Mental Health Status: 25% Llama

In honour of World Mental Health Day, I’ve decided to take some time out from my notes to treat my own mental health to some writing about something that isn’t Veterinary related. So if you don’t want to read about my current mental health status I suggest you close this post now.

I have always been very proactive about talking about mental health, even way before my own took over my whole life (zxs – cat just stood on the keyboard). Some people believe that talking about mental health frequently doesn’t actually help anyone. Everyone has different experiences and different coping mechanisms, but for me without people talking about their own experiences and also being able to access other people’s stories online, I’d probably be dead.

Mental health has so many faces and a lot of them you can’t pick out of a crowd. I have so many heads I have to put on to get through various different situations and can hide a bad day from pretty much anyone. You never know how someone is truly feeling, so please be kind to people. It costs absolutely nothing and is so valuable.

Over the last 6 years I have been to every corner of my own mind and through depths of hell I didn’t even know existed. My life changed forever when I was raped. One of the hardest things to deal with is losing your entire life as you know it. It’s like moving to a foreign country without ever being asked if you want to go. I haven’t slept properly for 6 years, I doubt my own thoughts every day and I have intrusive thoughts so crippling I feel like I’m drowning sometimes. I constantly blame myself and go over what happened every single day. It doesn’t get easier. Yesterday I had to go to the doctors and had to be examined which started a panic attack as it brought back a horrific set of memories. I’m hoping one day it won’t affect every single part of my life and I can get through aspects of life without tears. But at the moment I’m just trying to prioritise my responsibilities and try to block it out to get me through vet school.

I was talking to my favourite Northerner last night on the way home from a gig, and we started talking about going back to tell your younger self things. And it made me think about not only what I would say to myself, but also if I would change anything. I know this sounds silly as it is something that is never going to happen, but it helps to think of how things have changed your life and how you’ve got through it. Well it helps me anyway. Despite everything, if I had the power I don’t think I’d stop what happened from happening. Which surprised me and probably wouldn’t have been the case if you’d have asked me 18 months ago. I would not wish that on anyone no matter how much I hated them and we all know I hate quite a few people. In legal terms it is secondary to murder, at times I have wished it was murder instead.

Life would be so different without that one moment in time existing, but I don’t think my life would contain the people it does now without it. And I am surrounded by so many amazing humans. It’s a bit like looking back at past boyfriends and wanting to invert at some of the choices you’ve made. But I wouldn’t not go out with them if I was given my time again, because I learnt so much about myself and what I want in life by going though those relationships. My life is no where close to being where I want it to be. In terms of recovery I’m probably about 25% there. I fear I will never be anywhere near 100% but right now in the long run, I’d take 70% recovered.

Despite feeling like I’m going to have a mental breakdown every day, I’ve realised actually, I am as strong as hell. And I haven’t realised that until now. It is amazing what you can get through when you’re forced to. Some days I struggle to feed myself and just surviving the day is all I do. But I’ve survived 2287 days so far, 2287?!! (looking that up made me feel even prouder). That also means 2287 nights without proper sleep, but we’re going for the positive right now. My life is currently like an episode of Jerry Springer and you wouldn’t even believe me if I told you what I am currently dealing with. But I’m here, even if that is only 25% at the moment.

I’m off to eat Nutella out of the jar and cuddle the cat.

Much love

K x

 

Two Llamas

I’m not sure exactly what I want to say but I know I want to say something, so please stick with me for a bit. I always feel weird at the end of summer and with uni restarting. The dark nights definitely don’t help, I love being cosy and Christmas is everything, but I can’t help feeling so much sadder this time of year. I do feel slightly more excited about Autumn and Winter than normal, it obviously helps having things to look forward to, which I have been very proactive about. It also helps finally feeling like the vet school finishing line is ever so slightly closer.

The Dramatic Llama blog is also almost two years old?! How did that even happen?! I also wanted to reflect on who I was then and who I am now. I know I go on about being a different person to who I was 6 years ago and I’ll never go back to who I was before I was raped. But I have learnt that actually, I probably won’t be this person forever too. And that’s ok. I’m not quite sure what’s happened in my head. I have been having an absolutely rubbish time recently, if anything I have been having more flashbacks than ever. I haven’t slept for 2 nights. Lets hope it’s a blip.

So what’s actually happened since the Dramatic Llama was born? I passed my second, second year and looking back I am actually pleased I had to retake it. Going into the next year ill and exhausted would have set me up to fail and I would have ended up in the same position further down the line. It gave me the chance to get slightly more control back on my health and diet. My IBS is still all over the place, but my weight and diet is now more consistent. I also think I will be a better vet in the end because of it.

I’ve made more of an effort to get out and explore places. Even if a lot of those places involve cake or afternoon tea. Last week Llama Supporter and I cemented our old biddy status by becoming members of English Heritage so we can explore even more places over the next year and a bit. Just a heads up if you join with a one off direct debit payment you get a 15 month membership instead of 12. You also only need to visit 2.8 places a year to get your money back. Which I think is a pretty good deal.

I finally managed to write down what happened to me, something that would have never have happened without this blog. I still haven’t read my Honest Llama post back and at this moment in time I’m not sure if I’ll ever be ready to. Maybe next year I can hype myself up enough to do it. It is still the best therapy I have ever had. I have also seen many counsellors from general ones to those who specialise in rape or sexual assault cases.

I have learnt a lot but the main thing is it doesn’t help me on my road to recovery. Talking about it obviously does help, but being in control of what I talk about and when is still so important. Having to re-live it again and again to someone to discuss details is not helpful. I go over and over it in my head every day, I don’t need to add to it. As I have said before I am done with hiding how I feel to save the feelings of others. I hate that it is part of me more than anyone else ever could, but I am done with hating myself so much. It’s absolutely exhausting for one. At the moment there is nothing I really like about myself at all. Which is a pretty sad thing to say, but I’ve got to learn to like and hopefully maybe one day, love who I am again and I can’t do that by putting other peoples feelings before mine. If I’m having a bad day I might not be as good a friend or have to cancel plans. But it’s time to be selfish for my own mental health. So if I feel like having a pity party sometimes, I’m going to have one. Because quite frankly sometimes I deserve to feel sorry for myself.

Now I’m going to reward myself with a scone and some trashy tv. Thanks to everyone who has read my waffling posts and shown me love and support over the last 2 years. I hit 10,000 views last week! Which may be small fry to most, but I didn’t think anyone would even read it when I started it. Statistics have never been my goal, I just wanted to share what I was going through and give myself a creative outlet to get me through repeating a year. But as I keep saying, this has become so much more. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Much love, always

K x

Sorry, not sorry Llama

Hello,

It’s probably quite obvious, but I am having quite a busy summer! I keep meaning to post but some days I have been so tired I haven’t even eaten dinner. So blogging hasn’t been particularly high on my agenda. I will post about everything I have been up to at some point. But I have been spurred on tonight by an Instagram post I just read from Mutha.hood. If you don’t follow the account then you should, they make kick ass clothes and girl power inspired gifts.

The post was about apologising too much, it really hit a nerve and I have decided I am not apologising for who I am anymore. The last few posts I have started with an apology for my absence and lack of posts, well no more. Thank you for taking the time to read my rambling posts it really does mean a lot, but I am done being so apologetic all the time. It drives Llama Supporter round the bend for one, sometimes I don’t even know why I am saying sorry. I know how it started, I used to go out with someone that made every little problem and life hiccup my fault. As well as telling me I was fat all the time, he really was a catch. But I didn’t realise at the time. I have never had much self confidence when it comes to my appearance. I used to love who I was as a person but have never felt that I was nice looking in any shape or form, unfortunately this guy threw a ton of fuel on that fire too.

I lost the person I was and loved as you probably know, (if not then read my post called Honest Llama) so I am working on liking and hopefully loving the new version. I don’t mean in the sense of not being able to walk past any reflective surface without looking at myself, I mean liking the voices and thoughts in my head. I probably don’t mind being alone because there are so many twats inside my own head sometimes I am never really alone. My Christ that makes me sound madder than ever.

What I am trying to say is, some days my anxiety and intrusive thoughts literally suffocate me. I can’t function and think of anything else. On those days eating is an achievement. I never ever feel alone and in turn I never get a break from any of it because it is relentless. I am positive my thoughts run on Duracell batteries. But I am done with apologising for them. I am not what happened to me, but it did happen. And it is probably, well I’m pretty certain, it’s never going to go away. At some point every day I have the it was my fault thought and face something I can’t cope with. But currently that is part of me. I am so tired of trying to juggle everything and also apologising for my weird and wonderful behaviours so right now, if you want to be my friend that’s what I come with. I will go to the ends of the Earth for friends but often feel it is one sided.

I have been to hell and back inside my thoughts over the last 6 years. Believe me, its absolutely exhausting and half the time I don’t even know how I have got through it. It’s like it’s been an outer body experience and someone else is in control. So now it’s time to try to take bits of my life back. Starting with apologising for who I am right now. I am not a bad person and I deserve to exist. Hardly anyone will probably get this reference, but I am going to make it anyways. In Smokey & The Bandit, at the end when Bandit is like, it’s over Snowman, we’re not going to make it. And Snowman is like no, we’re not giving up. And Bandit says they don’t even know who you are, you can get away and Snowman replies with well it’s about time they met me and overtakes the Trans-am. That’s where I am in my life. I’ve been cruising with a full load of hellish thoughts, not Coors beers, and now it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and take control. So you can either come along or not.

Much love, always

K x

Mean Llama

Hello!

As usual sorry for the lack of posts, unless you find them annoying, then hi! Exams finished a month ago and if you follow me on social media, you’ll know I somehow managed to pass?! I cried, in front of the vets, as I was on placement at the time. But yaaassssssss, two years (hopefully) left to go!

Since exams, I have been on vet school placements. Most of this summer will consist of placements, I have equine, exotic and small animals to look forward to before term restarts again. Thankfully the people I have met so far have been absolutely amazing and have taught me so many new things, as well as helping me to be more confident in my abilities. I have throughly enjoyed every moment so far.

I am currently writing a list of other nice things to do this summer on weekends. So far it consists of a large number of afternoon tea locations, so I should probably join a gym as well. If anyone has any recommendations or has recently had a good day out, send them my way. I am also currently searching for something to do for my birthday, as it’s now officially my birthday month, because one day just isn’t enough.

As well as sending out a little life update on my boring existence, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about something else. As most of you know, I find the beginning of July incredibly difficult. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please give my post called Honest Llama a read. So this is just a little message to say I am really sorry if I am not fulfilling my usual friendship duties at the moment. I still love you all, unless we’ve fallen out then obviously not, and I am so grateful for your love and friendships. Unfortunately there is nothing anyone else can do. And as yet I haven’t found a way to get through it effectively.  I really do hope that one day I can genuinely get on and enjoy July without a second thought. I have tried doing nothing on that day, gone away for the weekend, booked fun things to do, but each time I have a panic attack at some point and usually spend the day in tears. I am fully aware of how difficult I am to be around sometimes. One of the main reason I don’t talk about it, apart from the fact I still can’t without breaking down, is if I told someone every time I thought about it, I would never talk about anything else. And no one wants to be around someone like that. Six years later, I still think about it, in some form or another, about 6 times a day on a good day. About 15 times today so far. Living inside my own head is hard enough, I would never want to inflict that on someone else, especially loved ones. I know they say a problem shared is a problem halved and all that, but not with this. I have to stop and tell myself off sometimes. I am trying very hard. The current advice I am working on is would I say that to a friend? And if not, then why am I saying it to myself?!

I know I am my own worst enemy sometimes and no one is meaner to me than me. I am still getting used to my new personality and who I am… in a way I guess I am grieving for who I was and my life as it was. Not that it was perfect in any shape or form. But very few people expect their personality and mindset to change so much during their lifetime. Especially when it isn’t their choice. It may be said that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, but Christ. In some ways I have never felt weaker.

Anyways, I won’t waffle on because I could write about it all night and I’m trying not to beat myself up. So, normal communications and socially acceptable behaviour should resume in a few weeks.

Much love as always

K x

Bee Day Llama

In April I took Maggot to The Dalloway Terrace for an amazing (6 week early) birthday treat. As you all know, I am obsessed with afternoon tea! So a few months ago, I heard that the Bloomsbury Hotel was doing an afternoon tea at The Dalloway Terrace, dedicated to the honey bee. Which happens to be Maggot’s favourite creature apart from cats. Due to exams and life stresses we couldn’t arrange a date in May to go and it finishes before her actual birthday date, so we decided to go super early!

To make the day a true Birthday treat, I decided one event was not enough, so off we went to a vintage fair in Kensington first, where Maggot made some amazing purchases. I made a conscious effort not to take any cash so I wouldn’t buy anything, which I was pretty proud of. There was temptation everywhere with rooms and rooms full of amazing, sparkling gems. Alas, we then took a small detour to Oxford Street, as we were early for our booking. But I had to drag Maggot out of Primark and round the corner to the hotel to make it on time.

The terrace has been transformed into an Instagram dream with flowers and honey bees everywhere. I started taking photos, naturally, whilst we were waiting for the tea to arrive, which was unlimited, the dream. I made it through three cups before the sandwiches and cakes arrived. I have attached the menu here so you can see exactly what we had. The savoury treats were also replenished once we had finished. I started to fear I would need to have a break before starting on the cakes. Most people claim to have a dessert stomach, I am missing one of these, but I do actually have a dedicated tea stomach. I am currently considering a career change to a professional tea drinker.

I rang the day before we went to confirm our booking and inform them that it was a birthday treat for my sister, they did not disappoint and sung happy birthday to Maggot who then realised she had another cake to eat! She solidered on and finished everything!

I would highly recommend going if you are looking for a treat over the next couple of weeks. The food was absolutely incredible, the staff were so lovely and made Maggot feel really special and the attention to detail, including tiny sugar bees, was second to none. I’ve added a link to the booking page here. If afternoon tea isn’t your thing (you weirdo), they have a really good brunch and dinner menus too which they also serve in the beautiful floral setting. I did consider returning again, because as my idol Iris Apfel says, “more is more and less is a bore.” But just for now I am cutting back, as I recently took treat yo’self slightly too far!

Right now for the photos! As usual this is just a small selection of the many, many on my camera roll!

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If you are still there, thank you! I have super bad cake cravings now! If you have any afternoon tea recommendations or aesthetically pleasing photo locations, please send them my way! I am already making plans for Summer!

Much love

K x

Llama Moon

Hello, it’s me. Not Adele, sorry.

Apologies for the silence, I have lots going on at the moment. None of which I want to talk about, at least not at the moment.

But what I do want to talk about is periods. So look away now if that’s not your thing. You may feel like this is far too much information, but as you will know from previous posts, I tend to over share. But I am not apologising, I’m fed up with it being a hushed subject and I wish someone had passed on this information to me 221 periods ago. Alas, I am that old.

Some people are blessed when it comes to periods and hardly suffer at all, then there’s people like me. I remember the exact date of my first one because they have been traumatic from the very beginning (15th January 2000 incase you were wondering). I have tried every painkiller I can get my hooves on, I have tried many forms of contraceptive pill and a heap of alternative methods. Unfortunately it’s pretty difficult to have 2 days off every single month just to get over it and save yourself the embarrassment of leaking through your clothes. So I am usually faced with soldiering on despite feeling absolutely vile and buying the entire stock of Feminex Express from Boots. If you think this sounds melodramatic, firstly, rude, secondly when I talk about pain, the cramps are unbearable, genuinely, and this is coming from a girl who put her own shoulder dislocation back in.

I have been contemplating trying different period products for a while, because lets face it there are loads. One in particular, I have picked up in the shop on three separate occasions and put it back, the Moon Cup. I finally forced myself to get one a few weeks ago and have been mad at myself ever since for not getting one sooner. If you’re like what the actual hell is that? Then it’s a menstrual cup. And it is exactly what it sounds like. They come in two sizes mostly depending on whether or not you have been through childbirth. But there is a handy guide on the side to help you select the right one for you. It also comes with a long stalk you cut to fit you exactly. Almost made to measure.

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I am not exaggerating when I say it’s changed my life. If you have been around me recently you already know the many benefits, as I have already over shared with you. If you haven’t, first of all, it isn’t as awful or scary as you think. You can’t even feel it, honestly. I completely forget it’s even there. The best part is I forget my period is even happening. There is an (extensive) instruction leaflet with diagrams and a helpline to ring incase you get it stuck! I did have a mild panic when I read this, but I am not easily embarrassed, it’s common knowledge that I got stuck, like completely and utterly stuck, in a top in Miss Selfridge and the shop assistant had to get me out of it and I survived. If the thought of ringing a helpline makes you want to invert, you can always ask me. If someone asks me for help I am the least judgemental person in existence. You could literally tell me absolutely anything and I’d try to help you the best I could. That being said, I think there is an extremely small chance of you getting it stuck as it is so easy to use. I mean never say never and all that, but it has not been a fear realised yet. Something I didn’t expect to happen, mostly because I had given up hope, my periods are lighter, shorter and less painful. I’m not quite sure how that has happened?! Answers on a postcard please, but I don’t really care because it is amazing and I am just happy it’s happened.

There are many personal benefits, obviously these are based on what your currently period throws at you every month and they might not be as extreme as mine. All I know is it has given me so much more freedom, like those sanitary towel adverts always claim they give you, lies compared to this. Nothing is stopping me now. As well as the personal benefits, you are also doing your bit for the World. No more disposable sanitary products to go to landfill or heaven forbid into the sea, you don’t want marine creatures deaths and my complete disapproval on your conscious now do you. I got mine from Boots, when I was stocking up on Feminex Express. They are around £22.00 to buy, which was something that put me off to start with, especially as I was worried if I would actually get on with it. The advantage card points helped soften the blow slightly. But it was worth every penny and due to sanitary product prices, you’d probably see a saving within a year anyway!

So there we go, just when you thought I possibly couldn’t over share anymore than I already do. Like I said if you’re genuinely curious please feel free to message me, I am more than willing to help or discuss it with you. This isn’t a sponsored post by the way, completely free advertising. I just felt that if there was anyone else out there suffering as much as I was or someone wanted to know what they were like but was too scared to try one then sharing might help.

Right I’m off to bed, so I can get up bright and early and stare anxiously at my revision before I start for the day.

Much love as always

K x

Self Love Llama

I’m currently propped up on the sofa with a bad back. I’m hoping it’s not my advancing years already! But breathing hurts right now. So I thought I’d use my time wisely instead of scrolling through Instagram comparing myself to everyone.

Thank you to everyone who messaged me or commented on my last post about friendships and feeling like you have a temporary existence. It’s always nice to know you’re not the only one, it can be a very lonely place inside your own head. Thankfully, very slowly, talking about mental health and feelings is becoming more commonplace. There is a long way to go but it’s all going in the right direction.

I always feel better when the clocks change and the days get longer. I am also being kinder to myself. For two reasons, firstly, I was listening to The Fringe of It, again, and they were discussing the difference between how you talk to yourself and how you talk to friends. This hit a nerve with me, I never sugar coat anything with friends, and always tell them the truth, but I definitely put myself down a million times more than I ever would a friend. I seem to have got into a habit of only ever seeing the negative in myself. I rarely, if ever, celebrate something I have achieved or if I happen to have a good outfit/hair day. I’ll only notice what I perceive as negative.

It takes about 25-30 photos to get one I actually like of myself. If I’m photographing something else or someone else I’ll take less than half. I do not photograph well at all. I don’t care what anyone says I have much photographic evidence. It may seem so silly but it genuinely gets me down sometimes. I am fully aware there are hundreds of worse things, but lately, along with my anxiety getting worse, I have felt more and more unhappy about my appearance, especially in photos. So I am slowly trying to teach myself to be kinder and stop hating on myself so much.

The second reason was because I happened to see something someone shared on Instagram. It was so simple but completely changed my outlook. It simply said ‘Don’t believe everything you think.’ The last few weeks that simple sentence has stopped three panic attacks. As I said, my anxiety has been slowly consuming me lately, it is so easy to believe every awful thought that comes into your head and let it eat away at you. So now I am trying, each time I have an attack or a chain of horrible thoughts to simply repeat that sentence and question what I am thinking, instead of losing control.

I know everyone has their faults, but I used to like who I was. I suppose this is all still part of the recovery process, but I constantly feel like I am mourning the death of myself, or who I was. I have had many incredible opportunities and adventures since then, which I am so grateful for. And I have some of the most wonderful people in my life, but I feel like I’ve had a soul transplant. Like some weird sci-fi movie. I know a lot of people didn’t even know me then and those that do, probably wouldn’t really notice the difference in me. Mostly because I kept everything hidden for a long time and also I was and still am, so conscious of the fact that it is all a lot for friends to deal with. A lot of the time I feel like it is my problem to deal with, which it is, and if I shared with people how many times I think about it I’d send them over the edge with me. Nothing will change what has happened and I am trying my best to cope and get on with life. I just need to learn to love who I am again and sometimes I am unsure how to do that.

I need to stop waffling! Basically what I am trying to say is, I am trying to be kinder to myself and so should you, because there is only one of me and one of you!

Enjoy eating ridiculous amounts of bank holiday food. Much love as always!

K x