Tag: mental health

Alex Dawson : What to expect from your first year of Uni

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As something a lil bit different on the blog today i am going to share a complete contrasted lifestyle. Myself and my sister are two peas in a pod, however this year of our lives has been worlds apart when she left for Uni and the promise of cheap alcohol and I ended up with a mortgage and a resident in my cramped up uterus (I obvs picked the short straw). Whilst my time of being passed out in a gutter and vomming onto someone elses fake Gucci sliders whilst inhaling a dirty kebab from Mr Egg is over, for my little sister it’s just beginning. I don’t cover much of what to expect if you do in fact follow educations expected path: “Go to school, Go to uni, Get a job, Settle down” because for me I left education at 16, so I thought why not get the other version of me (My sister) who experienced the standard Uni transition to share her insight on what the first year of university entailed.

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” I’ll start firstly by introducing myself, I’m Chloe’s younger sister Alex, I’m currently finishing my first year of university at Liverpool, and I’m going to tell you my experience at university. Now going into university, I had very high expectations, I had a large group of friends already and we would love getting f*cked up every week, but also could rely on each other for anything. So, I assumed I would make friends straight away and just have constant fun (I’ll get back to why this isn’t the case later). Six of us from my group all decided to move to Liverpool, I would try and lie and say I loved the city and my course sounded amazing, but the truth was I wasn’t ready to leave my friends behind, I think the same can be said for them too.

On the way to uni , the car all packed up, I sat in the back of the car and cried along to Hannah Montana ‘I will always remember you’, whilst sending snapchats to the group chat of me sobbing, for my friends to respond with crying selfies too. 2

This was followed by my friend Isabelle sending videos of her forgetting all her coats and being screamed at in the back of the car. ‘YOU’RE LIVING IN A DREAM WORLD’, will still to this day be funny.

Once I got to my accommodation I went out for a meal with my family, the nerves had really kicked in at this point, I hardly touched my food and found it hard not to think of the fact that in a few hours I was going to be all alone in an unknown city, without being able to call up my parents when I needed them. I said my goodbyes after and held back the tears as they left me in my room, now it was really happening.

To take my mind off my nerves I started unpacking all my stuff and waited for my flatmate Mollie to arrive, a friend from back home, (told you we weren’t ready to part ways just yet). Of course, just being her luck, her car broke down before she even set out, so it was a long wait.

When Mollie arrived, she had about five hundred bags of stuff which was not going to fit into our tiny box rooms, I helped her bring her stuff into the room and questioned her on why she needed nine types of hairbrush. The following day me and Mollie did our first food shop and met our flat mates, sigh. The first was a girl from Wales called Lacie, she seemed like a nice girl, the second was a boy from Liverpool whose name was James, he was ginger with a dark tan, (that didn’t quite add up to me). Our third flatmate I have seen all of four times this year, he leaves as I enter the room, so I have nothing more to say on him. Our final flatmate Bella joined us the next day, thank god is all I’m going to say.

Fresher’s week was now beginning, and the week consisted of the six of us from Birmingham joining our flats together in a bid to make as many friends as possible. I know many people claim Fresher’s week to be amazing and the best time of the year, but personally adding as many people you can on snapchat and looking for things in common with people you would never normally talk to, just didn’t seem that great to me. I now have a bunch of strangers who I know I will never speak to again. This was also the week I discovered James was an absolute twat, firstly Mollie walks in and he looks her up and down and goes “yeah you look a lot better than you did this morning.” He then later comes up to me and goes “Alex you don’t look anything like your pictures you know.” I am well aware I’m a catfish James, but I would rather you didn’t tell me, thank you. Also, at our pre-drinks some lad had forgotten to bring drinks for himself, so asked if anyone could spare their drink. James then measured a double vodka coke, hands it to him and goes that will be five-pound mate. Some may think fair enough, but to me that was so rude. He also runs everywhere, I am constantly woken up by his pitter patter down the hall, freak. Enough about James, now onto Lacie. She walked into pres firstly in a top, no bottoms at all, pants on full display, is that how people dress in Wales? I wasn’t going to judge her by her interesting outfit choice, but I couldn’t help but laugh at her hilarious dancing, a move that could one day be famous. I’ll be honest, she did carry me home on this night after I fell down the stairs of the club head first, I was going to thank her for this, however we never spoke again.

4I do have to add, during fresher’s I met all of Bella’s friends including their flatmates Andri and Niamh, all people who I absolutely love and now call good friends. A few friends from home came up to visit on the weekend of Freshers, friendly faces were very welcome after a week of forcing friendships. We had a great weekend and it ended with me and my friends waving them off at the train station sobbing once again, we all walked back from the station crying, and I almost got hit by a taxi, ‘Take me then I dare you’ I had said, don’t joke with Liverpool taxi drivers, they don’t play.

I was also very keen to join societies, so signed up to netball and the singer’s society at the Fresher’s Fair. I attended the netball trials, which may I add were an hour’s bus journey away which was off putting from the get go. I managed to get into the netball team and so I went on my first netball night out, never again. It firstly consisted of the fresher’s having to stand in front of everyone and say their most embarrassing memory, for a lot of people this would have been an easy task but that, mixed with the huge crowd of unknown people was very overwhelming. As it neared my turn to stand up I ran to the toilet and had an anxiety attack in the cubicle, whilst messaging Mollie on what to do. She told me to breathe and just stay there until I had calmed down, this was great advice as it meant I would get to miss the public speaking. I waited it out and left the cubicle, when people asked where I had been I told them I felt too drunk and thought I was going to be sick- an easy lie to tell at Uni. This was shrugged off and we continued to the club. This was where I realised I definitely was not suited for a society. Fresher’s were given challenges which I just found annoying like ‘hump the floor’ and ‘go and grind on the security,’ hilarious right? Whilst I was still out at the club I saw a friendly face, my friend Remi out with people from her netball, I joined her for the rest of the night and proceeded in having a decent night. After my anxiety over a simple speaking task in front of people, I then realised I just didn’t have the balls to actually attend  the singer’s society open mic night, I used the excuse the people who went didn’t seem like my people, but I knew it was because I was too terrified to try and fail.

During the actual Uni part of Uni I met Jodie, we had already spoken online in uni group chats and I had spotted her in the crowd and thought, wow she dresses like me we would get on. It turns out we did get on, we discovered we are practically the same person, we have the same walking pace, and she once asked me if I had seen Les Misérables, those that know me know will know why this was music to my ears. I made other friends on my course as the year went on, but it is very hard to actually bond with people during a lecture hall that is supposed to be silent. 7

A common misconception about Uni, one that I did make myself, is that you are going to go and make so many friends in your building and on your course, this hadn’t really happened for me yet. At least not to the extent I had built up in my head. Ill also add that the actual Uni work of Uni often got in the way a lot, but I did find i breezed through the year, admittedly my attendance fell as I began favouring student nights or simply an entire season of ‘RuPauls Drag Race’ over lectures in the morning, I’m only a first year was my excuse.

As I began getting into the swing of things as the year went on I began having more and more fun, I realised quite early on that I just wasn’t the type of person that wanted to go to a new pre-drink each week and meet constant strangers in a bid to know as many people as I could. I knew that the new friends I had picked out from a large group of people were people I wanted to spend time with, and that of course nobody could beat the friends I came with. Now I had this mindset, Uni really became amazing and what I had believed it to be.

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I will now bore you with memories that will forever make me laugh. We learned that Isabelle is a complete liability. She once threw up on the dance floor and we propped her up in a booth trying to ignore the people slipping over in her sick. Another night, which is called 999 night, actually turned into 6 six people carrying a lifeless Izzy home, with me standing idly by, shouting ‘OHHH FUCKINGGG HELL’, whilst the security attempt to drag her to our room. Remi phoned an ambulance as she choked on her sick in my hall, they told Remi to put her in the recovery position. (Izzy told me to insert a warning about Tesco vodka here ). Mollie had what was called the sick cup which she would use to keep her place on the dance floor, classy. Remi often ‘lost her health’ a phrase we find hilarious, she went out in arctic temperatures in a skimpy skirt and see through top and claimed she could no longer feel her limbs- she later got mumps and had to leave Uni due to being too contagious.

Our friend Georgia also came to visit us from Leeds for the weekend, she lasted for ten minutes before she was throwing up in the toilets and Mollie was carrying her home, she later woke up as afters began at our flat, which turned into cracking eggs of Izzy’s head. Often nights had resulted in people falling asleep in club booths, a personal favourite is Mollie asleep with High School Musical playing in the background. Day drinking in the courtyard resulted in a drunk catwalk to RuPauls ‘Sissy That Walk’ and screaming ‘Shout Out to My Ex’ as loud as possible, I apologise to everyone in my building.

Me and Remi were also known to wonder off after a few drinks, this once had us exploring an abandoned house which we discovered to be a brothel, we made a swift exit. Ella’s hilarious voice notes of what problem she has found herself in also occurred frequently.

Applebum night for Remis birthday turned into Izzy getting kicked out and trying to change clothes on the side of the road with Remi to get back in, surprisingly this didn’t work and resulted in Izzy running home, I spent that whole night thinking I was in an episode of Black Mirror and thought nothing was real. Another messy night being circus, this was my turn to be the mess, I remember nothing but apparently, I got kicked out, refused entry at another club to then steal a stranger’s jumper and tie my hair up in a bid to get in. This worked, and I lost my ID that night, and then arrived at afters in my pjs, I gave my famous matching PJs to Ella and Remi who stopped over.

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Of course, I have to also mention Space jam night, an abandoned warehouse with an outdoor area which looked like the alien outback, which was rather fitting, and old car seats placed randomly. As well as this, inflatable aliens were hanging from the ceiling, we all collected our own alien and as the night progressed I think I became emotionally attached to mine, I held him on my shoulders on the dancefloor and introduced him as Noah to everyone I crossed paths with.

9Me and my friend Isobel have a freaky connection where no matter how far away from each other we are we will make eye contact and have what we call ‘content moments’. We also befriended people who lived in mine and Mollies accommodation, who happened to live in the same area as us back home, we found it mad how our paths had never crossed before. Jack, who is known as BB, the dopiest person you will ever meet but also the funniest, Tom, who is forever sick of BBs shit, also known for his famous side fringe, Alex, a very extravagant dancer but he pulls it off and Ben, known as Beans, the most laid-back person I have ever met, and finally Dom also a bit of a dope and the male version of Isabelle. I can happily say that going out with everyone, I really have had some of the best times of my life, we drunkenly called them family nights.

Now, I realised I have rambled a lot on memories that many people won’t understand at all but writing this I have realised just how much fun I have had. I do want to add though, with highs comes lows. Uni isn’t always having an amazing time, I do spend a lot of time alone in my room watching shit tv or inviting people over to watch to feel shit with me. Often Izzy invited herself to do this, we would mock her about how she practically lives with us, but she was always a welcome addition (I wouldn’t tell her that to her face). 8

Me and Mollie often communicate with a simple ‘tea?’ text every few hours. Mollie also whacks my hand from the pan whenever I try to help as I tend to burn things, my bad. I often went in to her room to talk all things makeup, ‘Do you reckon this smoky eye would look good with a white and red eyeliner combo?’, or to simply complain about how poor I am.

Anyways, back to the point, if you think Uni is going to be constant laughter with your flat, then you could either get really lucky or in reality it won’t be. But find yourself some great friends and you will have the time of your life. ”

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[The following was written by Alex Dawson and edited by Dawsonxo for copyright disclosures. Any implications or defamations of character/place/events mentioned are not of the opinions of Dawsonxo and conform to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948]

 

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Introducing…Mind A Moment

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I feel weird introducing myself as the creator of Mind A Moment because, although I am, it feels much too formal and like there isn’t really much to introduce.

My blog was born amongst the chaos of dropping out of university after my first year. I had always loved writing and had shown a real passion for it ever since childhood but had never had anything to write about. Ironically, being so lost in life gave me some much needed direction in my writing. My first ever post  did really well, being shared by hundreds of young people who also felt confused about their future. This gave me the confidence to make my blog a regular thing.

I had wanted to start a blog since I was about 13 before blogging was ‘cool’ so all the positive feedback I was getting helped me to forget about the few people who might be laughing at me. I had written about something that nobody else seemed to be talking about and I had messages from so many people praising me for how relatable my post had been. Riding the wave, I scribbled down more things that I wanted to write about and began regularly posting about another taboo: mental health.

I think I always knew I wanted to discuss mental health on my blog because when coming up with a name for it, I wanted something that related to slowing down and taking a moment out of our busy lives. To me, Mind A Moment means mindfulness, a technique that really helped me during some of my darkest moments.

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Fast forward to now, my content has developed with me. I still talk about mental health but in a much broader context. I discuss my (un)luckiness in love, friendship and spiritual healing in a way that I feel hasn’t really been approached before. And through my journey of recovery and self love, my blog has been a creative outlet for me that I am sharing with the internet. My goal has always been to inspire people, to open their eyes and to let them know that they aren’t alone and I hope that I will always continue to do this.

If you like the sound of any of this or want to know more then head over to Mind A Moment or follow me on Instagram

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To read the previous Introducing… article featuring Our Beautiful Chaos, Click here

 

[Written by Mind a Moment | Edited & Published by Dawson.xo | Photos by Mind a Moment, Maddie Jennings | Subject to copyright]

Crohns update – 9 months Post-Op

Processed with VSCO with c7 presetYou’ll have to excuse the completely unrelated photo, inbetween looking like a homeless woman and having the baby kicking around like they are stuck in some sort of prison, I didn’t manage to get a good photo showcasing my 9 months post op stomach.

I don’t quite know where to start, because the outcome is fairly obvious – I’m pregnant, therefore the surgery was a great success.

Processed with VSCO with c8 presetThe intial first weeks following surgery, as you know, were extremely difficult. I was unable to walk properly for at least a month and was relying on people to take care of me. I lived in my pjs (so nothing has changed really) and just kept hoping that each day id wake up and be able to do a little bit more.

A lot of people have wondered the most obvious question, what was your first shit like after surgery? I’m not gonna sugar coat it, it was how I imagine child birth will be like and I still have Vietnam flashbacks of the trauma. But despite the gas masks needed and watching the cleaners go in like the monsters in monsters inc when they bring back a childs item and have to be quarantined, things only got better.

6 weeks after surgery me and john travelled to crete. I was extremely nervous flying because all previous flights have been a nightmare fuelled with anxiety and holding in a fart that may or may not be a shit alongside my vomiting. But both flights there and back were relaxing and amazingly non eventful, there was no sickness and no anxiety in spite of the fact I thought I was gonna have a blood clot and die before I made it to sunny Greece (6 weeks is the minimum you are able to travel after major surgery *unless it is avoidable* because of risks of blood clots due to the pressure).

September came around and from what I can recall I don’t think I even thought about my surgery or my crohns. I was still struggling after a large meal however, needing to rush for diarrhoea exactly 30 minutes from ingestion (like clockwork) and had a mediocre pain. But instead of an on going flare up, it would be 5 minutes of intense flaring and then gone for the rest of the day/night. I got back into a normal routine, and Processed with VSCO with c7 presetwe were now officially settled into our new home to start the rest of our lives.

With the positive changes of my body, being able to get through days/weeks/months without vomiting and being able to eat without any consequences, my anxiety had completely disappeared and my mind was so positive, enjoying every minute of health. A lot of changes were made because of how one surgery gave me the opportunity to live a life without crippling fatigue, daily naps and morning sickness.

Nights were fuelled with alcohol, good food and the friends that have stuck by me throughout all my life changes. It’s a difficult thing going from an ‘ill person’ to a ‘healthy person’ because its not just your body that changes, your mind and your outlook changes aswell. What I’ve found has come from that, is friends that were there when you were ill seem to be non existent now you have a life of your own, now you are independent and are able to look back at your choices and decisions and see what is really the right thing for you to do in life, seem to put out others.

A little like Munchausen syndrome, you come to realise that without even knowing it people around you influence your illness in multiple ways and only when you escape the cloud of ‘being ill’ or being the friend ‘with a disease’ you find the friends that are willing to carry you on in your ‘new life.’ Some people won’t understand the changes you make in your life and why you make them, they don’t understand how something that seemed so comfortable and secure, something that seemed like a great environment and relationship can suddenly…not be.

They’ve known you having fun in a world where you are ill, where your life is built around being ill and the consequences that that illness carries. When you suddenly become healthy and your mindset is completely different you start to completely change, you change the way you enjoy your life, because it’s suddenly so healthy, long and Processed with VSCO with c9 presetfulfilled and things that once made you happy when life didn’t seem so full, now become burdens, they are reminders of your ‘old life.’ The things that once seemed good for you, in hindsight, only unknowingly influenced your illness. Whether that be mental or physical.

That is the part of following the light at the end of the tunnel that you don’t know. You’ve always seen the light at the end of the tunnel, but what about when you get there and you are ‘on the other side?’ It really is a whole new world, a whole new you.

New body.

New mind.

New outlook.

New values.

New opinions.

The hard part is accepting some people and some things aren’t meant to be in your new life, not out of anger, hatred, spite or anything negative but purely because they don’t understand the complete transformation your life has taken. The same as you find new things, make new friendships and find completely new joys in life.

November comes around and surgery legit is a distant memory, I have no symptoms of my Crohns and I have no reason to even think about it. I’m enjoying everything.

However, towards the end of November I began to get very ill, I was being sick every morning again and was tired 24/7. My health was short lived, I thought. Untill I decided id tempt fate and piss on a little stick, yknow for the fun of it. Three tests later, three positives later and 6 lines later, it wasn’t my Crohns returning with a vengeance, it was a new living being sucking the life out of me.

I had surgery to give my body the chance to carry a child, with a limited time for fertility Processed with VSCO with c8 presetit was dire to go ahead with having my bowel resection if I was going to be able to get past that dreaded first trimester. The doctors had determined my Crohns was the reason for my miscarriages and so when the first trimester came and went, that was the ultimate acknowledgment that told me everything I have endured, was worth it, it worked.

Surgery was the best decision I have ever made.

Anyone who thinks surgery is a scary thing, is the last resort and the worst outcome possible, it was the BEST decision I ever made. (Although perhaps second to dumping some ugly drug addict when I was 19, haha)

I am now 22 weeks pregnant, entering my third trimester and I was warned my crohns will most likely make an appearance, and it has. From 18 weeks till now my crohns has reared its ugly head, but unlike anything pre-surgery it is manageable and non-threatening. The flares come and go, and although I have a few accidents here and there it is nothing compared to pre-surgery days.

Crohns is incurable, it will always be in my body, inbedded in my DNA and therefore it is expected to have some good and some bad days. It is expected to have flare ups and suffer still even though the severely diseased bowel has gone. But for now, I am having a baby and that is all I want. I may be ill again once she is born, but that’s okay because she’s here and my body allowed me to grow her.

Life is great, my health is great (most of the time) and for 9 months post op, I’d say there’s nothing I could possibly say, nothing that could possibly happen, that would make me think that having surgery was a bad decision. (Even though I went bat shit crazy during).

 

xoxo

The problem with Big Bloggers

I always find starting a blog post is the hardest part of actually keeping up a blog, finding a theme, setting up your social links and adding pictures is the fun bit. But actually sitting down and thinking of something to say is a completely different thing.2018-03-19 10.38.19 1

I have quite a few people who say to me they’d love to start a blog but they just don’t know what to blog about, truth is, neither do i.

Blogging is half about having a passion and talent for writing and half about building up the confidence to actually share yourself online. You could write a fantastic blog piece about ‘All the reasons kale is good for you’ or ‘How to become a ‘girl boss’ in ten days,’ the typical kind of blog post you’re likely to see get thousands of hits but is it personal? Unless that person is a kale farmer or really is making thousands in a few days, then no it isn’t.

So should you make a blog that’s personal and bare all to the world or should you stick to the generic ‘popular’ posts? I realise I am being very hypocritical here because I, like many others, find myself slipping into the cliché stereotypical blogging category a lot of the time (and probably with this post). But blogging should be a passion, it should be something you are proud of and can happily say ‘I wrote this’ or ‘I made this’ ‘I took this photo’ and people to look at it and know that that is truly you.1521202204118

Trouble is, in the past few months blogging has become a phenomenally large, saturated, hobby,  with hundreds of thousands of people competing for a space on the popular page. Because of this competitiveness the lesser known blogs are pushed under the carpet and just like everything else in society, the blogger behind the page begins to try to conform just to get noticed.

Do we not teach people to be themselves and be honest no matter what other people think? Do we not teach people that looks don’t matter? That we should be individuals?

So why is their post not good enough to get the attention?

Whether you are working on an old school hot pink flip Motorola (always wanted that phone) or a brand new Olympic pen. Or if you walk around with a rucksack of different lenses and a camera that weighs more than your entire body, every single individual puts time and effort into the content they create.

It’s not a secret that I know nothing about photography, but the photos I take I try just as hard to make them look aesthetically pleasing as a professional would do. Sometimes I am lucky enough to get to pick the brains of Hayley and learn a bit more about taking high quality images but a lot of the time my content is mediocre.

It’s also no secret that I have the academic level of a goldfish and sometimes can’t seem to even get my words in the right order before a large cup of tea in the morning, but when I sit and write a post I put myself into it, grammatical errors and all.

IMG_20180317_095610_343The problem is however, in the last few months I put all this effort in and I don’t get anything out of it. Instead I see more and more beautifully taken photos by hired photographers in luxurious backgrounds surrounded by the biggest fruit spread dominating the popular page leading to a blog post on……. ‘How to gain 100k followers by just being you.’ But you read the post, you see the photo and it is completely hypocritical. You’re telling people to hire a photographer, is that being you? You’re saying to travel to these locations [Insert some amazingly expensive holiday you wouldn’t be able to afford to go on even if you sold your soul], is that being you? You’re saying photoshop yourself to show your curves and attract attention, is that being you? You’re advising to remove any necessities that everyone has in everyday life out of the image and only have high end, pretty looking objects in view, is that you? And most of all, is the entire blog post YOU? Because im sure we haven’t slipped into some Charlie brooker fantasy where everyone lives their life in a conformed list of instructions just yet.

It is disheartening when you put your real self out there and yet someone with 500k followers talking some utter shit about something they aren’t passionate about blocks out all your content altogether. Because that’s exactly what happens.

If your image doesn’t get a certain rate of engagement within the first 2 minutes, Instagram then blocks your photo from being discovered by people who haven’t engaged with you either; ever, or within the last 24 hours. That means around 60% of even your1521455157978 followers probably don’t see your posts, let alone finding any new followers. And if like me, you are shadowbanned (Instagram claim this is a glitch on their software) then no hashtags ever work on your photos and no exposure outside of your engaging followers is given. At all.

So ‘what’s the point in doing it?’ People say to me. I’ve heard so many people say ‘ I used to blog but I stopped because no one was reading my posts’ and honestly, I feel ya.

Sometimes I sit here trying to think of witty posts or come up with an idea that covers a topic that’s really popular at the minute in order to gain traffic to my blog or my Instagram, but then I read back and think, this isn’t me, this isn’t personal.

I want to look back in a few years and laugh like, ‘oh remember when we first got luna and she shat on my laptop because I took my favourite bra that she was chewing off her’ or cry because I remember the pain of losing my two babies. I want to look back and go ‘aww look how small they are here, remember when she just started sitting up?’ or ‘Gosh look at me complaining about being tired here when im legit dying of tiredness right now, I didn’t have a clue back then.’ I want to look back and remember my writing fondly, I don’t want to look back and read ‘5 self help books that cured me of depression’ because truth is in the future no one is going to care, I’m the only one who is going to care and im going to regret getting a few thousand views on that verses a funny update that reminds me of a great time or a feeling.

IMG_20180319_212906_025I’m not dissing ‘big’ bloggers, they work hard and they are great at it, they deserve the exposure they get but what i’m trying to say is don’t change yourself or your blog to conform with them just because they are popular.

You wanna write a blog on how your dog’s poo progresses through life? You do it. You want to write a diary entry documenting your mental illness in the most personal way possible? You do it. You want to share you latest tinder date in every gory detail? You do it. You write about what you want to write about, write what you enjoy and what you know that ten years into the future you can look back on and say ‘I’m so glad I wrote that, Id completely forgotten about it!’ Don’t write for someone else.

If your blog isn’t getting great views, that’s okay, it doesn’t mean its shit. It doesn’t mean you should change and fit in to ‘what’s popular.’ So please, please, please, if you want to blog but are scared no one will read it, just do it! Do it for yourself. If you already have a blog and are unmotivated by it and low about it, please keep going because you started it for a reason.  Remember the reason why you considered blogging in the first place? Was it to ‘get rich quick?’ probably not. It was to express yourself, share yourself and have a little place on the internet that’s all yours. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks of it.

YOU DO YOU.

 

xoxo

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Thank you to everyone who has already applied to be a part of the series, you guys are what makes it worthwhile!

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What I Actually Do – Day in the life of a Crohnie

Last week when I was having my 10am trip to the sick bowl, I was watching an interview, or rather a ‘debate’ on This Morning involving two women. One woman was a full time stay at home mom and the other a 9 – 5 working mother, and as much as I applaud the efforts of the working mom she caused a lot of uproar with branding the other as ‘lazy’ and questioning what exactly stay at home mom’s do.
This is a close debate to me because very often some ignorant person slides into my dm’s to ask me exactly ‘what I do?’ and yes I am a self proclaimed lazy arse, but I also work hard and do not do “nothing.” After talking to a lot of other Crohn’s sufferers I find myself telling them to not feel guilty about doing nothing or achieving nothing more than a 6 hour nap on a day they aren’t feeling great and yet I feel myself having to justify what exactly I do still.


So first off I’m going to state that I don’t feel I have to justify myself but there are a lot of you who are non-maliciously, genuinely interested in what a week is like for myself as a Crohn’s sufferer, work from home, M.E diagnosed, pregnant, student.
Already, my illnesses are a type of job, they are something I live with everyday and they can determine the path I go down in my life. A year and a half ago I gave up work to focus on my health and have not returned to a career since, and I do not regret that, nor do I feel like I am lazy or a ‘doll scrounger’ because of my choice to focus on being mentally and physically well over the 9-5 grind. I work hard to do normal tasks some days, sometimes getting dressed is an exhausting task or even a walk with Luna (despite the fact she’s pop-eye on a leash) can tire me out for the entire day and with the build up of my exhaustion comes a flare up, with a flare up comes a debilitating change in life, days in hospital and watching loved ones suffer the thought of what will happen to me this time. So when I say I do not work full time or have a ‘proper career’ I am not ashamed or feel guilty for being a stay at home person and any other chronic illness sufferer should not feel guilty that they too cannot work or cannot pay into the state like many other people in society can and do.
With that said this is what an AVERAGE day (there are obviously days I lie around in a vegetative state with one arm round my sick bowl and the other in a pic n mix tub watching Netflix) looks like for me.0001
I wake up when my natural body clock wakes me up, because if I don’t, boy do I know about it. On the days I have to set an alarm I fight a battle of morning sickness and body fatigue as my digestive system hasn’t clocked in yet, my body has awoken before my functions have and so they work at dysfunctional time differences. So majority of the time I let myself wake up naturally to avoid any premature trips to the toilet and alleviate the chances of a midday nap. I go down to luna, who has already attempted her prison breaks and escapology routines in which she somehow manages to escape her cage even with cable ties and a padlock on (I don’t even know how she does it but I can earn big bucks from her skills, Houdini is shaking in his grave). Feed her some goop whilst trying not to gag and then have a cup of tea, or on a bad sickness day, a cup of boiled water (wild, I know) and then run to the toilet and sick it all back up again…
“Welcome to the second trimester” they said… “Morning sickness will be going now” they said…
Well my stomach and my toilet disagree. So once ive gotten my vomiting out the way I go get dressed, which I think is the actual hardest part of the day. It’s the part where you mentally make the decision that your day is beginning and you mean business, despite feeling like its time to go back to bed already.
0003If it’s a work from home kinda day, then ill be lucky to be arsed to do my makeup cause that is commitment usually only saved for leaving the house. Joggers on, messy bun (that looks more like a sparse turd on my head because my hair is too thin to do a proper messy bun) and eyebrow-less. Our post lady (despite being half blind and unable to tell what number our house actually is) delivers my ‘blogger mail’ (again this is NOT something that happens EVERYDAY) with the same astonished expression that Michael Jackson really hasn’t died and is living at number 11 in her home town when I greet her. I spend a couple hours doing the house work and talking to the dog like a mad woman who has had no human contact in years whilst debuting my new album at top volume and a well-choreographed cordless vacuum dance to accompany it. Then by lunch time I have finished boring mundane chores and sit down to go through my emails. I argue with a few collaborators about how I deserve to be paid for advertising their brand or products and write up briefs or ‘pitches’ to them with my set fee in the hope they accept and delete all the spam about how I need a penis enlargement for my non-existent dick. Then if I have Instagram or blogging jobs to do I try to do them whilst its still light outside, setting up the brands product in some shitty layout and blab on about what I think of them in painstakingly unnecessary detail that the company are happy with. Although this proves to be a lot harder than anticipated because there are only so many flat lays or backgrounds I can use for variety within the four walls of my house (and yknow, eyebrows off means I ain’t leaving the house unless for emergencies).
If I don’t have any blogging or insta jobs to complete then I log onto my student account and do some of my uni work, or rather, I pretend im doing uni work but actually got side tracked by the latest serial killer documentary that I have on in the background and then come deadline day I cry into my laptop until ive finished and then repeat the whole cycle again come next assignment. The great thing about Open uni is its so flexible, if im having an ‘ill’ day, where I don’t get anything done, I’m not reprimanded or lectured, instead offered extra support should I want it. You get out exactly what you put in, and there’s no in-between. If I only do an hour a week of uni then I’m not in trouble for missing online lectures or activities, I just notice a decrease on my own ability come the next marked assignment. You are given your assignment due dates for the whole year when you start so there isn’t really any excuse as to why I could miss my August 2018 deadline because I knew it was coming from October 2017. Still, im a pro at leaving it to the last minute.
When I’ve finished work there is usually only an hour or so before john gets back from 0004work so I usually just chill, watch some shitty American tv show and sleep because by now im exhausted. Im exhausted every hour of the day thanks to Crohn’s but when my tasks are done that’s when I reward myself with a nap (it’s the best part of everyday). When john gets home and ive awoken like someone having a nightmare in a horror film, wondering what year it is and where ive been for the last decade, we take luna out for a run. She has developed a keen talent of finding any way possible to get into the River Trent and swims around for a little bit providing the current isn’t strong. If the current is strong, I turn into a crazed mother running after her screaming like she’s the kittens in the ‘Aristocats’ about to be swept away but she never is because y’know, shes a dog, shes a good swimmer. When ive finished having heart palpitations and accusing john of not caring or getting in the river after her, we head home and argue about what we want for tea. The system is fairly simple, ‘Did we have pasta yesterday?’ ‘No?’ ‘Pasta it is’. If the answer is yes its, ‘Okay think of something today and we’ll have pasta tomorrow’. I cook tea and we watch some shit tv before retiring like an old age pensioner to bed at like 10pm where I kid myself into thinking im going to finish my book tonight but instead end up falling asleep to family guy.
Like I said previously, days differ, sometimes I meet up with friends for a drink, sometimes I have to go to venues for various things, sometimes I am at doctors or hospital appointments or tests, some days I check up on the Etsy shop (full feature coming soon) and some days I do absolutely nothing.
So yeah, I do do ‘nothing’ but I don’t do ‘nothing’ at the same time and I’m not ashamed to not have a full time proper job. Of course on a bad day I think badly of myself, chastise myself for not being stronger or having the motivation to push through and get a 9-5 job and feel guilty that some people don’t have the choice but to work. But everybody has their own guilt battles, mom guilt, breaking a diet guilt, work guilt, not going to the gym guilt, spending money on irrelevant things guilt. It’s a natural part of mental health to feel guilty for things we have or do that we know others may not be as fortunate, but it doesn’t mean we are in the wrong. If you have a chronic illness and cannot work, if you are mentally effected by work or if ‘work’ is deteriorating your own health, there is no shame and nothing wrong with taking the back step. It doesn’t make you ‘lazy’ or a ‘doll scrounger’ or a ‘freeloader.’
In July I will be adding to my list of jobs, I will be a full time stay-at-home mom, and I have no shame in being just that. My life aspiration was to be a mother. So I am proud to be able to achieve that and focus all my energy into being the best full time mom.

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*As you may have noticed some of the photography is 100% better than any of my own, including the main header photo. These photos were taken and are owned by HND Photography student, Hayley Leaver. Click on any of her photos (Watermarked) to check out more of her work and show support. More of her images will be featured in upcoming posts.

xx

 

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We have an announcement…

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Yep! You see it correctly, its not a food baby nor is it an ultrasound of all the poo on my stomach (usually is). It is a fully beating heart, two arms and two legs kicking around and a face full of mine and john’s features. It comes with much anticipation, a hell of a lot of paranoia and a sea full of tears that I can finally announce we are expecting our first child! I have vomited my way through the first trimester and still with much worry we can actually take a breath of relief and tell the world I am expecting again!

Now everyone keeps telling me that you blossom throughout pregnancy, that your hair and skin glows and you feel amazing. Well I can tell you that the person who said that is a f**king liar. I have been sick for 12 weeks straight, managing only jelly and ginger biscuits until I finally thought f*ck it, its coming back up,  may aswell enjoy it as it goes down and started eating normal meals and accepting the fate of seeing it again in half an hours time. Also have come to discover that despite surgery I still manage 20180109_192946to choke on a bloody regurgitated chip and experience explosive diarrhoea at the same time so that’s been joyful…

At 6 weeks we had another scare, I self referred myself to the EPU and in true Alison Dawson fashion, demanded I be seen and have a scan. They gave me a scan on the following Tuesday which showed a beating heart, although we were relieved, it had only been 12 months prior we had seen the same thing and so we were still very stressed. My scan showed a bleeding on my womb and once again went home in tears expecting the worst to follow in a few weeks time.

But no further blood came, I continued being sick and developed superhuman sense of smell. I felt like daredevil, (despite the main feature of being blind haha, although I have got horrific eyesight and cant see without my glasses so just go with it) walking around able to smell every single thing someone had eaten that day or pick out ingredients in a meal like the mouse from ratatouille. But as great as it sounds, trying to do the food shop when you can smell the milk from the back of the supermarket and the shit in a babies nappy three aisles off did nothing for my sickness. So we booked a private scan with the recommendation from a friend to find out exactly how everything was progressing.

The place we went to was peek-a-baby and they were great, we were so nervous seen as the last scan showed a bleed and just hoped for the best. But the minute she put the probe thing (whatever its called) on my stomach we saw a big dark sac with a moving 20180109_191501baby inside. Our baby was kicking furiously and their heart was beating rapidly, I couldn’t even take my eyes away from the screen to look at john cause I just wanted to watch every second but I think I fractured his fingers from squeezing it.

We have since had another scan to confirm that everything is okay, and our baby is developing great, kicking and moving around and continuing to make me feel like i’ve been run down by a dustbin lorry.

I don’t want to go into a major long pregnancy post as ill have many of them coming up I’m sure, but with great excitement I announce Baby Bathgate, due July 2018.

‘Not Social Media Perfect’

I’ve been trying to start a post for about a week now but I’m so easily distracted by the stupidest things I’ve somehow found hours past and yet no post written. I didn’t want ‘blogging’ to be a chore but as my Instagram and blog have progressed, it has become more of a business/money opportunity (which I am grateful for don’t get me wrong) and thus the hobby has turned into more of a job and well, we all know how shit I am at actually sticking at jobs…

However, 2017 offered me the amazing opportunity to turn my Instagram and blog into a small business and with that I have learned just how difficult it is to live in this ‘blogosphere, perfect lifestyle.’ I am pleased to have developed into the place I am now and hope I can continue to do what I enjoy doing, but I have to acknowledge and take my hat off to every other ‘blogger’ out there. Keeping up the ‘perfect social media life’ is more of a job than you expect it to be. You think it all sunshine and happiness, waking up to the perfect latte with an aesthetically pleasing pattern on the top and a bunch of flowers to place beside for a ‘just woke up’ Instagram shot. Followed by a brand-new delivery of clothing to wear for your ‘ootd’ and then a trip around the town snapping various locations and overpriced meals before you settle back down in some fluffy bed socks to post all about your amazing day on your brand new apple mac.  

Well in reality, it’s winter in England, and you know what that means? It means a disturbing lack of natural light followed by rain, rain, horrific wind and more rain. Any chance of a vibrant picture is a lot harder to recreate when you’re an amateur and mother nature doesn’t want you to go outside. As for the coffee, if I want it, I gotta make it myself so any attempt at a delicate latte art ends up looking like a mushed up version of luna’s turds, not to mention coffee gives me the shits anyway. And receiving promo products everyday? Nope, if you want something you gotta wait for days until you’re lucky enough to be noticed and then you have to spend a further week negotiating with them how you deserve more than a 10ml tester in return for a whole advertising package. The perfect social media life doesn’t exist, I for one wouldn’t class myself as a serious blogger, i don’t own an expensive DSLR, nor do I go location searching in a party outfit to get a good fashion shot and then spend another 5 hours editing it on photoshop because I cant deal with the bags under my eyes. But a lot of your favourite bloggers do. Turning a blog or an Instagram into a business is hard work, the whole con of making money on social media is the concept of illusion. Trying to make your life look amazing is the hardest job of all because nobody is perfect. I for one, am one of the laziest people I know, it is my biggest downfall and do you know how hard it is to complete a job when you’re lazy af? No, but seriously, if you like someone’s Instagram, or their blog post, whether they are a high flying social media star or they post every month as part of a hobby, let them know you like it, let them know you support their work because it is just like any other job, it takes hard work and a lot of effort to achieve the final ‘product’ that you see.

This all sounds like im complaining about it, which I’m not trying to do because I love where I am right now. I love that I am able to pick and chose my work and still have time to binge watch Netflix or that I can work as hard or as little as I like in-between napping like a god. But the first part of wanting to be a ‘blogger’ is stepping back and accepting that it is all an illusion, it is all fake and at the end of the day it is just work and work most commonly turns boring in the end.

So with that said, I intend to start a whole new series, thanks to a fellow blogger, Maddie, who writes and owns Mind A Moment Blog, she encouraged me when I was feeling like I didn’t have much more to give because my life isn’t social media perfect. This series is going to be ‘Not Social Media Perfect’ because I make good content when i’m not massively faking it, when I’m being my lazy self and living a great but ridiculously normal lifestyle. Maddie reminded me to focus on the things I have actually achieved at 22 and how I should be proud to share them with you, not the perfect make up deals or the incredibly fake advertisements which you mainly see on my Instagram because that is my job. Is anybody actually their job? Your job is only one persona and in this new series ‘Not Social Media Perfect’ I will be sharing (when I want to – not forcing anything) tips for real life, share my stories of my boring normalities and take you on a (probably dull) journey from Chloe Dawson, teenager, who started social media in her box room at her parents, to Chloe Dawson, adult, who now earns money on social media, has a mortgage and is starting a family but in the most unglamorous truthful way it is, in its entirety.