with. I feel at a loss, I suppose. I don’t know what I can do right now to make anything better, to make the situation a little less overwhelming.

I use that word a lot. Overwhelming. It’s how I often feel, as though every little thing is just piling on top of me and things just keep being added to the already excessive pile. I feel sooner or later it will overflow and I wouldn’t know how to pick everything back up and carry on.

Adding to that, I’m not sure exactly what it is I want right now. Well, in one sense I do. I know that I want things to change in a significant way. I want to escape from the chronic pain and the worrisome symptoms, the not knowing, the doctor visits, the looks of sympathy, and the unhelpful comments. I want to start again. I want to be able to work and have a job that I enjoy doing, to be able to go out whenever I felt like it, and to be able to smile a lot more than I have these last few months. But I know that I’m not always good at receiving help and letting others in and talking about what’s going on. I assume they couldn’t understand and that even if they did vaguely see where I was coming from it wouldn’t really help me. I don’t always share the same views as other people around me and it feels as though it creates a barrier between us. I can try and see someone else’s point of view, of course, but it doesn’t mean I will ever agree with it. And that’s quite tough.

I used to think that I could try and make myself see things in a more positive light. That if life wasn’t what I wanted it to be that maybe in time it would be okay, that I could make a few changes and then perhaps I would be happy. Now I can’t keep up the optimism. I find myself slipping more and more into a negative mindset and once you’re there, it’s hard to pull yourself out of it. I look around me and all I see is the bad. I want to be in control of my situation; how I think, how I feel, and what I do next. But it feels like my thoughts control me rather than the other way around.

I listen to the endless advice from those around me – to just keep going, to be strong, to fight my way through it. It’s not that I don’t appreciate anyone’s kindness and support, it’s just that I’m really struggling and I’m not quite sure what to do with those words. How can they help me when I feel as if I’m the unhappiest I’ve ever been?

So I try my best to get on with things, to see how it all pans out, but it’s an ongoing struggle. I still feel like I’m lost. I still feel confused. And I still don’t know what changes I can make. I suppose all I can do is try and hope that some inspiration comes in my direction, or that I get some answers soon. I have to hope for something otherwise I have absolutely nothing spurring me on.