Books of 2018, #3: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Hi everyone!

I am slightly behind on my reading schedule of a book per month. A lot of the books I have are actually quite bulky or read slowly and with university studies and work, and the hectic week before Easter, March was almost completely devoid of reading.

I’d been making my way through the books in this post – books that I’ve started but were on pause. All my books sat on the spare desk until Derp came home for the holidays and Twerp refused to give his room back again, so he’s living with me and needed the spare desk. I moved my entire TBR pile back to a corner of my desk where it’s three books away from reaching the G-Dragon poster on the wall… again.

In the re-shuffle, A Thousand Pieces of You ended up right at the bottom of a 17-book reading pile because I didn’t think I would get around to finishing it. So when I suddenly felt like finishing it last week, I almost didn’t bother trying to move it from under the pile. On the other hand, it’d been bothering me that I’d only read half, and I needed my March book…

As I am sure I have mentioned eons ago, this was a birthday gift from my friend Nicole, picked from my wishlist and mostly on the list because of its delectable, breathtaking cover. I thought I knew not to judge a book by its cover but I’ve noticed – in the years since not having my school library and buying my own books – that a great cover really makes me scream ‘take my money!’ But alas, the proverb had to ring true sooner or later, and it certainly did for this.

Or rather, my eyes must have skipped over the romance in the description of the book. That would have made me run in the opposite direction.

My main opinion is that this was utterly and totally ‘meh’. The idea of jumping into alternate universes is super promising and seeing as it’s a romantic sci-fi YA, the story… wasn’t that surprising, if that makes sense? It was quite predictable, and I felt there was so much left to explore that I was a little unsatisfied at the end. It’s full of tropes and stuff that made me go urgh (it’s been a while since I read about a love triangle!) but that my younger self might have absolutely loved. Then again, Twerp has also read the book – she’s the same age of the ‘younger self’ I’m referring to and she doesn’t like the book much either. Maybe it’s just us!

Anyway, once I set my mind to it, this was a speedy read, not too complex, and I finished it in two days. We shall see how long it survives on my bookshelf, too… I’ve already started my April book as well so hopefully, I’ll stay on track now.

Until next time,

X

Battle of the Velvet Teddy Dupes #2: ft. the actual Velvet Teddy (LOL)

Over the last half a year, I have been really into nude lipstick shades. It used to be the bane of my life as I loved noticeable lipstick shades – I’d wear a red to Asda! But then I discovered shades that were just about noticeable but also really great choices for everyday wear. Namely, the medium-toned nudes.

Over the last few months, you might have seen me mention Velvet Teddy numerous times. For ages, I wondered whether it was the right shade for me and tried out a bunch of dupes and honestly, it works perfectly fine on my skintone. However, with my personal taste, I concluded that it’s just a tad too light. I always needed a darker liner to make them truly match my taste.

Then I remembered that Velvet Teddy came into the spotlight paired with the darker lip liner, Whirl. Not a mind-blowing realisation, sure, but it made me feel a bit better not loving the shade by itself as it was clearly not just me. Where possible, I’d rather use a lipstick by itself at the moment without all the primer, liner and topcoat stuff that is tacked on top these days. I do still love a good liner! But I love a lipstick that performs brilliantly by itself even more.

(I have totally been a lip brush convert, though, thanks to Lisa Eldridge. Who was I without one??)

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Anyway, I wanted to show you all some shades that I would put in that Velvet Teddy category of nudes for me – passable, but sort of boring. Nudes that always need that extra something to make me feel amazing.

I accumulated a few more nudes like this, and I wanted to do another comparison post, but I felt that it was a bit pointless without having the real Velvet Teddy on hand to swatch. Thankfully, Q let me borrow hers! *Sobs* I’m so grateful.

Wet N Wild Bare It All

Maybelline Clay Crush

Oh, you surely know about these already. I wrote a comparison post here comparing the two. The shades are almost identical with Clay Crush having a VERY SLIGHT peachier tone to it, but on the lips this difference is unnoticeable. I haven’t included full lip swatches for this post as I am already quite happy with the current ones on the previous post, so do check them out there.

Maybelline Unreal – this shade leans on the cool side, but lacks the very slight pink/mauve that Bare It All has, making it look almost greyish on my skintone. It’s a lovely lacquer that wears comfortably.

Collection Caramel – This is my least favourite of the bunch. It is only £2.99, but I also found it drying and generally not as nice as the others, which is a shame.

In this arm swatch, I included swatches of two nude shades I actually enjoy. They are there to demonstrate how deep I prefer my nudes to be, at a minimum. As I may have mentioned, Soft Spoken is literally perfect for my taste resulting in it getting a lot of wear before getting into lipstick rotations. I’d put NYX’s Intense Butter Gloss in Chocolate Crepe in as a ‘perfect’ nude as well although that’s not included here.

The takeaway from this post is hopefully, for me to stop lusting after lip shades that I know aren’t ones that I love, if that makes sense! While I love the nude trend now that ultimately hit the stage due to this lipstick, nude is a different thing for everyone. All too often, I fall for hype and community love although less so recently, and most persistently with Velvet Teddy.

Do you have a hype-induced lipstick that you just can’t love?

Until next time,

X

 

Review: Maybelline Vivid Hot Lacquer in Unreal

Hi everyone!

I’m back with a lip lacquer review. Yes, they’re still my jam. No, this doesn’t tick all my boxes, but it comes pretty close.

The Maybelline Vivid Hot Lip Lacquer retails for £6.99 in local beauty stores and is available in all sorts of shades from nudes to deep vamps. As I’ve been really into nudes as of late it was perfectly reasonable for me to pick Unreal.

The doe foot is fairly large and wide, with a dip in the middle to hold more product. It depends on how much you like the colour, and how much you want to apply. It picks up enough for a high gloss finish but for a swipe over lip liner which I do, it can be a little much as I like a bit of the liner colour to peep through underneath and so opt for a thinner layer.

This shade, Unreal, is slightly cool toned and when I first wore it, it was almost greyish.

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As this is a little bland of a colour for my taste, I like to layer with a deeper lip liner for a lovely full nude lip. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a deeper nude shade, so I hope they expand the range because otherwise, I do like this. It wears well, not bleeding after three hours although this is helped along even further with a lip liner. Of course, it transfers onto everything, and it’s a little sticky. I tend not to pick bright colours in lacquers for this reason.

Overall, I would totally buy this if they had a deeper nude, but this particular shade I won’t repurchase again.

Until next time,

X

Quarterly Media Editorial: Winter 2018

Hi everyone!
I hope you’ve all had a nice Easter. Spring has properly landed (or at least, this is as much as we are gonna get in the UK) and we are a quarter of the way into the year already, so it’s time for me to sum up my media consumption of the last few months in a handy blog post.
I thought that I should begin to include blogs and social media, perhaps. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but not sure where for now. I think it will be its own separate quarterly segment featuring small bloggers and influencers.
Here though, I’ll include my favourite ‘bigger’ YouTube channels, so to speak, because these days even channels with a moderate following can get buried so I hope that, as usual, reading this will help you discover something new.

Anime

Made in Abyss – A really cutely styled fantasy revolving around a seemingly bottomless pit called the Abyss. Well… it has surprisingly dark elements at times but that was kind of refreshing actually.
Spice and Wolf – with a medieval setting and an economically driven plot, Spice and Wolf was a surprising hit with me. The plot revolves around currency changes, of all things, which is not my strong point so I did have to get a friend to explain bits to me. Otherwise, there is a healthy splash of fantastical elements and overall, I really enjoyed this as something fresh and new.
Gurenn Lagann – We watched the movie at the anime society, which summed up the first half of the main televised series. I eventually got around to watching a bit of the anime myself as I really enjoyed the movie. It’s about humans fighting to live on Earth’s surface, using giant mechas, which didn’t sound like my kind of thing but was hugely enjoyable nevertheless. I actually enjoyed the movie more so far- whilst there were missing elements from the series skipped throughout, I much preferred the movie’s pace and I’m finding those parts of the series a little boring.

Films:

The only movie worth being in this section is Black Panther, to be honest. I’m not one to watch films in the cinema twice, usually, but to say this was fantastic would be a real understatement. I also watched The Greatest Showman and whilst I enjoyed it, it was missing that something to truly wow me.

Youtube:

I admit I don’t watch a lot of bloggertube, so to speak. I usually just stick to my favourite casual channels and watch whatever pops up on my recs, which often isn’t much.
Lisa Eldridge – With the rise of the ‘Insta glam’ makeup style I’ve really been craving more natural looks and overall simpler makeup. If you just want to learn the ins and outs of simple makeup, Lisa is the lady to go to. She has done magazine editorials, works for Lancome as Creative Director and also features other professional artists in the industry on her channel. Even from the most simple look, you can learn so much to apply to your own makeup.
Matilda – I am really enjoying Matilda’s video style which is completely her voice, over the products she mentions on a whiteboard – quite minimal! She does reviews of makeup and lip balms, and her videos are really short and sweet – a great appeal when I don’t want to sit through a twenty-minute video because I’d rather watch anime.

Music

As usual, here is a playlist containing all the songs in this Editorial! They’re all Korean. I did my best to sum up my favourite new listens of the last season although this doesn’t include the long phases of songs on repeat throughout.

I actually heard of Uhm Jung Hwa through her brother and niece being on Return of Superman. No way is she in her 50s. Excuse me while I google her skincare routine.
I’m still obsessed with LOONA, who have been so consistent in building up their Loonaverse with great music. I’m still left wondering – if all of this is only pre-debut stuff how blown away will I be by their official debut? My favourite member so far is Jinsoul with Chuu and Yves tied a close second and Kim Lip and ViVi tied for third!
These two songs have dominated the Korean charts over the last few months, so of course they’ve been played a lot! BOOM BOOM is fully elevated thanks to JooE in their live performances.
I admit I was quite skeptical of Ikon myself but this more chilled hip hop infused direction is probably their most popular style in Korea so it was a perfect choice to re-establish themselves after a long tour abroad.
Ko Ko Bop took more than half a year to properly grow on me and I completely slept on Rollin, but these two songs have had their moments on repeat whilst I did university assignments.

WJSN – Dreams Come True

This wouldn’t normally be my usual song style of choice (I tend to favour anything with a teen crush or not-cute concept) but I’ve slowly been getting into it. It was the performance of this song that truly got me, though. I love the point dances and how well dramatic the choreography is, especially Cheng Xiao’s chorus parts, the star point of Exy’s rap and the bridge/refrain. I know Secret is a popular favourite of their songs but I think I like this more.

Mamamoo – Starry Night
Got7 – Look
BoA – One Shot, Two Shot

Starry Night isn’t Mamamoo’s best, in my opinion, so I actually included it because the video is stunning and I love rewatching it. Got7’s Look, on the other hand, was okay at first but the dance really grew on me and the song soon after. One Shot, Two Shot is just plain catchy.

(Notable mentions are Havana, Cut to the Feeling, Like Paradise by Kriesha Chu, All Night by Long:D and Doyeon (of I.O.I and Weki Meki))

My music list changes so often throughout the months and even as I type, there are new releases from Olivia Hye of LOONA as well as WINNER (have you all SEEN Yoon’s hair, I died).

Check out some of my other music posts from the last few months:

Some Songs and an Attempt To Sum Up My Month

#Playlist: Ghosts

Until next time,

X

Snap Review: Essence Make Me Brow 02 Browny Brows

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Easter weekend.

As far as eyebrows go, I’m quite happy with mine. Thank goodness bold brows are ‘in’ at the moment because as I might have mentioned, mine have previously been compared to Rock Lee from Naruto although they aren’t that bad on camera if I am wearing makeup. If I am wearing a full face though, my eyebrows can look a bit bare. Again, it’s not a major issue as I have a full fringe which covers most of my brows.

rockleegiff

All in all, there isn’t much of a reason for me to be trying brow products but I really want to try out the Glossier Boy Brow and wanted to at least be sure that a brow gel type product was what I wanted first. I heard surprisingly positive reviews for this Essence brow product so I went and bought it to try.

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Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara costs only £2.50. I KNOW. If your local Wilko stocks this it might be worth your pocket change but unfortunately, mine does not. Wilko does offer free collections from their stores, though, so that is how I got my hands on this to try. A bit strange, to pop in just to pick up a £2.50 order, but oh well.

I have the shade 02 Browny Brows. It comes in a very small 3.8ml/0.12 fl.oz tube which is quite simple in design. Let me emphasise – the tube is probably the size of the average finger. Not mine, though – I have small hands that people insist on wanting to compare theirs to. Anyway, I always think products are smaller than I expected when I see them in person, it’s so strange.

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The applicator is simply a short spoolie with very short bristles. I haven’t found it to pick up too much product.

I found this brow mascara to be great for my type of brows that don’t need much help. If you want an extra gel after you finish using a pencil, this may also be ideal. It is not incredibly pigmented as you can see from the swatches below but it fills in my brows quite subtly and doesn’t fix them too firmly – they feel a little stiffer and that’s about it… Honestly, I’m quite sure no-one would notice the difference but I like this subtle change.

They also last surprisingly well, keeping their hold all day despite be being oily and sweaty and when I say all day, I mean 9 hour days at uni. My brows do feel noticeably softer by the end but I can still feel that the product is there.

Overall, I think this gel is definitely worth a try for its tiny price tag. It’s best used on brows that are already fairly full unless you want to use it as an accompaniment to your favourite pencil.

Until next time,

X

Lipsticks in Rotation – March 2018

Hi everyone!

March has been a particularly strange month with plenty of challenges and too much snow for it being this late in the year. However, the clocks have changed and the evenings are much lighter already and it’s already quite refreshing. It’s the Easter Holidays for pretty much all students now – what have you all got planned?

Let’s get right to the Lipsticks in Rotation for this month.

Read more about my lipstick no-buy here:

Starting a Year-Long Lipstick No-Buy

Lipsticks in Rotation – January 2018

Lipsticks in Rotation – February 2018

Maybelline Hot Vivid Lacquer in Unreal

This is the pick from my Box of New Things for this month! Since layering Bare It All with glosses I have discovered the glossy nude lip does wonders for me and wanted to explore it a bit more. The nude shade here is a bit too cool for me and I would definitely categorise it in the ‘Velvet Teddy’ type of colours in that it’s a bit bland by itself and probably needs a lip liner to make it truly WOW. But otherwise, I like this a lot!

Lancome 368 Rose Lancome

A really vivid bright pink. I remember Lisa Eldridge wore this to an awards show, and it looked fantastic on her, too! It is in a creamy finish that wears really comfortably. It does stain a little and therefore takes a bit more of a rub to remove.

Also, correct me if I’m wrong but I think Suzy is wearing this shade in this Insta snap (for a Lancome event) as well.

lanc😘me

A post shared by 숮이 💄💅👡👠🎀👙🌂👗🌂🎀💋💌 (@skuukzky) on

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Nude-ist

A cool, pinkish nude shade that is super comfortable and long-wearing. It’s often overlooked in my stash in favour of Beau Brun, though. I’m keeping an eye out for consistency changes in the product at this point as I have had mine a while. I don’t think I’ll repurchase it either because I want more room for other products!

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Aurora (discontinued)|Review here

I really love this lacquer. It somehow manages to be bright whilst still being a little understated. It’s a real shame I can no longer find this in stores. I have been really feeling the two lacquers that I have, and glossy finishes seem to be right up my street as of late – they’re youthful and very appropriate for spring! Maybe not for kissing, though(!!)

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Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Matte in 111 Kiss of Life|Review/Swatches here

This is actually my only drugstore/budget red lipstick at the moment! It’s a pure red that is bright and because I always remember it as orange-leaning (although this isn’t noticeable) I seem to fall out of love with it a lot. Have I ever mentioned that I think the formula is very similar to MAC’s mattes?

Collection Velvet Kiss Lip Cream in Caramel

This is yet another ‘Velvet Teddy’ category colour. This was quite a recent buy and I didn’t have time to wear it a lot before launching into a no-buy with pre-scheduled rotations. I’m not a fan of the formula either as it isn’t that long-wearing and can be drying on my lips. For £2.99, I can’t complain TOO much but I’ll imagine I’ll either finish or toss it fairly soon.


Overall, I wore lipsticks a lot less this month compared to the last two months. I wonder if it is partly due to the particular selection for this month all being the kinds of products I’d only wear once in a while. It’s definitely mostly due to me going out a little less, but also because I’ve cheated a little and, two times, gone back to some bare neutrals that I was really feeling for the day – like NARS Rikugien, which I used to hate!

I was a little tempted to have all of the selected shades for next month be bold shades but based on this month I am going to have to make sure I pick at least one fall-back shade that I won’t complain about picking on those “bare-bones” kinds of days. But hey, nothing to complain about with a good neutral, right?

Until next time,

X


Days since I last bought a lipstick: 94

Lipstick added to wishlist: Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour in Telluride

[Chatter] At Last, Let’s Talk About Depression.

I think over the last year or two I may have attempted to draft out this post four or five times. As I wrote this very first paragraph for this working draft, it was January of 2018. I knew I wanted to put this up eventually, and I felt like it was approaching the right time to do so. I also knew that I have always struggled to express the feelings (or lack of) in a proper way that feels like it’s doing my experience justice, so in order to get my words out on time, I started early.

Do feel free to grab some tea.

If you’re a friend I have directed to this post, it’s because I’m crap at explaining this in person or even over WhatsApp, especially when I’ve been caught off-guard on a Sunday evening. All this is just me talking about things I have always wanted to talk to you all about but never got the words right for. I hope none of you mind.

Here’s a Trigger Warning for Depression, Self-Harm and Suicide.

For a long time, I didn’t quite relate to the idea of needing a trigger warning (even if I understood the reason for it) but recently I have been feeling extra sensitive towards this topic myself. It’s not particularly graphic or anything, though. If you’re not sure whether to read on, I’d err on the side of caution and not continue.


Firstly, I may as well tell you what the symptoms of depression are. We can spot them together as I back-track through my life. Here it is, the DSM-5 criteria for a diagnosis of depression:

A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either

  1. depressed mood or
  2. loss of interest or pleasure.

Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly attributable to another medical condition.

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

B. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
C. The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or to another medical condition.


The earliest recorded indication that I was depressed probably goes back to 2015 when I was still 17. In fact, it was on this blog because I had no other outlet. I’ve always written my honest thoughts on this blog, as bland as my life was, because it’s just not the same otherwise. To sort-of quote one of my old blog posts, pretending is draining. It’s the same reason that I love to share happy things with others and it’s for the same reason that I am a terrible liar.

So I was looking all the way to 2015, the first year of the blog and my first year of A-Levels (Y12), and life doesn’t seem bad. Mundane? Yes. Occasionally, I got angry, and I got stressed, but within what I thought were normal means for a student of Hell A-Levels. I went to work, I slept, I tried my best to manage everything and was failing. I was easily triggered, especially by my school reports, and I clung to my hobbies (and this blog) a lot as a means of coping.

My grades were suffering, and teachers were pulling me aside to ask me if anything was wrong. I said no because, at the time, I genuinely didn’t know. Some teachers thought I was just lazy and lacking effort (which I admit I agreed with). I mention Student Support briefly in this post from April 2015 from when I got sent there instead. They thought I was overworking myself and lacking in sleep (the latter being true). I didn’t feel this was the case as I simply was not getting anything done despite always being at my desk. I was stuck in this spiral of unproductivity, lack of sleep, and hating myself all in abundance. It was mostly hating myself, though.

For quite a while, I thought most of my issues were the fault of the school or the education system. Now, after lots of rational thinking, I don’t blame my school for my depression at all, because how could they have helped me out when I had no clue what was going on, mentally speaking, myself?

In October 2015 (the beginning of Y13 and my second year of A-Levels), I expressed a thought on this blog post about wanting to see the GP about my mental health. This means that I must have been thinking about it for quite a while, prior to that post going up. I had probably at least googled the symptoms and taken the quiz on the NHS site. Note the mental breakdowns (I think this means my negative emotions peaking and crying myself to sleep), and note the P.S. where I mention that I was finding it hard to concentrate. Yet at this point in time, I ended up not going to the GP about it.

I mentioned the breakdowns again in February 2016, talking about stupid school assessments, but this time more casually. I was getting the impression that this was a normal thing, that my feelings were not significant enough to seek help for and that this was part and parcel of being an A-Level student. My emotions were fluctuating, even then, but now it was so long ago I can’t really mention any specifics.

Later, I decided to include less of my feelings on the blog and more of what I was actually doing, so there’s not much there that shows what I was feeling until much later.

What I do remember, though, is that during that school year we studied depression as part of the abnormal psychology topic, and I distinctly remember the lesson on diagnostic criteria – looking at the list of symptoms on the board and thinking ‘all of that sounds like me.’

Anyway, I finished my last year of school, and my A-Levels went terribly (I say that, but I didn’t fail any) and I decided to take a gap year. Despite this, life was not particularly awful – in fact, it seemed like a lot of fun judging from past blog posts. Things seemed okay. I was beginning to branch out with what I was doing whilst making time for my hobbies and, well, widened my horizons a bit.


In the latter half of March 2017, I booked my first appointment with my GP for my mental health. I thought of having this post up on the 28th, a year since the date of my first appointment. It would be the first of quite a few that spring/summer. To this day I am still incredibly proud of myself for doing the adult thing and picking up the phone. I was so terrified.

At the appointment, I wanted to explain things logically to my GP, but I ended up breaking down crying, saying something like ‘I don’t know, I just… I just feel so sad all the time’. The truth was, that was the first major step I had taken to do something about my depression and I felt the impact of the moment – I didn’t know whether any of what I was doing would help, but I knew it was important that I did something.

My GP asked me why I was having the emotions that I had (as opposed to the what of early 2015) and I replied that I genuinely did not know. Where earlier I was comparing my experiences with others and not finding my situation comparable to them, this time I was on my gap year and life really did not seem bad at the time. My depression was, and still is, very irrational of me considering my circumstances.

I went to see a counsellor. It helped a little bit, but not that much. I think most of the change in mindset afterwards happened by itself.


A month and a bit later, I was a week after finishing my medication and my next GP appointment was not for another two days. On the 14th of May, I was not in a good mood, and neither was my mom. We got into a heated spat about something very minor. I broke down in the bathroom, and I saw the open cabinet door with the pair of scissors in it.

Scissors are relatively very blunt compared to other sharp objects, so all I ended up with were some very red, raised lines, and the tiniest beads of blood. It took a lot of pressure and self-hate to make those marks at all, let alone draw blood. Had that been a razor (we don’t use hand razors in this house) I might have ended up in hospital or worse. I spent a lot of time afterwards looking at the marks on my arm, ‘trying to figure out what they mean’, according to a diary entry. The lines are unnoticeable now but sometimes I wish I still had a scar to remind myself always that things were worse before and better now.

However, I wrote a private diary entry in an old notebook after my shower, and that’s enough. This is how I can write about it now because I knew it was a new low for me, and one that I needed reminding of. In hindsight, I wasn’t ready to be without the antidepressants yet, and I noticed multiple times later on that if I didn’t take my medication for a few days my mood would crash pretty badly without any other obvious cause. Needless to say, I tried not to go without them again and scheduled my appointments appropriately for the next few months.


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In September 2017, I started to evaluate my mood on a scale of +10 to -10. My average mood when I am depressed being around -3 or -4. In general, I was feeling much better. I actually hadn’t taken my medication for months at that point but I didn’t feel awful and I didn’t feel a crash as I stopped. I went out with some friends on the 9th September, and my mood was about a +7, according to my diary: “I felt so good. I can’t stress that enough, I’m so surprised by it.”

Then I managed to crash to a -7 which I now have pegged as ‘suicidal thoughts with minor urges to actually carry it out’. I genuinely wanted to jump out of a window, and I was petrified that I would. I couldn’t sleep and ended up writing in my diary at 2:20am, two hours after getting home, after breaking all sorts of rules. It took me weeks to climb back up from that -7. I thought it might have been the alcohol, at the time, but now I don’t think that was the case. It was at least the first time that I realised how sensitive my mood could be to change even if things were good.

Again, nothing was inherently wrong with my life besides my feelings. There was no ‘why’. I had exciting events planned and I was about to start at my university. There was a complete mismatch between my situation and my mood, objectively, and I think that lead to a dysphoria, a ‘state of unease or dissatisfaction with life’ that was really hard to shake off. When people ask me what’s wrong, there’s genuinely nothing wrong, and it’s hard to explain that I can’t control my mood fully even with all my best attempts to do so.

But I did write that night about how my parents can’t be blamed for things. That they worked their butts off and always did the best they could for their kids and that I felt bad they ended up with a crap daughter like myself. It’s strange, because I’ve never felt so comfortable with myself by my own standards but the moment that the other people I love are involved I’m not worth anything anymore. 

That feeling still persists from time to time. I’m working on it.


 

20180211125525_IMG_7703-02-01.jpegSince we are on a timeline, I want to also mention Jonghyun of SHINee as I’ve been meaning to say something about him, too. Never found the right words, though. He committed suicide on the 18th December, 2017 after a long battle with depression. He was a successful performer, y’know – world at his fingertips and all, and he still felt that way. He finished all the preparations for his new album, Poet/Artist, and he even filmed some variety shows. His album was released posthumously. It’s fantastic.

I can’t claim to know what he was thinking. From what I could tell, he had been planning it for a long time, all whilst thinking of who and what he loved and was leaving behind. As a member of SHINee and as a solo artist he knew he was very, very, very well loved, and still chose to make the decision to end his life. I think the album and what he left behind were all signs of that – that he cared so deeply for his family, his friends, and his fans. I think one of the few things that kept him wanting to be alive was just that.

That’s something I relate to. For me, I think my life is small and trivial, but my friends are my world. I would not want to wish the after-effects of my death on them, and if it means staying alive for them, then sure. I think suicide, in a sense, is selfish in that way (I’m not sure how better to word that). What I’m trying to say is, I think Jonghyun chose to end his life as a final act of self-care, and still he was thinking of those he loved by planning his album and his suicide. I am sure he has found his own happiness now.

Again, I cannot pretend I know him, and I just wanted to share some thoughts on my point of view, and finally get it off my chest. I didn’t realise it would shake me so badly. I cried reading the initial announcements on the news, and even weeks later I feel tremendously sad at anything involving him, like Lee Hi’s performance of a song he wrote. I haven’t been able to listen to the final track of his posthumous album yet. It’s a piano ballad. I heard the first few notes and noped completely out.


This brings us to roughly the present day. This section is actually the hardest to write, because I never feel like I have a proper grasp of my feelings until long after the time has passed.

However, I promise you that right now, as I finish up this post before it goes out tomorrow, I’m in a good place. Maybe a little muted, but good. Depression never feels like the kind of fight that is won. 

Most days I’m good. I have things I want to do, small aspirations, almost never a plan. My modal average day is no longer a -4, but more of a 0 or -1. In fact, the week of my birthday I was consistently at +4/5. That was great, and I long for more weeks like that.

Other days, I don’t feel good, but not bad either. On those days, instead of caring a little less, which can be good for me, I don’t care at all. All my emotions seem muted or absent. Sometimes, I ‘slip’ a little, back into that old pit of sad. Sometimes, I feel without purpose or just aimless, and I have moments of sadness welling up in my chest throughout the day. Sometimes, before I know it, a bad day has become a bad week – time can really fly when you’re depressed.

However, since last year I’ve been hyper-aware of my feelings and as such, I’ve been better at spotting these kinds of days and clamping down on them ASAP. I’ve found that the best way to do that is to have all the important crap started and sorted earlier so I can take time out for myself. Then things are mostly OK.

Although sometimes, my wrists itch, and it’s frustrating.

Even now, I have times where I doubt my experiences. How serious are my symptoms now? I am constantly comparing my current mental state to that of last year and I think it might prove counteractive eventually. For example, I often think ‘this can’t be that bad of a day. I have had worse. I have survived worse.’ It sounds pretty good until I remember that I have never been able to justify my awful feelings and low mood days and I’m not about to start. In reality, it’s ‘this is not that bad of a day, but I feel like crap anyway.’

The third type of day is the worst kind. I’m having a good day, and I am happy, and I’m laughing a lot. That’s good. But beyond that feeling of happiness, there’s a pit somewhere and I am still stuck down it. Is it a crap ton of self-doubt? Is it the sense of impending doom? Is it the feeling of knowing that happiness is more temporary than sadness? I hate that I am this stubborn in my sadness.

I have slowly become more accustomed to talking about my depression to my friends, especially the few I love the most because I know they worry about me and appreciate that they do, even if I don’t want them to. Whilst it’s so easy to let a bad day pass and pretend to my friends that it never happened, these days I can just tell them it’s a bad day.

Not all the time, though. I actually tend to rotate and tell one person each time, so they’re not all worrying about me at once.


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On top of that… I’m twenty now. It feels like a happy little miracle. As I told someone one time, ‘my mental health got to a point where I genuinely did not think about being alive for this long. Like I wanted to get better but didn’t know what I wanted to live for.’

As a result of this, I didn’t keep any aspirations over the last few years beyond ‘I want to make it to the end of the day having smiled at least once’.

When I was 13 I had my heart set on writing. I still do, as it’s my Plan A (Plan Ambitious). That said, I wish I felt the urge to be writing regularly and this blog is the closest I am getting to my daily quota of creative writing. My Plan B (Plan Believable) is something more akin to teaching languages, working abroad or working in a field of psychology after I graduate. Perhaps even all three. My short term goals are to study well, save money, and successfully get a study placement in Korea. Heck, guys, I have GOALS. I have things I want to aim for! That’s pretty amazing!

I finally see that I have a life ahead of me. Isn’t that the most terrifying thing?

Thank you for reading this far.

Until next time,

X