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Secrets To My Favourite Life - 5


I've learned the hard way that distancing yourself from others will be your downfall. When I am of ill mental health, the support of others goes a long way. You have got to figure out who is a benefit to you and who you should keep around. For a long time I felt embarrassed that I had to rely on others for emotional support, but it's better to perhaps put that little bit of pride aside for your sake of mental wellbeing. I am a person who has always been there to support others, so the few times I have sought it out - I suppose it's only fair, as it's a mutual support situation. You will find, if you have the right people around you - they will be more than happy to be there for you when you need them.

For support, I have quite a small circle. Recently I have made a lot of friends: in the past few months I've met a bunch of new people and gotten to know them better, however I do view them in more of a manner where I'd invite them out but not necessarily call them late at night to vent. I approach my closest friend a lot, because I've known her for 10 years and she has always been available for me - and she also is very intelligent, so I value her opinions and feedback when I vent my frustrations. When I need a lift up, I have several friends who are there to pick me up and make me feel good or just make me laugh. I don't think I'd be in this good place mentally now if it weren't for my friends who stuck by me through the bad.

I have a healthy love life. Although it's one thing I vow never to disclose fully anymore on social medias or anything. However, where my downfall is - I don't let people really in anymore and I recognise that's something I need to work on. When you have someone betray you in a relationship, it starts you off on peculiar footing when it comes to your romantic life afterwards, but I am okay with this at the moment. It's nice to have others take interest and know that you will not be left lonely. As a person, I'm someone who is very intimate and emotional so even though I do not need the companionship romantically or crave it, my personality flourishes when I have somebody to bounce off of. I recognise that achieving positive mental health is not bringing your damaged side to your romantic life, and I'm almost there, but in the same vein - being able to allow someone to see you for all you are and all you feel, is a special thing. Having a romantic companion can really help, but don't tell yourself it's necessary because it isn't. I have such a positive relationship with myself, and I wouldn't seek a relationship with another if it jeopardised that. I had rejected a lot of men out of fear because I felt so bereft from my last relationship, but I'm at a place now where I have so much more confidence in myself and I feel less vulnerable with men, so I've allowed myself to feel less fearful of some investment.

You choose your friends and you choose your partner, but what you can't choose is your family. Some people do pull the short straw, you might not have a wildly supportive family who care about you intimately and emotionally. I've been lucky in that I do have a really lovely, healthy family dynamic and I've never been scared to discuss things like my mental health. However, I do encourage everyone to try and speak to family members about things like this. You won't know their reaction until you just discuss it, they may be more supportive than you think. If you have a family who are vastly unsupportive, I appreciate you may feel you want to distance yourself from sharing with them - which is okay too. I've seen people in situations with their families where the best option is to move further from them, and although it's not ideal, it's about what is best for your health.

So I've described all the ways I have a good support system and companionship, however, I never really went into how I achieved this. I know a lot of you reading may feel you would benefit from this companionship but don't know how to achieve it. Go out and talk to people is my best advice. Aim to make several conversations with people everyday, I always make friends when I'm out in the evening, and it really makes my confidence flourish too knowing that I can socialise really well and that I am likeable. If you're too anxious to be so heads on, try following people you think are interesting online and interacting with a few of their posts, keep it casual - it could work! Also, if you are in a really desperate place - normally there are support groups available where you can meet others with similar mental health issues as yourself and it gives you a place to discuss it and even just meet others who know how it feels to not feel great. To find these support groups perhaps speak to your doctor, or approach local mental health charities - which you can find from a google search of your country and 'mental health charity'.

Don't make yourself lonely, it will really not make you feel great. When I surrounded myself with people who loved me, it made my life better. I also discussed cutting people off before, and thats the people who are really detrimental to your mental wellbeing, don't just cut off everyone - that's isolating yourself without good reason. Don't cancel the people who are rooting for you.

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 4

The Little Things

In order to have balance in your life, a routine is your saviour. Gone is the anxiety of worrying about the little things when you have a schedule you are familiar with. With my mood disorder, establishing routine is the most necessary way of keeping my life stress free. However, to continue with a routine you need to have the motivation and excitement to carry it through - that's where I struggle.

I thought up little things that would motivate me, pick me up and push me to continue living my life in a balanced way. These are all very small adjustments we are all capable of, and as silly as they might read, they are very beneficial for those who require more balance as a result of mental illness - or for those who just want the best chance at having a good day.

I am not saying at all - if you do this and do that, you will be cured of depression. Of course not! But these things do help give me a little lift, which make me feel less helpless in trying to control my mental illness.

One of my issues when I was depressed was that I didn't want to leave my bed. Part of my routine that helps keep away an episode of depression is having a constant time of waking up. However, there would be nothing stopping me rolling over and turning off my alarm - so I made small adjustments that motivate me to follow that routine. One change that massively changes how I feel about waking up, perhaps because I love food, is having a really nice breakfast. I can tell you that if I buy a cereal I love, the night before I will be excited at the thought of waking up to eat it. Today I bought a lovely cheese and I had a quick and easy cheese and toast. Buy your favourite fruit juice for you to have with breakfast, make waking up a treat and schedule in that time to just enjoy your first meal - I usually catch up on news whilst I eat. Another good pointer in motivating you to wake up, especially in summer, is opening your curtains before you go to sleep. This is potentially only good advice for those who don't have a ground floor window as that could feel quite creepy, but nobody can see in my windows so I leave the curtains open before I sleep because I know that in the morning my room will be bright when the sunrises - helping me naturally wake up with the daylight.

The next change I made, which I have emphasised before, is keeping your environment clean. Embrace minimalism! Despite how difficult it may seem. I've had somewhat of a fresh start with my environment, where I have very little junk but it makes me feel so content. When you don't have to look up at a mess, oddly enough you don't feel like your life is such a mess! The less you hoard, the less you feel stressed in your environment too - I assure you! Also, I used to have so many clothes - okay, I still do - but I have gotten rid of so many pieces that I was hoarding but would never wear. Having my clothes rails arranged in such a manner where if I wake up and need to get ready quickly - it feels easy, and I can always dress well since I can easily see what I own. Maybe as I'm getting older I'm finally embracing quality over quantity, but it's such a wonderful fuss-free way to live.

Carrying on from the idea of getting ready in the morning, make your getting ready process simpler. Always start your day off with a quick shower, take care of your body too. I moisturise every day and I would tell myself before I didn't have time for it - but it takes 2 minutes. Then when I apply make-up, I only apply around half the amount I used to! I now do my makeup in 10 minutes instead of an hour I used to spend, and I've got the right products where I still feel like I look my best despite not wearing 3 different concealers (which I was very guilty of). My hair only takes 5 minutes now, I cut most of my hair off a few months ago and it just makes life easier and I definitely look more sophisticated. When I miss the long hair? I just clip in my hair extensions, which also takes around 5 minutes.

I am motivated to follow my daily routine if I keep a diary, I often look over my schedule during breakfast. I buy myself a really nice diary and a really nice pen - and suddenly it feels like I have my affairs in order! I write everything in my diary and I never miss anything out. It's so good to have things planned out because it completely abolishes stress. I even plan my specific times to look at my emails, when I have breaks - which you should always give yourself - and social events. When I know I have something coming up, as I write in my diary I also make my travel arrangements at the same time so I can write in which time to get on the train etc. It makes life so much easier for the sake of a few moments. At the same time, as much as my illness doesn't agree with spontaneity - I love being spontaneous, so I don't over-plan. I will leave myself a lot of free time so I can decide at that time what I want to do.

Tips for during the day to help you get through? Have a set of earphones so you can listen to music. Make yourself various playlists and listen to whatever ones for your mood, for example: a calming playlist, a happy playlist, an upbeat playlist... they really do help shape your mood for the better. It's good to have those so that you can turn them on and get an immediate lift. Another tip I follow is that I always have a bottle of water with me and something for snacking: which is usually a few nuts. I find when I become dehydrated or hungry through the day and if I don't necessarily have the time or am in the place to help that, sipping water and snacking really stops that 'hangry', (that's hungry and angry), feeling from blossoming.

Importantly, I recommend everyone makes time to do what they love. For me at the moment, that's writing, reading and exercising. I never book myself completely up to the point where I don't have 15 minutes of doing what I enjoy in a day. Writing and reading are very calming activities but at the same time they are very stimulating. Exercising, as we all know, is one of the best ways to get an endorphin rush - also seeing results in my body is a really nice motivator to continue, looking my best inspires me to keep going with my exercise regimes and I always feel good following a workout. Keeping physically healthy will always help with your mind, making an effort with your diet too is another way to keep you feeling good - don't restrict yourself in a way where you feel grumpy, just make the effort to have more fruits and vegetables and treat your 'treats' as a treat! I have a sweet tooth, so there are times I would eat a lot of chocolate and then that would make my skin bad and then that in turn, would make me feel bad. Having little portions of those things you crave is healthy, bingeing is never a fantastic idea for me.

One of the changes I made to my life was choosing to wind down around bedtime, recently I've been hooked on a few TV shows so I watch until around 22:00, then I turn off my social media and read until around 11pm. This is the hardest part of my routine: learning to wind down. I get excited for my bed because I always make my bed in the morning after I wake up and I make it look really comfortable for coming home to. I almost christen my evening by lighting candles, I blow them out once I go to get into my bed. I always have a fruit tea before I sleep, it helps me a lot when I have insomnia. Turning off social media out of everything is probably the hardest because I always reach out to my phone when I can't sleep, it's really counterproductive. However, occasionally looking at odd funny videos on my phone can be good and I just set my alarm for the next morning and nod off.

I hope these 'little things' help some of you, of course I am not telling you all that this is how you should live - these are just a few of the changes I've made in my life which make my day a bit easier and happier. Please read this article in the context of the other pieces, I follow this routine along with taking my medications and attending my appointments. Also, I understand it's not easy. There are days I struggle to follow this! Of course when you are in the bottom of depression, you care less to wake up to an alarm and a nice cereal will not make everything change for you, but these small changes are steps towards getting a little bit of control over your life when it's really difficult. I hope you find this as helpful as I find it in managing my illness, or at least gives you food for thought.

London, UK

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 3

Professional Help

What do you do when you are dying? When your body registers that you’re about to die, it fights to survive, doesn’t it? In those potentially fatal moments, a moment that could be your last, everything in you kicks up a gear to try and avoid death. When a fire starts, usually you don’t sit in your chair and think about your own quality of life and whether or not it’s worth getting out the burning house – or do you? At which point did my illness become something that overtook all my common sense? At which point did my moods derail my life? How do I stop?

I try to stop myself from thinking, but I’m thinking about thinking and it makes it worse. I punish myself for thinking then I get addicted to punishing myself. I hate myself for punishing myself, so I become obsessed with hating myself. One after another, like dominoes – watching your life fall down in slow motion. There wasn’t a second I just blinked and thought ‘Wow, what devastation!’, I recognized my actions as I done them and I knew the destructive nature of my moods but I couldn’t stop it. My sensibility was frozen; the only way to thaw it out was to get someone to intervene.

My nurses always compliment my self-awareness; in fact, everyone compliments my self-awareness and my ability to articulate what others can’t conceive of. I think in such a peculiar and different way, I am a very deep person and that gives me a new breed of intellect, which is creative – the capacity to understand what others can’t. It is my purest quality and it is the point that makes me unique to others, I am the woman who men get to know and get stuck in a loop of conversation about their innermost thoughts with. I am intimate and I am able to make sense of a lot. When I go into an episode, because of the qualities of myself, most of the time I will be able to pick up when I am unwell. I know when I’m taking ill and I know my moods very well. However, where I struggle is getting help – not because I don’t know where to get it, or don’t realise I need it – but because my mind is telling me just to suffer through it.

I am more inclined to get help for my mania than my depression. Mania stops me sleeping, makes me irritable and before I know it I’m acting like this radical human being. Some people love Manic Mimi (Oh gosh, it even has a ring to it!), but she’s beyond reckless and I can’t control what I’m doing to the state where I lose my moral autonomy and start jumping out of moving cars. Mania often means I get so reckless that I don’t care for fixing it, because I always feel like I have no time to and sometimes, I even enjoy periods of it. However, with a Manic episode – more frequently, comes the psychosis. Sleep deprivation, irritability and then the psychosis – are the factors that urge me to get help.  These symptoms tell me I’m manic, and because I’m very aware of psychosis, and I am able to differentiate it as an illness, I always get help for it. With depression, I tell myself that I know I am depressed but it’s just impossible to stop and by the point where I even consider getting help – I just think ‘Why should I? Who really cares?’. I elect to suffer because depression basks in suffering. To my close ones, mania is easier to see than depression – perhaps because Mania is loud and depression is quiet, so they urge me to receive help.

My mixed episodes of the last few months were rapid cycling, I had never experienced that before. Every few days, every week, there would be an opposite episode. My mood was entirely on a pendulum. It wasn’t until I started having dangerous thoughts that I sought help, I remember thinking if I took all my sleeping pills amongst the other drugs I keep and just lay in my bath if I would die peacefully or not. Something in my brain was motioning me towards doing something dangerous. I’ve never been a self-harmer, when I have dangerous thoughts it isn’t to cope – it’s a plan to end my own suffering. I remember after having that conversation with myself, which by the way was usually a verbal conversation with myself aloud, that I decided my psychosis was getting too intense and I just left my house and went to my local surgery asking to see someone immediately. Something cracked in my head where I just thought ‘I can’t let myself end up like that’, and I don’t know what it was at all but I’m grateful I had that moment where I became immediately motivated to receive emergency care. Maybe I was scared, maybe I found my common sense – I don’t know, but I knew I had to see someone.

They do little assessments of you where they ask loads of questions to make sure you’re able to return back to your own house after your care. It’s like a little interview to trip you up, the way they ask questions to try and figure out how you’re feeling – it feels odd. I got loaded back onto my medications and some new ones, and I kept in touch with who I needed to – just to support my recovery. This care is life long for Bipolar Disorder, so what I’ve learned is: giving up my medications and my appointments will result in me getting unwell again. The doctors are really nice and the nurses are nicer. I’ve had a few psychiatrists I don’t get along with, although I’m secretly convinced they try to aggravate me so they can ‘expose’ my episodes. One thing they all have in common? They all try to help. Maybe I’ve just had a positive experience, but keep going back to your doctor if you need them. I can’t recommend enough how necessary it is to see a professional if you are not feeling like yourself and it’s seriously affecting you and your daily activities.

I’ve not had any lasting side effects; so far I think my medications have been successful, as my mood feels very stable after just a few weeks. There are things you can do to help yourself with your mental illness, and I always say that it’s so important, but know when to see a professional. I wish I could tell you all the ways I decided to improve my life and get to the place I am now that I just decided to do for myself, but getting professional help was one of those steps and I’m grateful for the nurses, doctors and professionals who worked to save me.
London, UK

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 2


Disclaimer: After this post being written for a week I decided to upload, I thought twice about being so open but I decided it was in the best interest of those reading it for me to narrate this from a more personal perspective, this will be the last time I ever discuss this.

I last wrote about cuts where I discussed cutting people out. I said I'd clarify further in another post. Here is your clarification.

Have you ever had your friends cry for you? Cry out of concern? It's painful. My empathic nature has meant that one of my biggest triggers in life - is people. I'm naive that I let people in when I shouldn't, toxic friends, relationships and relations. I take on people's feelings so much that it grips me and pulls me down with them, I am a partner for everyone in a vicious spiral. My real friends, they grieved for me as I went down in the sinking ships and begged me to cut my own toxic empathic behaviour which I justified as 'loyalty'.

I've had my heart broken, maybe twice or three times. There's been a lot of men in and out of my life. My last relationship, he was one of the men to break my heart - but worse, he was the first man who broke my spirit. It was the first time I ever felt stigma directly and it's probably the closest I have ever felt repercussions of actions of hate. Of course, I've met people who have been deceiving - but you usually see it coming, I couldn't. I ignored every possible sign because I just had faith and love for someone, and despite the numerous horrible things I've suffered during that - that really have no place to be discussed - I couldn't stop loving the person who didn't love me.

After it ended, despite the cruel nature, I stuck around for someone I thought could need me. It dawned on me who I spoke to wasn't all I believed he was, it was like talking to someone who became lifeless and negative. As the walls came down and truths came out, it became impossible to excuse all that was done and I had to come to terms with the reality of what my relationship was: make believe. I remember one of the last things that hurt me before I decided to pull myself back, a while after breaking up I was on a call with him making sure he was good and he remarked that I wanted to sleep with all his friends. Everything became very vicious, and then everything became a new reason to dislike myself.

In that period, I'd end every day with more things I'd hate about myself. I hated my naivety. I hated my empathic nature. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt. I hated that for the rest of my life I was going to have Bipolar Disorder and there are people out there who will hold it against me. I hated how helpless I was and so desperate for love that I invested everything in someone who pulled the rug beneath my feet.

When you realise the true nature of what something is, the good memories die off. Everything died. I can't remember things that happened in that period that make me happy, because the idea of it being false makes the memory sour. Nothing in that period I wanted to remember, so when I was finally on my knees - depressed, sent to crisis care - I did the most important cuts. I cut the people out who elected to make me loathe myself.

With anything that was dead, it had to be buried. I spoke about my process last time, but it's true. Blocking everything online, deleting everything and getting rid of all physical evidence of toxic relationships - not just with my ex, but other people too. I reference my break-up, prominently because it was responsible for my demise, that was the knife in my back that made me bleed out. My family and friends were angry and concerned, they too helped bury it all. The likelihood of me bumping into my ex is very low, and for the friends who might and even their friends too, they'll never tell me if they do. In fact, the person I felt so close to is completely gone and I have no knowledge of his life and now, the idea of his existence. I will never look at his social media, I will never be in his area, I will never be curious. I couldn't live with the concern that wasn't returned, I couldn't live my life thinking of someone who would never think of me - or love someone who never loved me. It's like he never existed, every reminder is gone and nobody will ever say his name again.

The last time I saw him was completely fictional. I was at my Graduate Fashion Show and I was backstage and a man who looked exactly like him walked in. For all of 2 seconds, I thought it was him and my stomach dropped. This was mid June, so I had already detached myself from everything for perhaps around 4 weeks and I was starting to feel better. When I saw 'him', all I felt was gratitude and I was taken aback by the thought that we were all wrong and finally he was here to see me on one of my most important nights. I couldn't look at this person with resentment, all I thought was 'you've made it'. I had planned with him before, celebrating my accomplishments together, so even the faintest idea that after everything he was there - made everything bad go away. However, it wasn't him. He wasn't there for the Fashion Show, Degree Shows or Graduation. For something that was dying, something I had buried, when I thought I had saw him but it was someone else - that was the funeral, it was done. Since then, I don't think about it. It's like it never happened. I haven't heard his voice or even seen his face, in a picture or anything, in months. I can't remember what he sounds like. I remember he would sleep in my bed and I would just look at him, and now I can't remember his face anymore. The only remains I have is the knowledge of it happening, even then, I remember less and less as time goes on.

I had to lecture myself until I taught myself to feel differently. You can't love someone who doesn't love you. You can't think of someone who doesn't think of you. You can't consider someone who doesn't consider you.

I know people wonder 'but what if you bumped into someone?' 'what if someone spoke to you?'. I will always have a kind nature, the same as I've always said about all of my exes and old friends that I will always be here for them because thats who I am. Just because I elect not to reserve an aspect of my life for those who hurt me, doesn't mean I wouldn't be there in their darkest day - I will be there for anyone at any time. I don't change my phone number or block calls, everyone knows I am available there. I am not a resentful individual, I don't resent anyone. But taking yourself out these dangerous situations is necessary for your survival, I wouldn't have coped had I not tried to remove all the pain out of my life.

When the pain and constant reminders of it were gone, I continued to go on and start living a life where I loved myself and loved all in it. It helped alleviate my depression, and I moved forward with no resentment and no fear of falling backwards.

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 1

Fresh Start: Cuts

I realised when I wanted to change my life for the better there were sacrifices to be made. For a long time I felt making little changes would change my whole look on life, and as much as those small changes did make me feel better, when trying to secure stability and happiness in my life, I had to make deeper cuts. I took out my emotional knife and I cut out all that I didn’t need, a deep clean, if you will.

When at my most ill, my anxiety is very high and I worry myself sick. I became accustomed to that heart sinking feeling so I started with my social media. In May, I removed the people who didn’t make me happy or made me unhappy. I removed all photos and posts about things that when I looked back at, made my heart sink. Why should I keep my social media a beacon of unhappy memories? I reduced my phone book to a small group of people that I am in consistent contact with and that I need to maintain relations with. There would be people I loved, who perhaps didn’t love or respect me, and I remember I would check up on their social media to see how they were doing and all I did was upset myself. So I cut out that behaviour, I don’t look ‘lurk’ and haven’t for months – so the people who hurt me, merely don’t exist now and I do not have touch with their lives whatsoever. However, I’ll clarify this further in another post.

Next thing to cut was my bedroom; I went through everything in my room and gave it a deep clean. Anything that I didn’t need anymore was given away or binned. I reduced the chaos in my life, getting rid of more and more things I didn’t need. It’s almost addictive once you begin, making my circles smaller and making my life less cluttered. After that I stopped doing things I didn’t like doing, sounds simple doesn’t it? I didn’t enjoy certain clubs, certain restaurants – so I stopped going. I didn’t like checking some social medias everyday – so I stopped checking as frequently. I didn’t like certain environments I’d go to, so I’d just stop: a mind-blowing concept, clearly. Choosing to not do the things that you don’t like doing, will change your life.

Now as I am writing I am aware that many of you may believe that making so many cuts is destructive and perhaps even a way of closing myself off, but it became the opposite. Once I cleared out all the negative aspects of my life – my life was opened up to meeting loads of new, incredible people and the spaces I lived in became happier. When I had so much negativity closing me in, it isolated me – I had to reduce myself to the ‘happy few’ to open myself up again.

Reducing all that negativity and stress, put me in a positive space. One where I could build upon my own fresh start, just starting things over again. So in May, I gave myself a deadline: July 7th, my 22nd Birthday. By my 22nd birthday I had to achieve my goal of feeling more satisfied with myself and my life. A very subjective deadline, but one that pushed me on knowing that my 22nd year of life was going to be the most excellent with very few bad days, and that only I had the means to work towards that.
London, UK

DAY 50: SERIES: Secrets To My Favourite Life

Singularly, the most intriguing thing about how my year has evolved is perhaps my fall from grace and the way I jumped straight back up from it. In May, I crashed rock bottom. I was deeply depressed, I was manic and I had another frightening psychotic break. I harboured a lot of my issues, many people rely on me and it’s because I’m a person who is very emotionally in-touch, there’s a welcoming aura to someone who is non-judgemental but communicative about emotions. As a result of that pressure I had become secretive, and I consistently put other people’s needs before myself: sacrificing the needs that would create normalcy in my own life.

Simply, I felt very needed: by friends, family and people I didn’t even like or know, per se. A glowing example is the second hand stress that I experience every time someone communicates an issue to me, I take his or her issue and I internalise it so much that I beat myself up about what I can’t help or resolve. Being such an empath meant I was always destined to be dissatisfied. Something I had come to recognize, which I have to rediscover time and time again, because I’m an obsessive thinker and dweller, is that I can’t fix the world. A new concept bred out of this however, is that I can fix myself.

In what could be described as a mini-series on this blog, I’m going to start writing about my steps to a new positive life. This will be a very personal series of writings and I hope that it provides you with some more insight into how mental health affects individuals. I will reference my own experiences and successes, I will suggest ways to be combative and productive against long-term psychological issues and just communicate how I’ve managed to maintain a very happy life. There will be a series of themes in relation to this and I hope you welcome the personable nature of these upcoming posts. I of course will ensure I don't seem preaching in tone, and I will state that I still do not know all the answers. I just feel it could be helpful or at least interesting to explain to you what has been consequential to my success despite my illness.

It would have been evident through quality, consistency and frequency that my voice has not been the same on here since March when I took a break. It’s hard to get into a routine and I could be vague and insist my busyness has contributed to those issues, which I suppose it has, but I have just felt insecure in my voice since initially vacating the blog. This community has been something I have poured myself into so when I was made to feel so small by other people, as a writer I just faded away, perhaps as a person too. I am now at the place in my life where I’m doing so well that my faith feels unshakeable. The people who made me feel small have been buried. I guess in some ways, the time out from writing this blog also became a hiatus for my life – one where I was able to re-engage my motivations and goals, and come back a stronger woman.

I hope the next few posts are engaging for you and at the very least stimulate conversations about mental health. I aim to return to my former glory in this community, in the sense of being honest and intimate once more with all who read, without feeling intimidated.

I recognize I have written a post about writing posts. Please enjoy the borderline nonsensical irony of that.

Oh, and thank-you for the hundreds of sweet birthday messages across my social medias and in my emails. I am a very grateful 22-year-old.
London, UK

DAY 49: 21 Things I Learned About 21

I am turning 22 years old on Friday and my life has very much taken a U-turn to the position it was in last July. As you get older, you get wiser - and I have clearly doubled in maturity and cleverness. I have experienced a lot, and for that - I am grateful.

Tomorrow, I am going to head to London in my first step of 'adulting' and so I'm writing right now (instead of packing my hand luggage), as I perhaps won't have the time around my birthday.

Here are 21 things I learned at 21:

1. Put your health first, there are consequences if you don't
2. Set aside time for your family, your life will be richer
3. True friends will always have a place in your life, and you will always have a place in theirs
4. You don't know when your 'last times' are, remember that in every experience
5. Make plans, see them through, you will see results
6. Take risks - you will kick yourself for every thing you wanted to say or do, but didn't
7. Forgive often, a life without resentment is simpler and happier
8. Forgive yourself, your relationship with yourself is the most important, be kind to yourself
9. Don't be afraid to get lost, you find the most incredible things when you're not looking
10. Don't pay attention to what other people are doing, your life is yours and can't be compared
11. Drop the things that aren't making you feel good
12. Seeking validation from others will never make you happy
13. Honesty is honestly the best policy
14. Be true to yourself, never change yourself to fit someone else's standards
15. Don't be afraid to ask for help
16. Love really is the answer
17. Speak whats on your mind
18. You will receive a whole lot more respect when you give it
19. Kindness is not weakness
20. It's never too late to try
21. Don't give up when it gets difficult, it will only make you tougher