On Anxiety

So apparently it is mental health awareness day today, or so Facebook tells me. As you all know I suffer from anxiety and depression and it still sucks major ass. Lately I’ve kinda got a bit more of a grip on life thanks to a mixture of support, better organisation, medication and just life situations being a bit better. But I still struggle and in a way it’s even harder to deal with when it hits because when you’re feeling shit everyday it becomes routine but when you have been doing well and it just (often) comes out of nowhere it’s got that extra shock value. You feel like giving up. You feel like all that hard work was for nothing because the crap never goes away. But anyway, I digress. I’m writing this post because I feel like there are some things I would like to explain about my anxiety because I know they might not be obvious to other people. This is probably going to be pretty badly written and kinda rambley but I felt like I needed to get this out. I’m pretty sure that this post in incredibly cliche and a million people on the internet have already said the same things but damn it, it’s important to me so I’m gonna write about it!

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  • Trust me- I know it’s annoying when I cancel on you. It annoys me too and I hate having to cancel on people and it often makes my anxiety worse for a while, sometimes even sending me into a panic attack. When I cancel on people I often feel like they then hate me. I worry that you think I’m just making excuses when I say I’m having a bad mental health day. But sometimes I literally can’t leave my house, my room or even my bed. I would love to be out having fun with you but I sometimes can’t. Which leads me on to my next point…
  • Please don’t exclude me from plans. I know it’s frustrating when I cancel on you a lot but even if you think I’m not going to come please still invite me to events. That inclusion helps ease the fears that people don’t like hanging out with me and are mad at me for cancelling on them. It’s nice to feel like someone is thinking about you.
  • I can’t just “not worry” about it. Worrying is what I do. Even the smallest little worry can easily blow up into a massive worry. Telling me not to worry about something often adds to the worry and sends me spiralling into an introspective state where I start worrying about my inability to stop worrying about the thing I was originally worrying about.
  • I’m sorry I say Sorry a lot. Another thing that my anxiety causes me to do that I know is annoying and I wish I could stop. If I do something that I think is wrong or has upset you I will worry about it for ages, even if it’s a tiny thing and I will say sorry way more that you think is necessary. There’s a good chance I will message you later in the day to say sorry again. I know it’s annoying, sorry!
  • Yep- I am a confident person with anxiety. I’m pretty sure most people who know me would describe me as confident, outgoing even. I mean I’m fairly loud both literally and in how I present myself physically. But surprisingly confidence and anxiety can coexist in a person. I know, it’s confusing for me too. It’s a super frustrating experience for me. When I’m in a bad patch of anxiety, especially if it’s to do with some sort of social event, I often get very self critical, thinking back over all the parties I’ve attended recently or speeches I’ve given or new friends I’ve made. And it’s super frustrating- it’s like there’s two of me- the confident me and the anxious me. The fight and it sucks and I can’t really explain it but it’s so shitty to have to live with!

And breathe. That was pretty intense to write and I’m sorry if it makes absolutely no sense. There are so many more points I could raise but I’m gonna stop now because ironically writing this is making me very anxious. Just remember- you can never tell what a person is going through. Be compassionate.

Toodles.

My Veganniversary and My Top 5 Tips For New Vegans

Yesterday, the 10th of July 2016, marked one year of me being vegan. I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown. Eating vegan and buying cruelty free products has become second nature to me. It’s just so much easier than I ever thought it could be. It’s also honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. I feel so much better physically and spiritually since cutting all of that crap out of my life. Not to mention the fact that I am helping save the animals and protect the environment in the process. Don’t ever think that one person can’t make a difference because that is far from the truth. So many of my friends have approached me and asked for tips on how to go vegan or simply how to eat a more plant based diet, a few of those people have now taken the leap into full veganism. So if that doesn’t prove that one person can make a difference then I don’t know what does.

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my tips and advice for going and staying vegan. This is by no means an exhaustive list but hey, it’s a start!

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1- The Internet is your best friend

This seems like a pretty obvious point to make but the internet has helped me so much with ideas and support. Joining Facebook groups has been a big help. What Fat Vegans Eat is great for foodie inspiration and Glo Vegan Hangout is such a friendly group to ask questions and share things. Youtube is another great source of foodie inspiration and support. Some of my favourite vegan channels are Cheap Lazy Vegan, The Vegan Corner and Supreme Banana. Blogs of course are also a great place to go for recipe ideas Oh She Glows is always a great go to, I also love The Vegan Stoner and a new favourite of mine is Jenny Mustard, a blog with yummy recipes and minimalist living if your into that sort of thing. The Vegan Womble is a great site to find out what products are vegan in various shops and Barnivore is an amazing search tool to find out what alcoholic beverages are vegan. And finally I will mention Happy Cow which is a website and app that tells you where the nearest vegan and vegetarian cafes are, super helpful especially if you are travelling.

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2- Adapt your favourite recipes and meals

You don’t have to give up all the things you love. Pretty much anything can be veganised. pizza, spaghetti bolognaise, cottage pie, cheesecake, macaroni cheese and even meringues! Either invest in a good vegan cookbook or search the internet, it’s literally all possible! Pro tip- if you want a nice simple recipe always remember to search “simple” or “easy” along with what you are searching for.

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3- Find ready made alternatives

If you are super worried about giving up things like chicken nuggets, beef burgers, sausages, fish fingers etc then don’t worry! Fake meat products have come a long way in recent years and taste pretty damn close to the real thing just without the cruelty! These sorts or products are pretty widely available with lots of supermarkets even having their own brand versions, just make sure to check the ingredients for any sneaky egg or milk, yuck! Holland and Barrett is also a godsend for fake meat products. The same applies to cheese but I’ve written a whole post about that so I will link that for you here. These products can work out a little pricey and aren’t always the healthiest but they are great for when you are transitioning or for an occasional treat.

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4- Make use of your freezer 

You know I said the internet was your best friend? Well make way for another bestie in the form of your freezer! Making sure you always have some frozen mixed veg on hand is so helpful. It’s cheap, healthy and just as fresh as the… well… fresh stuff! Just chuck it into chillies, stews, pies or just boil or steam some up as a side dish. It’s a great stand by for when you don’t have anything fresh in the house. The same applies to frozen fruit, it’s perfect in smoothies, with cereals or over porridge and rice pudding. Freezing your own fruit and veggies is also something I do alot. Sometimes you just don’t use something up before it’s about to go off so just chop it up, stick it in a freezer bag and throw it in to freeze. This is also the ideal thing to do when your favourite fruits and veggies are on offer or if you get stuff when it’s reduced at the end of the day. Saving you money and time. Making big batches of things and freezing them is a well know time saver for busy people and of course this extends to busy vegan people. Make a big chilli or sauce or whatever and freeze it for later. Quick, simple, healthy, cheap and vegan what more could you want?

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5- Transition products over slowly

Cosmetics, lotions, clothes, toothpaste, washing up liquid- these things amongst others can sadly not be vegan. A quick google search on a product or brand should tell you if it’s vegan and cruelty free. If you own products that are not vegan then don’t panic! You don’t need to up and throw away everything you own. Transition slowly and in a way that works for you. Use up any cosmetics and household products that you have that may not be vegan then just replace them with vegan versions when they are finished. If you can afford to donate your leather shoes to a charity shop and buy yourself some new faux leather shoes then do so but if you can’t afford to then continue wearing them until they wear out or you an afford to replace them. The same applies to any wool or silk items you may own.

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Always remember that veganism isn’t about perfection- it’s about trying your best. The Vegan Society defines veganism as being “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” 

I’m working on a sort of vegan master post full of my favourite vegan brands, products, food, places etc. I’m not sure whether that’s going to be one massive post or a series or what yet so please let me know what you think in the comments. Also let me know if this list was helpful to you and feel free to share any of your own tips.

Toodles.