The End, A New Beginning.

After some sleepless nights and careful consideration, I made the decision to move house. This may not seem like the biggest change for some people, but for me it is. In December 2017, I finally moved out of my mothers home and into my first home. In April 2018, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety which eventually left me housebound. I managed to find a safe space in my home and wouldn’t leave the house for weeks at a time and even then I would only travel to the local shops and back.

My severe anxiety left me feeling trapped in this house I once called ‘Home’.

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Being cut off from the outside world eventually started to trigger my depression as I felt like I couldn’t leave my house, see my friends or have any normal human interaction. After a while I began to feel like moving out would help my anxiety get better. This thought began to flood my mind more and more which lead me to hate the place I’d once felt safe in. I began to blame the house for my anxiety which may sound stupid but that just proves how much of a bad place my head was and still is in.

For the first time in my life, I actually have no idea what lies ahead for me and as much as this prospect scares me. I know it’s for the best, this could be the change I really need in my life to help improve my mental health. Part of me is still worried, in case I’m making the worst decision of my life which I will regret later on. But for the first time in a long time, I’m living in the moment. I’m standing on my own two feet and not stumbling through my life. I am in charge of my own future and I’m striving for better. I am taking control of the fear and not letting it consume me.

Whilst I am sad to say goodbye to my first home, I am excited for the new journey ahead. Part of my heart will remain in this leafy lane, my first home. Thank you for being my safe place when I needed it. Thank for protecting my family and giving us room to grow and make beautiful memories that will live with me forever.

Since moving into my new home I have noticed a huge change within myself. I am thriving for a real change in my life and moving forward with my recovery. The absense in my blogging was due to me moving home and then priorotising my mental health and seeking the help I needed. Now that those are ongoing, there is only one part of my life that I am wanting to work on which is bringing this blog back to life. I will be continuing to share my mental health journey and update you on what has happened in my life during my blogging break. I will also be picking up the other aspects of my blog such as book posts and lifestyle posts. Thank you for all of your support and I hope you are looking forward to my new content!

 

The Existence of Amy by Lena Grace Riva – Book Review

Here is my no-spoiler review of The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva. (4/5 stars)

The Existence of Amy follows the story of a young woman who seems to live the perfect life from the outside looking in. But inside Amy is dealing with undiagnosed mental health problems that are beginning to rule her life. They are affecting her ability to live, work and have a relationship with anyone.

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Amy loves her job and has a great relationship with her work collegues despite the fact that she cancels many of there plans due to her over excessive worrying over small tasks. Even riding the bus to work is a stressful expeirence for her, and at times it can all be very overwhelming leading to a downwards spiral. After fidning out one of her closest friends, Ed, is moving to Singapore with his wife. Amy finds herself on a bigger spiral than she’s ever expeirenced before.

I could relate a lot to Amy and the situation she has found herself in, she can still remember a happier time in her life and is wishing for that time to come back but isn’t quite sure whether that’s even possible. She has a fairly good support system available to her with her work collegues but she refuses to let them in and struggles alone. She finds it easier to block of the world than to ‘face the music’ which I can relate to.

There is no real drama in this book, other than Amy’s daily struggles with her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Depression but it was fast paced and didn’t loose my attention once. This is the kind of book that you can enjoy in one sitting as it’s very easy to read or you could just pick up it up here and there without any issues of getting back into the story.

I do believe that The Existence of Amy gives a realistic example of what it is like to live with mental health problems and how much of your life they can affect and about how quickly thing can spiral. This book delves deep into Amy’s inner working’s with her OCD and her depression.You can really begin to understand how she feels about life and how she manages to try and cope with everything that is going on within her head. We can also witness her mental illness progressing during the book until the point where she needs someone else to interviene. I did find myself getting a bit emotional during certain parts of this novel as I felt I could truly understand how she felt during harder parts in her life.

I fond myself rooting for Amy as I wanted so deeply for her to find hapiness and to be able to overcome her barriers and I’m sure I won’t be alone in this feeling. I am left wanting to know what happens after the ending of this book and I can only hope that Amy’s life manages to improve to a state where she can regain what she felt she had lost and that she can continue to flourish.

I can’t really fault this book at all, it is well written and I enjoyed following Amy’s stories. I’d be interested in reading more of Lana’s books as this one was very easy to read and I can say I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

‘Hi Amy, how’s thing?’

‘Good thanks.’ I lie.

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You can buy your copy of The Existence of Amy here from Amazon. (Affiliate Link)

If you are an author wanting a book review or an interview dont hesitate to contact me at whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com so we can arrange something.

Anxiety and I: An Update

It’s been a while since I wrote ‘Confronting my feelings about Anxiety‘ and I wanted to write a little bit of an update about my progress since then as that post was written back in March and a lot of things have changed since then. As World Mental Health Day (October 10th) is upon us I felt it would be fitting that I share some more of my own story to help raise awareness and update you all on what has been happening since this post.

In my post ‘Confronting my feelings about Anxiety,’ I spoke about how I felt after being diagnosed with severe anxiety and how it was affecting me at that point in my life. When reading this blog post back to myself I can see how far ‘down the rabbit hole’ I actually was. At the time, it seemed bad but looking back, I can see that I was defiantly at one of my lowest points back in March. I wasn’t getting out at all and I was struggling massively to stop worrying about what other’s felt about my anxiety.

I was very paranoid, depressed and irritable. I never admitted to myself at the time how bad my anxiety was and I think a huge part of me was still very much in denial over my diagnosis and recovery. I feel like I remained very much in this state of mind up until around July when I realised I needed to make a change in my life because I couldn’t carry on the way things where and I realised I was going to have to try harder than I had ever done before and truly believe that my recovery is possible.

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Fast forward, 6 months.

September brought me a lot of new challenges and also a lot of newfound freedom into my life. Amelia started Primary School last month meaning I have had to adapt to the school mum life and if I’m being honest it’s changed my life for the better so much already. I am waking up earlier, I am getting out of my house 5 days a week guaranteed, I even try to get out on the weekends now too. Sometimes it’s just to school and back home, and other times I will venture a little further but this has had a massive impact on me.

I am beginning to socialize with other school mums and even hang out with some of them in my free time. I am beginning to feel the most like ‘myself’ that I have done in two years. I am so pleased with the change in my life and for the first time in a while, I feel really positive for the future. I feel like I am in control and I finally feel as though I am slowly starting to take back my life that was consumed by this horrible deliberating disorder.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, she became a buttefly.” – Barbara Haines Howett.

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And since, I am sharing the ups. I have to share the downs. It’s not all been great, since September you may have noticed a decrease in my blogging activity and this is because I am absolutely shattered all of the time. As many of you know changes in your lifestyle can severely affect your physical health. My body is just not used to being this active anymore and I am getting horrible migraines as I’m just no longer used to the loud social settings that come with being outside of my home. It’s taking a big toll on my physical health as I try to adapt back into the real world outside my four walls. I am trying to adopt a healthier sleeping pattern for the first time in my life which hasn’t been easy and not always the most successful. It is simply a work in progress and I am proud of the progress I have been making.

I still struggle massively to plan for the future. I live one day at a time now as I still struggle to commit to plans as I don’t know what the future holds and sometimes that prospect still scares me. I know that I will not always feel this way and it is all part of recovery and in time. In MY own time, I will be ready.

I am hoping over time my body will begin the adjust to the changes in my lifestyle and that I can feel less tired and spend less of my time with a migraine. That way I can carry on doing what I love and sharing it all with you. I hope by sharing my experiences that I can show other people who are suffering that there is a light at the end of the tunnel even though the journey to it can be bumpy. I want to share my story and encourage others to do the same.

“You are not going to master the rest of your life in one day. Just relax. Master the day. Then just keep doing that every day.”

Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out – Documentary Review

Jesy Nelson is part of the four-part girl group Little Mix who were formed in 2011 during season 8 of The X Factor which they went on to win. Jesy delves deep into the cyberbullying and abuse that she received after staring on The X Factor and how it affected her mental health in the new BBC documentary ‘Odd One Out’ which you can watch here.

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Jesy talks about how her time on The X Factor put her in the public eye after they asked her to make social media accounts so Jesy could interact with her fanbase. Shortly after Jesy began to experience a large amount of cyberbullying were she was referred to as ‘the fat one from Little Mix’ and other comments regarding her appearance and weight.ย  She reveals that what should have been the happiest time of her life, winning The X Factor, was one of the loneliest and that she attempted suicide because she felt as though the whole world hated her. 4 years after attempting suicide, Jesy still feels affected by the trolling she endured and talks about how it affects her career, relationships and her body image.

I, like many, found Odd One Out incredibly heartbreaking to watch. Hearing Jesy speak openly about her experiences with bullying really hit home for me. I am not a stranger to bullying or online trolling and watching this documentary brought back those feelings and reminded me that things do need to change so others do not have to go through the same. Jesy visits the home of Sian Waterhouse a 16-year-old who committed suicide as a result of bullying, Jesy tears up as she looks around Sian’s room which hasn’t been touched since her death. It is absolutely devastating to think that a 16-year-old has lost their life due to the harsh comments of others and to see how her family are affected by the loss of their child.

Jesy hopes that by viewing this documentary people will be able to see the impact of their actions and put an end to cyberbullying. ‘Odd One Out’ shows us that even fame doesn’t stop online attacks and that anyone can be bullied.

I was truly moved by this documentary and I believe more people should watch it and we need to start tackling these issues and stop letting hate win. Jesy explains how the cyberbullying and online attacks began to open up her inner critic who began to believe the things that people were saying about her. I know from experience that being targetted at by one person is horrible so I can not begin to imagine how Jesy felt when she realised she had all of these people attacking her over the internet with messages of hate.

This documentary really helps shed light on what people in this generation are dealing with, especially people in education. It’s showing that there is no escape from social media and the people behind the trolling are not being held accountable for their actions but most importantly the impact that this is having on young people’s mental health leading some to believe suicide is an option.

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I’d love to finish this post by saying I am in awe of Jesy and how she managed to find the confidence and bravery to share her story and try to help others with similar experiences. I really hope this show will affect the lives of many and that she can inspire young women who follow her. Jesy has come along way since Little Mix and I hope she can continue to learn to love herself and keep spreading the message. If you haven’t already make sure you watch Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out here on BBC iPlayerย it definitely has my recommendation!

Have you watched Odd One out yet? Leave me your thoughts on it in the comments!

Where have I been? Knee deep in my to-be-read pile.

 

I actually feel really down about my recent absence from blogging and I feel like I need to clear up a few things in a blog post rather than a small social media post which only a small amount of my followers will see. I’ve decided to write this post to tell you all what’s been happening in my Wonderland.

So as you know the Summer Holidays have started and I am a mum of a 4-year-old who is about to start her first year in school this September, so I’ve been making the most out of our time together. When Amelia does start school and we’ve gotten into a routine, I hope that my blogging will go back to a regular schedule like it was before.

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I carry on telling you all about my coursework and my ‘massive to be read pile’ so I’d like to elaborate on what I mean by that. I enrolled in a Level 2 in Awareness of Mental Health Problems which I passed, and I have now enrolled in another course which is a Level 2 in Counselling Skills. My reason behind doing this is because I am interested to learn more from a medical point of view on Mental Health so I can write more posts and hopefully help others who are suffering from their Mental Health. I want to be able to help not just through sharing my experiences but to be knowledgeable enough to offer advice as well.

And now for the big reason, my massive to be read pile.

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So at the beginning of this year, I aimed to ‘up’ the book category of my blog as it was incredibly bare so I really pushed myself to get books to read and reviewed as quick as I could and didn’t turn down any opportunity I was given. I’ve absolutely loved the amount of book mail and countless great stories I have read but I do feel like it’s beginning to drain me, physically and mentally. I feel like the pile has become never-ending and every time I tick a book off, five more take-up it’s place.

You may be saying, but Georgia that’s only 12 books, that isn’t that hard. This is just the physical copies that I am wanting to read. I have a massive back catalogue on my Kindle to finish to and some of them have deadlines set by the author of the novel. If you want to see what book reviews will be coming up, make sure you keep an eye on my GoodReads account as I always update my want to read and currently reading on there.

Alas, there is a silver lining here guys, I am trying to get as many of these books read, reviewed and published on here before the start of September. I feel like this is my wisest choice rather than procrastinating or worse, crying over spilt milk or should I say a large pile of books. All jokes aside, I’m trying my hardest to read, review and post them all so I can take a book break in September, and then possibly think about of limiting the number of books I accept per month but I’ll talk about that when that time comes.

This means that I’m going to be spending a lot of time reading and this blog may get a bit flooded with book reviews and author interviews. For that, I apologise as I don’t want to drive you all book mad like I am beginning to go. The plus point is though that whilst I am on a reading spree, I am able to continue studying and spend time with my little girl before school starts.

I hope this has helped clear up a few things that have been going on and I would like to wish you all a wonderful summer!

What it’s like living with Dermatophagia?

Dermatophagia is a skin biting disorder which isn’t considered to be rare, it’s just not commonly talked about. Well, I’m going to change that by sharing my experience of living with Dermatophagia. Dermataphagia is actually a mental disorder which is related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB). For me, Dermatophagia means biting and chewing at the skin around my nails, fingers and even part of my palm. Some Dermatophagia sufferer’s chew their arms and/or the inside of their gums.

I can’t remember the exact age I started biting my own skin but I remember how highly embarrassed I have felt about it my whole life.ย  That is one of the main reason’s behind wanting to write this post, if I am open about my disorder then I am able to take away some of the power it holds over me. I’m not alone in suffering from Dermatophagia, and I’m hoping that I can encourage a few others to open up and admit it. Sometimes it’s hard to be open about something that many people will find strange and possibly joke about.

Biting the skin can cause lasting damage and unfortunately for me, I have permanent damage to my skin around my fingers and on my palm. I hate being put in situations where people may look at my fingers which I think its part of the reason I wear cardigans so I can pull them down and draw less attention to it. Imagine being asked what is wrong with your hands and the repulsive look you’d get if you admitted you bit your own skin. I hate when my hands have been in the water too long as you can see all of the bite marks around my hands so I never stay in water for too long because the sight is one that sickens even me.

I remember biting back in Primary School which is one of the reasons why I cannot pinpoint the start because I was only young. I only within the last 2 years realized that it was a disorder that other people suffer with and that it has a name. I do notice that my Dermatophagia gets worse when I am anxious or when I am stressed, and I feel like it is a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I have always been an anxious person which is why I wasn’t surprised to be diagnosed with Anxiety. When I am nervous, I bite and I chew, as much as I try not to, I can’t stop.

I actually don’t realize I’m doing it anymore, and when it’s brought to my attention, it’s almost impossible to stop. My boyfriend notices me knawing at my palm often and draws it to my attention which then just makes me do it secretly because it’s like my ‘dirty little secret’ so to say. Well not so much now, as I’ve just told all of the internet.

I’ve tried resisting the impulse, many times and nothing seems to work. Even when it starts to hurt, I acknowledge the pain and just move somewhere else or persist regardless. I have tried tactics such as bandaging my fingers and, putting bad-tasting things on my biting places, I’ve also tried getting my nails manicured and hoping that it would stop me from biting. Unfortunately, none of it worked. I am a nail biter aswell but that doesn’t bother me nearly as much as I have been able to resist doing that in the past but having perfectly manicured fingers means nothing when my fingers and red and bloodied from biting.

I actually feel like a bit of weight has been lifted about opening up about my disorder and I hope I have educated a few people who didn’t know this disorder existed. Or maybe this post reaches another skin biter and made them realize you are not alone!

And for the thousandth time, I tell myself, I’m going to quit doing this.

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BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY!

It’s my birthday soon! Next Tuesday to be precise! (2nd July)

As a way to give back to my followers, and say a massive thank you to you all for supporting me! I am giving you all the chance to win something on my birthday wishlist!

I really wanted these beautiful Bloomsbury 20th Anniversary Hufflepuff Editions of the Harry Potter Series!

To win yours, follow the instructions below!

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Comment your favourite Harry Potter Character!

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Good Luck everyone!