Recently I’ve been stressing myself out trying to find the ‘one’.
Turning 20 made me think that for some reason I don’t have much time left and that no one is going to love me. That I’ll end up a sad old spinster and only ever experience the love of my friends and family (which I’ve realised is more than enough love for anyone). I’ve been throwing myself into tinder conversations and devoting way too much time to guys who want nothing more than a dick appointment.
Today after Isaac left, I watched Rebel Wilson’s new film ‘Isn’t it romantic’ on netflix and the whole moral of the film is that sometimes you need to actually just love yourself and that finding true love for yourself can be way more powerful than anything else.
That’s what I’ve realised has been lacking from life recently, not guys but true belief and confidence in myself as a human being.
I used to believe people when they told me I was smart or pretty, and I’d like to think I do so now but I really don’t. The words go in one ear and out the other. Currently compliments seem to evoke a knee jerk sort of reaction in me. How could possibly think a 20 year old girl who’s in her third year of medical school was smart? How could a guy possibly find me attractive?
I now understand I need to prioritise loving myself over loving a guy. After all, as Rebel Wilson says in the film (apologies if it’s a famous quote):
You can search the whole universe and never find someone more worthy of love than yourself.
And on that, I’d really better go show some self-love and make myself dinner now it’s 1am and get some much needed beauty sleep.
I’ve never really believed in the whole love at first sight thing. Not because I’m a particularly cynical person, I think life can have it’s moments that seem straight out of a netflix romantic comedy.
However I also did believe, that the person I would end up with would be someone I spent years in that grey ‘friends-but-there’s-a-spark’ type area. This is because unsurprisingly, the more time I spend with someone, the more I tend to warm to them and love their traits which annoyed me at first.
I never thought I could meet someone who made me question what I was doing with my life after spending two hours with them. Then I met Issac.
He’s Australian and travelling Europe. He wants to go to university in Munich or somewhere else in Germany to save on fees. He’s the worst person I could fall in love with and yet here we are.
He’s got no solid plans for the future and do you know what? I love it. He’s the same age as me, he should be out living his best life. He makes me question what I’m doing at uni, neck deep in an intercalated degree I’m hating every minute of when life is so short.
He left to get his bus to Glasgow and we’ve snapchatted ever since. I feel like someone has tore my heart open and yet I don’t even know him properly yet?
I know we have the inside joke of ‘fair and oath’ and he likes tim-tams and is not keen on grubbs. He seems a little bit racist and bad at budgeting. He’s good at winking and has a weird obsession with Jonny Sins (the porn actor).
I think of his face and it warms my soul. His cheeky smile and the way he told me my eyes were beautiful- orange near the pupil and greener towards the outside. No one has ever remarked on that before? He called me beautiful, stunning and said I had a great smile. He might have just been trying to get his leg over so to speak but there was something in him that seemed so genuine.
True to his word he followed me on instagram and accepted his facebook friend request. He replied to all my messages, even though I was having a bit of an existential crisis (and yes he was the one I thought to ask for advice). He told me if my end goal is to want to help people then maybe I can do something I love alongside pursuing a career in medicine (but the more I think about it- what is a greater escape than a good book?).
In the spirit of the galantis/ one republic song ‘bones’- he makes me heartbeat go faster, I think that I love him.
But surely I can’t? Love doesn’t happen in an instant? I’m not prepared to give up on the idea we could one day be together just yet, I’m going to continue to message him and hope that if I stop, he messages first. I’m not going to put my life on hold for him so to speak but do I plan to ask him to facetime? yes. Do I plan to book a train or flight down to london to see him if it comes to it? yes.
I’ve not read the self help book ‘Yes man’ that’s sat on my desk since january now, but I think I can make a pretty safe guess that Danny Wallace would urge me to go for it and see where it takes me. I stepped out of my comfort zone messaging him first, so why not broaden some more of my horizons?
Self care isn’t just about lush bathbombs and facemasks, it can be taking a day off from emails, taking the bus instead of walking or making yourself breakfast for the first time in months.
As you will be able to read from my personal diaries, I’ve really been struggling these last few weeks as I feel like time is ticking and everything is moving too fast but I’ve decided to try and seize some control back and vow not to submit another piece of coursework late this semester (and I mean after my extension finishes kind of late). Nobody is going to get me out of this cycle, there’s no ‘saviour’ so I’m going to have to do it myself and here’s how I plan to.
I’ve made a list of self care orientated tasks I honestly believe have the potential to change my life and make me that little bit happier so I’d thought I’d share my list..
Prioritise uni work one day a week
Since I find it very overwhelming to go out in the morning then find focus to do uni work in the afternoon or at night, I’ve decided to dedicate a whole day to core uni work each week. No uni related society work or admin, a whole day on core lecture content/revision/dissertation work. When I do uni work it makes me feel better about everything and not having to think about going out later/socialising that day means I will be able to concentrate on that and that only.
Have one or two set days a week to reply to emails that can wait
I read recently in a ‘How to not let your dissertation rule your life’ article that if you spend the first part of your working day, often when you are at peak concentration and creativity, answering emails, you are putting other people’s agendas above your own.
Not plan too many coffee dates
When I’m not coping, everything stresses me out and having too full a schedule turns me into a nervous wreck. Something I have always got anxious about despite my best efforts to tell myself it’s silly is catching up with friends over coffee but the problem is that this is the way most of my friends enjoy catching up. When I get there, I have an amazing time and I’m so glad I went. They are a positive thing so I am going to aim to do at least one a week, but what isn’t helping right now is putting pressure on myself to catch up with everyone. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind and all that jazz.
Spend less time on tinder
Don’t get me wrong I think tinder can be a really good laugh, some of the chat up lines and cheek of boys is ridiculous.
However I have been on one too many tinder dates recently where I’ve had a great time, felt a really connection, only to be told afterwards that they don’t want anything serious and we should just ‘keep it casual’.
I really wish I could do the whole casual dating thing but it’s just not my nature, my jealous streak can’t handle the thought of people seeing other people and to be frank, I think I’m now clear enough in my own head to say I want to be in a relationship at this point in my life.
Talking to guys is fun but it’s also very time consuming so I’m planning not to make any new tinder matches and let the guys I talk to on messenger message me first, I guess we’ll find out who’s actually keen this way and who’s not worth my time, time that could be spent focusing on myself.
Get back into eating regular meals
I didn’t think the whole meal planning thing I was doing was successful until I stopped and then now (a month or so later) I realise I haven’t ate a proper meal in weeks unless with my parents.
Ideally, all the meals would be healthy but trying to be realistic, it would be good just to get back into a routine of some sort and stop having Nutella on toast for dinner with Doritos for ‘dessert’.
Now all my birthday cake is finished, I do want to get back on track health wise so going to start watching my intake again, just no extreme diets just yet.
Get back in control of my spending
In the past month I’ve spent £67 on eating out and takeaways with another £70+ on nights out.
Buying overpriced food at the hospital for convenience or ordering a McDonald’s on uber eats because I’m too anxious to go to the shop round the corner doesn’t make me feel good at all.
Getting Uber’s after my tinder dates as too embarrassed to do the walk of shame or having to get one to class because I’m running late again.
Wasting money rightfully makes me feel guilty so from now on I’m going to try and reign it in. I’ve already said to my flatmate I’m going to try and give up takeaways for lent so we can see how that goes. I’ll replace Uber’s with buses and hopefully that will cut costs.
I can then afford to treat myself to things that do bring me happiness like clothes and makeup or even better, experiences, instead.
Your list of things to cut down on or do to actively improve your mental wellbeing, might be completely different from mine but I urge you to make one and try and stick to it this week, it may not strike you as standard self care techniques but I can guarantee it’s more effective than a bath bomb. Everyone will have different little things that stress them out but is there a way round them or alternative you can think of? There usually is
Over the last 12 days or so, my mental health has deteriorated to the point where I am unable to keep up with any of my commitments. I’ve sobbed uncontrollable tears over a boy I’ve barely known a fortnight. I’ve been anxious walking to see friends, worried I might trip up on the bumps on the pavement or that people are secretly laughing at me.
The doctor says I need to give the increased dose of antidepressants time to work but I feel like my life is going by in a blur and I’m not making the most of it. I don’t know what day it is anymore, where I am supposed to be or what I’m supposed to be doing.
Last Friday, I was meant to have my project proposal submitted for my dissertation but as the deadline drew closer and my flatmate had a mental health crisis of her own, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t have the concentration, motivation or energy to cram it in one day. I applied for a week-long extension (citing migraines as the cause of course- less questions right?), it was granted and then I received an unexpected email.
It was my year coordinator from the med school, sending her condolences for what must have been a difficult few weeks for me and asking me to meet soon. I had only met her once or twice before through class rep work and was unsure what to make of her loud personality, Essex girl appearance and of course, unmistakable Glaswegian accent.
However the meeting was far more valuable than I ever could have imagined. Her advice was basic but it was what I needed to hear. She told me about her own personal struggles (something staff rarely do in case it is deemed unprofessional) with migraines and chronic pain- going as far to say I should ‘tell’ my GP I need sumatriptan prescribed. She said I was clearly a very caring and empathetic person but had to practice more self-preservation and that it isn’t selfish, to put yourself first sometimes.
She said in from my emails she could tell what type of person I am, that I have a great bedside manner and will make a brilliant doctor. That I’m smart (she looked at my grades), hard-working and going over and above what’s expected of me a lot of the time by getting involved in various societies. She gave me a hug and reassured me that I’m a fighter not a wallower, and not the sort of person to give up.
She’s right, I’m not the sort of person to give up. I don’t want to be defined by my mental health, I don’t want to be on edge like my flatmate and I’m not going to let it happen. I’m going to start prioritising myself again, not letting negative energy from others drain my optimism about the future. Because I am optimistic that’s the thing, I know things won’t stay this way forever but I also recognise that I have more freedom to control my life than I’ll probably ever have as a student and I need to seize control of what I can influence, and not worry about what I can not.
I walked to the bus, full of positivity and determination to ‘seize control of my destiny’ as cheesy as it sounds. I met Helena, a girl on my course who is lovely but I’ve never really spoken to apart from on nights out, and with an infectious smile and work hard/play hard ethic, it was hard not to look forward to the future. She offered to send me resources to help with coursework (which she didn’t need to do) and help me lookout for nice three bedroom flats (which she also didn’t need to do).
Sometimes when you’re feeling really down you forget that people care and want to help and not just close friends either, but even people you sort of know from somewhere and practical strangers. It might have only been a small part of their day but their acts of random kindness made mine that bit more bearable. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, it comes in a number of different shapes and sizes, but the culminative effect of letting people in and letting them help you, that can change your life.
The last day or so has been a rapid fall from cloud 9 back to reality. I don’t think fall is really a strong enough word as it implies still a fair amount of gradualness and not the harsh plummet to the solid cold face of reality.
I was inspired to include my love life (or lack of it) after reading dolly alderton’s book and hoped it would give context since relationships and mental health are inextricably linked.
I didn’t mean for my second entry to sound like a 2019 bridget Jones. You hear whispers of teenagers and their raging hormones. As I turn 20 next week, I wonder when I’ll go on a first date and not fall in love.
But that’s the thing, I don’t know love in that way. I’m surrounded by love in my life- my friends and family are the most supportive bunch of people in the world. But I don’t know romantic love, but infatuation and I are old friends.
I sleep with a guy, or even just kiss him or even just meet him, and I think about him for days, weeks and even months after. I can’t sleep and I can’t concentrate on anything else (I wish it put me off food to have some sort of upside but alas no).
This time was no different from the others. I fall for a guy, after he explicitly says he doesn’t want a relationship, and then get annoyed when he’s honest and tells me he’s sleeping with other girls. He says being casual and exclusive are antonyms. Is wanting someone to go on dates with, hang out or booty call that isn’t sleeping with someone else, really that much to ask? I don’t need a good morning text, to make it Facebook official or for you to even stay for breakfast. I just want to occasionally feel close to someone and haphazardly see where things go. Is that really so unrealistic?
L may have well suggested I update my tinder to say “swipe only if you’re looking for marriage” but I’m not looking for marriage? I’m looking to avoid an STI. I don’t want to be some part of a harem.
I want to know he’s only sending me the cheesy pick up lines and the goodnight texts, the inside jokes. I want to be the only girl sleeping in his bed and the only one who knows how he’s feeling deep down. Is having one night stands with only one person now classed as commitment?
I’m hurt and I’m confused and to be honest, becoming a nun right now doesn’t seem too bad an option. A lot less heartbreak involved in abstinence. A lot less tears.
I don’t get life sometimes, I may seem wise and clued up in my blogs but really I have no idea what’s going on. It seems everytime I think I’m getting somewhere, finally swimming and not drowning, I’m pulled back under. I have one good day and then it all goes to shit. Having two good days in a row seems an impossible task.
Yesterday was good. I woke up feeling on cloud 9, in the arms of my casual fling which I hope to turn out to be anything but casual. I laugh with my flatmate when we realise a condom wrapper was still on the floor from the night before, and the sixteen people who viewed the flat that morning would have saw it, making sense of the strange looks. I get dressed and will myself to go to the physiology lab to help out my friend with her dissertation study (which ironically I’ve spent more time on than my own dissertation). Despite slight flutters of anxiety when the machine doesn’t recognise my heart rate, in the end it goes well. I then chill in pleasance cafe with a melon pot and a blueberry muffin (#balance) before having a really fun time at netball. I buy pizza subs for dinner because it’s what I really fancy and chat to my flatmate before having an early night.
Today was not so good. It started off not too bad, I didn’t sleep in and made the bus to the hospital. I chatted to my friend Issy in the year above and she reassured me that everyone feels lost during intercalation. I had my new (hospital-approved) checked trousers on and I felt quite nice for a change. Then I sat in on a consultation, something I’d normally be really excited to have the opportunity to do, and I could feel my mind drifting away. I tried to be excited when being shown TRAK for the first time and adding a patient to the UK-wide preterm birth clinic database, but I felt like the world was weighting down on my shoulders. My friday submission deadline loomed over me but it wasn’t just that. My supervisor said she was too busy to speak to me with patients and told me to come back at 1:30pm. I went back and she was too busy so I went to get the bus home. The bus broke down and another one didn’t come until 2:10pm. I started to get stomach cramps and didn’t know what was happening, all I wanted was my bed. I lay on my bed with my hot-water bottle chatting to my flatmate and eating a mcdonalds off uber eats, then she left to go on her date and I was alone.
I painted my nails three times before I was happy with a colour and I’m still not happy with it. I try watching my favourite soaps but I don’t have the energy to finish an episode. I eat some of my chocolate and all I feel is guilt. I feel knots in my stomach. I’ve wasted 5 hours doing nothing but can’t seem to bring myself to concentration. My mouth is dry, heart sore, stomach doing cartwheels and all I want is for my body to relax but I can’t.
Today has been an interesting day, its had it’s ups and downs but I’ve never felt more alive than I do right at this minute.
Last night I took a chance and went on a date with a boy I met online who was a stranger apart from a few days of chatting and a thorough facebook stalk.
Inspired by my friend’s tinder escapades, I decided to take a chance and do something outside my comfort zone. It sounds incredibly risky but my flatmate knew exactly who I was with, where I was and was on standby to jump in a taxi and come and get me if I got the slightest uncomfortable feeling.
Maybe it’s the lack of romance of late, after my ‘year off boys’ to focus on myself, but I’ve genuinely got feelings, even if I don’t know what they are yet. I can’t stop smiling, even when the surroundings are inappropriate (creeping out my data analysis lecturer with my enthusiasm) and tasks that are normally gruelling feel lighter and more possible.
I’m writing this in a rush, as I have to get ready to attend a renuion event for my first PBL group (Am I even the same person?) but I felt I had to capture my feelings at this time. If you want to save yourself reading some ramblings from a love-struck teenager- the songs linked below capture everything perfectly.
I wouldn’t say I’m a spontaneous person by any stretch or a risk taker, but when L asked me to meet him after just a day or so of messaging back and forth, I said yes and I’m so glad I did.
Fear started to creep in as I stood at the side of the path waiting on my lift from this mysterious man but as he opened his mouth to say hi, I relaxed. L later said that I seemed confident as I jumped into his car that night, my mum has always said I should have been an actress.
His easy-going nature made me feel at home, L may be seen as conventionally attractive or he might not. Maybe I should have recorded my thoughts as soon as I met him as now after one day together, I smile as I think of his face and as cheesy as it is, think he’s the cutest guy I’ve ever met.
We talked for what seemed like only a few minutes before he went out to get a cigarette and I checked the time- 1:30am- 5 hours had passed. The credits for ‘Valentines day’ (my rom-com pick) had long been played- I couldn’t tell you a single thing about the plot.
The teasing and chat continued, we flirted with both innuendo and deep personal chat about our times of unhappiness. I felt a rush as he said he felt vulnerable around me- I felt full of emotion- not that I let on.
I’m trying not to pin my chance of happiness of one guy but its hard when you get those gooey feelings. I’m seeing him again in 4 days time and it seems like a lifetime away.
I need to make sure I stick to my true self and don’t pretend to be someone I’m not (a red wine drinker and smoking fan) as if he genuinely likes me then he won’t mind.
Like that famous saying:
Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind- Dr Seuss
Is it normal to start day-dreaming about a guy meeting your friends after one day? him accompanying you to a dance? going on multiple future dates?
Maybe not, but for now I’ll take being a lovestruck gooey teenager over feeling lonely and sad. On that negative note, have a song that makes me smile in my soul..