So, Joelle finally breaks her silence.

Apologies for the delay in posting anything since October. With stresses from my final year, as well as picking up this nasty bug that is going around…twice…I have let things go slightly. But now that the Xmas break is upon us, I can hopefully catch up with the things I have fallen behind on, writing to you being my first priority.

What was the deal in November???!!!

Well, November was a hectic month for me. It was the month in which I realised that I had but weeks until the Xmas break, that my first semester was almost finished, that I had two exams to revise for during the same week and that I hadn’t been keeping as organised as I should be. ALOT RIGHT?! In all honesty, I felt very overwhelmed in November; like I was swimming without a float. I was running around London, collecting data for my 3rd year project all the while having thoughts and dates and lists of things to do floating around in my head. On top of this I was ill – I had the flu that was going around, it affected me badly and then some underlying health conditions that I suffer from got worse. You can see why I haven’t posted in a while right?! I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t exercise, I couldn’t do the things I have learnt to do to keep myself calm in these stressful situations; that I have been recommending for you guys to do to keep the stress levels down. It just goes to show that sometimes life throws you random curve balls. No matter how organised you think you are, how on top of things you consider yourself to be, how many coping mechanisms you have, sometimes, just sometimes, it is not enough. You have to admit defeat and listen to your body – stop and rest! Don’t feel guilty, don’t fight it. I think ultimately this is what I did wrong. I didn’t stop! I carried on running around, trying to fit everything in, on a tank full of nothing. My sugar intake increased considerably because I needed the fuel to get me through the day. If I had just rested for a couple of days, got myself better and then written task lists in priority order, who knows, I may have just about stayed afloat – better than I did anyway.

Somehow I managed to pull myself through. The medication, the sugar – it kept me alive just long enough to cram revise for my exams, collect the data that I needed to and attend training for my new voluntary job. I am just glad that I have a bit of a break now. I can get myself back to the gym, sleep, get my diet back under control. Start to feel more human.

One thing that I must say is that while I was going through of all of this my depression, low mood and panic didn’t come into play. Sure I got down every now and again because I was fed up of being ill, but who wouldn’t? This was normal levels of being down as opposed to wanting to give up and shut the world out and cry for no reason. This, I am happy about. Not long ago, having all of this pressure would have caused a melt down! I would have been running around my house, crying “why me?”, “I can’t cope with this!” “This is not fair!” and having panic attacks left, right and centre. But no, none of this. Just goes to show that I have come a long way from the days of not even being able to leave the house.

So, what can you take away from my very late November blog?!

If you need it, REST!!!! Don’t fight it, because ultimately it will make things harder in the long run. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to keep up now and again. Take a break, take a breath and re-evaluate with a clearer mind and healthier body.

Look at how far you have come! Sometimes it is good to look back, reflect on where you used to be and where you are now. Although it may seem as though you have so many problems, that you can’t cope and that you’re struggling to keep afloat, everyday that you don’t have a panic attack (if you suffer from anxiety) or everyday that you get out of bed and go about your day (if you suffer from depression) is something to be proud of. A milestone. Sometimes it is easy to forget how far you have come. So stop, look back, be proud!!!!

Joelle xx