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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

girl gang // "i'm not like other girls"

When I was about eight to about eleven, I was one of those girls who said "I wasn't like other girls". And, yes, as a statement, this probably wasn't untrue. But now I'm older and know about the connotations these sort of statements make, I want to revisit this and look into why it's damaging.

I was one of those girls who wasn't into clothes, or makeup, or boys. I was vaguely "tomboy"-ish, which to be honest, is an awful term in itself. I loved my academics and was in the Scouts, and that was fine. In honesty, I was awkward when people asked me about myself, saying that yes, I wasn't like most girls, but I thought that was okay. In a weird way, I probably used it to validate myself, but not in the satisfying way some people use it.

I hate this idea that a girl who wears makeup is below a girl who doesn't, or a girl who goes out with lots of guys, or a girl who spends her money on clothes not books. Wear makeup for you, if it makes you feel more confident about leaving the house. What you do with boys, or girls for that matter, is your business. I buy as many band tshirts as I do books... just because I don't have bags and bags from Primark doesn't make me better than you. Of course, this all links to slut-shaming and that culture.

But there is the vice versa, occasionally - you're not better than me because of your shaped eyebrows or my bare face. 

But this is something feminism has been saying for ages, really. "You do you" and similar quotes as such have been saying this for so long. But for many, it really just doesn't sink in. When you're younger and more naive, there is either a pride or an awkwardness surrounding this phrase. Maybe both.

Maybe I'm rambling, maybe I'm talking nonsense - but recently, it's been weird hearing it come out of younger girls' mouths and it just sounding slightly wrong. I said it the other day, discussing my past, and it felt metallic and ugly.

Being a girl shouldn't have to be this competition, and that's how this phrase comes across, even without that being the intent. Everyone should love who they are and who everyone is. And that's why I want to be proud of the girls that wear pink shirts, and the ones that wear Spiderman tshirts. The girls who start wearing makeup, the ones that don't touch it. The ones that dream about prom, and the ones that will only go out of necessity.

Consider it - always be proud of your daughters, younger sisters - no matter what choices they make. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

my month: may '16 // the rocky one

May has been a very odd month for me; to sum it up in 5 words would be coursework, appointments, pains, progress and music. It definitely hasn't been a boring one, for sure.

This month was the start of my time being a Young Leader for the Cub Scouts of my group.  I had to do my safeguarding training before I could start, and since then I've helped with a lego night, been on a 2-day camp (including 7 mile hike) and recapped first aid with them! It's really fun, offering loads of opportunities and helping me work on my anxiety, so it's honestly brilliant.

Unfortunately, May has also been an increase in my joint pains and anxiety. My pains are becoming all-body and worse than ever. I was put on painkillers, taken off some of them, hoped for the best... I'm really hoping my test results come back soon because everything from walking up a flight of stairs to writing a paragraph is becoming harder and harder.

I've spent a lot of time in various waiting rooms and appointments this month, which I'm hoping actually come to something soon.

School wise, I've been doing okay away from the anxiety! I've had some grades back and considering that I still haven't caught up, I've been doing really well. I had my first French speaking and although it didn't go the best and I'll be redoing it sometime, for how anxious I was I think it went well. I'm also now part-way through coursework for all my sciences and history.

My friend and I went to see Pentatonix on the 25th, which was fabulous; even better than last year! I also fell in love with their support act Us The Duo, who I haven't stopped listening to since we saw them.

New albums by Against the Current (In Our Bones) and Pierce the Veil (Misadventures) also came out this month! They are both amazing and I'm honestly in love. I've been spoiled for choice with music this month, and because I use it as a coping mechanism as well, it's been great.

So overall, May can really only be described as rocky - so many things have happened and yet it seemed to go very slowly; but that's okay. Bring on June!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

being "too young" for prescription meds

(possible tw for anxiety/panic, medications)

A while ago, my spoonie friend Caitlin wrote a post defending being on prescription painkillers. It really got me thinking about how people react to the fact that I take both prescription painkillers and also take anti-anxiety medications, which many people don't agree with in people as young as me.

I suffer from currently undiagnosed chronic pains pretty much all over my body but particularly in my arms/wrists and my legs; I'm known to have hypermobile and tight joints. I've been through nearly every department in the Children's Hospital you can think of , I used to have physiotherapy, I've had orthotic treatment since I was 10. I've had MRIs, I've had blood tests, I've had nerve conduction studies.

The pain has become worse more recently; it used to just be after a lot of activity, then it increased to after very little activity... now it's a constant. I wake up in pain. I go through my school day in pain. I go to bed in pain. And no, it's not completely dehabilitating just yet; but I can't do half as much as I used to.

So a month or so ago, I was placed on paracetamol 4x a day, as well as another heavy-duty painkiller twice daily. I was taken off the other due to side effects of anxiety (damn it), not that it was doing much, and now, the paracetamol barely touches it.

But regardless of what it was doing, the idea of a fifteen year old needing so much pain medication is so out of the way for some people. As I now take a dose in the school day, I sometimes have to deal with odd looks from the receptionists whom get it for me. My nan finds it a bit odd, even though she and my stepdad also take them (I like to think that as a family, we basically rattle). Surely I can't be in that much pain at this age?

Moving on to the anti-anxiety meds: from July to October last year I was on beta-blockers for my anxiety (which turned out to be a bad idea according to my consultant in the unit). If I forgot them, my heart would beat louder in my ears, my panic attacks would increase; some days, you could barely get me out of bed. I'm now on an anti-anxiety med, a small dose in the morning and a larger at night due to side effects.

There are so many people, including doctors, who hate putting teenagers on anti-anxiety meds, or antidepressants. And I can see why, completely. Taking them away again can be difficult, and yes, I'd agree that therapy should be the first call.

But the main reason I am on them is to aid my therapy, to keep me at a lower level of anxiety meaning I can cope with everyday life and in turn, have a better experience in my therapy; which is currently going amazingly.

I understand people's resistance to young people being on any type of regular medication that isn't a course of antibiotics or aiding a break or sprain. No, they aren't the healthiest for me, and yes, we have to be careful, and yes, they aren't doing much and we'll have to experiment some more.

But they get me through my day, they make my life that bit easier, they get me to school and Cubs and Explorers. Are you really going to be saying I was "too young" for all these meds if I'm taken off them all and suddenly have a huge crisis once more, and barely make it out of bed?