9 Months On Medication

It’s been a while since I checked in regarding my treatment for my mental health! The last post was in September after my dose increased.

It’s been 9 months now. Time for an update.

This last week, I requested a different formulation of the medication. Instead of the slow release, I wanted the instant release. Because the medication also works as a sedative, I take it before bed and it helps me sleep, among other things. I wanted to get a more “set” bedtime, since I can go between 2 and 4 hours after taking my medication before I pass out.

I’ve also gotten back on birth control. After a few months on the higher dose, my periods got very, very heavy and uncomfortable. My PMS also worsened. I have a blood test on April 3 to see how my levels are. There may be a chance I’m anemic or close to it, so my doctor and I are going to check that just in case I need to start taking supplements.

I’ll also be following up with counselling, since I haven’t started that and I’ve been on the waitlist for 8 months.

The antipsychotics are great. I really do like them. They don’t make my life perfect, and my moods aren’t always balanced at a nice in-between. But I feel more able to work through my highs and lows in a much more accessible and healthy way now.

The downside, and part of why I wanted to switch from slow release to instant release? My eating habits have been affected. I have EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) and after taking my medication each day, I found myself getting into a “munchie” state of mind—one very similar to when I indulge in some marijuana or liquor, neither of which I use regularly. (This weekend, I’m actually 3 months’ sober from alcohol and 17 months’ sober from marijuana!)

On account of the binge eating, and the holiday bulge because of Christmas and New Year’s, I’ve gained some weight. I’m trying not to let it get me down. I know bodies fluctuate and I know that my healthier lifestyle choices will make an impact on my body. I didn’t exercise much through the winter—my bedroom wasn’t set up to let me comfortably do home workouts, and I like to jog outside, but the weather was always too cold or icy for me to safely go running.

Now that spring is around the corner and the snow is melting, and now that I’ve finally, after almost a year, set up my bedroom to let me do all my different activities, I’ll be exercising more regularly. And hopefully the instant release medication will help me get better control and awareness on my eating during the day, as opposed to mindless and drowsy bingeing at night.

The last 9 months haven’t been the greatest in terms of life events or reaching my goals, but the medication has helped a lot.

6 Concrete Ways to Practice Self-Care

Self-care is a huge buzzword right now, but it’s a vital aspect of mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. It isn’t a trend and it’s not all soft, easy aesthetic.

There are listicles everywhere that give you tips on self-care, and I’m going to add to that huge amount of content with my own six ways to conduct self-care right now.

1: Clean something in your space

Do your laundry, make your bed, or arrange your desk. Pick one area in your space, big or small, to tidy and freshen up. You can choose however deeply you want to clean. I start off my day by making my bed. I finish my day by tidying my desk so it’s a clear space for the morning.

2: Clean something on your body

Brush your teeth, wash your face, have a shower, or put a wet cloth on your skin. If you’re up to it, a bubble bath can be a great treat and way to care for yourself. But something as simple or routine as washing your face can be all the self-care you need. You don’t have to go through a whole pampering routine to show some love to your body.

3: Freewrite in a journal

Use a prompt from online, focus on one feeling you have, set a timer and write. You can do this for yourself, for a writing project, or for a writing exercise itself. I love doing this for my feelings and emotions.

4: Exercise, stretch, or do physical therapy

Go for a walk or a jog, lift some weights, do yoga, do some gentle stretching, lie down and rest your body. Show your physical self some love! Sometimes that may be moving it through exercise. Other times that may be giving it a time for ease through rest and gentle stretch. If you have a physical disability or chronic illness, you may have some individual physical therapy to help with your body.

If the only thing you can do for your body is sit up straight, gently move your neck, and take a deep breath, that’s caring.

5: Play a game

I love certain gaming apps for winding down and stimulating my brain. Puzzle apps and games are the best for getting some mental stimulation if you’re stuck in a social media refreshing cycle. Video games and card games are good too. Sometimes, when I’m really stuck, I’ll play a game of solitaire with a deck of cards.

6: Finish something on your to do list

This is the best self-care you can do for yourself. Getting something done will free up your time in the future a well as get something off your plate right now. What’s something small you can check off for today? If you have an errand to run, now is a good time to do it.

Self-care is anything you do to make your life easier without falling back on coping mechanisms like avoidance.

You can claim “this is self-care” to lie in bed all day, and sometimes it is. But if it’s a way to avoid laundry, feeding yourself, or personal hygiene, it’s not self-care.

You’re worthy of being cared about, so take some time to show yourself and your environment some love.

3 Ways I Beat a Reading Slump

Every so often—about every 4 months, actually—and lasting for a few weeks, I fall into a reading slump. There are books I want to read, but I can’t focus on any of them, even if I’ve been looking forward to reading them.

I’ve gotten very good at navigating reading slumps, since they happen so often and make me so sad. They’ve happened because of burnout from editing, or while I was doing my English degree and reading immense amounts of writing on a daily and weekly basis. There are a number of ways that I ease the pain of not indulging one of my favourite hobbies. But I’m sharing only three of them today!

These three ways of getting out of a reading slump focus on refreshing your taste for stories.

Indulge other storytelling media

If you catch me on Twitter posting about marathon-watching TV shows, I’m likely in a reading slump. I’ll also play video games or watch movies, but I’m less likely to tweet about those.

Movies, TV shows, audiobooks, podcasts, and video games are all different forms of storytelling that can help refresh your palate. As different as books are, they’re still written and words can get repetitive. Humans love stories, so get them in as many forms as possible.

If you need an excuse to marathon-watch a show, I give you your reason.

Read new genres

I have my favourite genres that I like to read. There’s nothing wrong with having a favourite, or getting intimately familiar with all the tropes in the genre. But sometimes, it’s better to branch out and try a new book.

When my reading slump in the fall came from reading too much fantasy, I switched to different genres. Try out a non-fiction book, a short story anthology, a literary magazine, a poetry collection, a contemporary romance–pick up something outside of your regularly scheduled reading.

Work on a project unrelated to writing or reading

As a creative person, I’ve picked up lots of hobbies and skills to flex my creating muscles. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand, so if my reading is sucky and flumpy, so is my writing. I read and write to stimulate my imagination, so other creative hobbies and projects can fill the void that emerges when I stop reading or writing.

I started the year with a big reading slump, so I got back into web development and created the new theme for the website! Coding, painting, drawing, photography, and more are all ways I can creatively interact with the world. Try doing something artistic, crafty, or design-based.


There’s nothing wrong with a reading slump. Sometimes we can’t pick up a book or partake of something we enjoy, and that’s just life. Remember: the slump will pass. You can be bookish and not be reading all the time!

My First Leuchtturm1917 Notebook

For Christmas, my sister gifted me a green Leuchtturm1917 that I’ve been using for my 2018 planning. I’ve also been using a second journal for long-term planning, rather than monthly and weekly spreads. I wrote about why and how I’m using two bullet journals here.

I’ve read and heard a lot about these notebooks for bullet journalling. To be honest, I was never interested in them. They run for $30.00 on Amazon for the A5 size I have. I’ve read reviews every time I was in the market for a new journal, but picked a different product because I’ve found something cheaper.

January, February, and March all have spreads in the Leuchtturm and I’m glad I finally got to try it! I love starting the year in a fresh book, and even though I had space in my Scribbles That Matter, I’m using the Leuchtturm for 2018.

I’ll be using this journal for 2018 until either the year ends or the pages run out. It’s let me loosen up a little bit, on account of all the accidental smears and the less-than-polished quality my spreads end up being. I’m not saying I’m messier in this journal than I am in other ones, but I feel better messing up in the Leuchtturm compared to my Scribbles That Matter.

Pros:

  • Lots of pages
  • Dot layout is well structured
  • Numbered pages are not intrusive to the layout
  • Hardcover
  • 2 ribbon bookmarks for easier navigation
  • Elastic band

Cons:

  • Gel ink smears and takes longer to dry
  • Ghosting through the pages
  • Hardcover finish gets dirty quickly (it was dirty after the first day I opened it, oops!)
  • Page quality is average

As a journal, it’s well-rounded and serves its purpose. It’s a great notebook for bullet journalling!

However… I think the Leuchtturm is overpriced when there are options for lower costs (Scribbles That Matter is less than $25.00) However, if you can get a Leuchtturm in a craft or art store for less than $30.00, it’s definitely a great notebook for bullet journalling.

Hello 2018!

Welcome to March. Welcome to the new website! I’m so, so pleased that I finally got a design done for the site. I’ve been using a premade theme since I launched the blog at the start of 2016. Now, after all this time, my hand-coded theme is up. It also came with some rebranding to make my social media presence (on Twitter and Facebook) more “me” and cohesive with the website.

As of right now, I do not have the mobile site ready, so if you are a mobile reader, I apologise! Over the next little while, I’ll code the responsive design and (hopefully) seamlessly integrate it. I also don’t have my portfolio up, but that will be coming over the next month.

Let me know how you like the new design! It feels very “on brand” for me and who I feel I am as a person. If you encounter any glitches with it, please let me know here or on Twitter or any of my listed social media!

Anyway, where have I been since December? Let’s review, ok ok.

Month In Review: January 2018

I’ll be honest, January feels so far away to me. I remember I did driving lessons and that it was very cold most of the month. I’ve decided to be fairly private with my goals, at least for the first while of the year, but I’ll share one. I aim to submit to one literary magazine or journal each month of this year.

A celebration: I submitted some of my writing to a literary magazine!

A change: I spent less time on social media.

A conflict: My mental health was not the greatest this month.

A relief: I am decently medicated. That’s really the only relief I feel.

A regret: My driving test was cancelled and rescheduled to February.

A random memory: I had a guy on a dating app interrogate me about my mental illness, which I’m open about on these types of things, and then (after a few messages all on one day) had him decide that I was not mentally ill. He also sent me a ridiculously long poem AND a ridiculously long message about him being a “wanderer”; I thought it was all incredibly pathetic.

Month In Review: February 2018

It feels like spring came very early by the end of February, and I’m not complaining about it. The unfortunate cause is global climate change, but I can go outside without it being an immediate danger to myself, so I’m okay.

A celebration: I wrote another piece for submission!

A change: The website and my online brand got a refresh, which I love. I technically finished it at the start of March, but the design was finalised in February and the last few days were small-change-city.

A conflict: I feel insecure financially and it makes me very nervous for the future.

A relief: I passed my G2 driving test and can now drive alone.

A regret: I didn’t edit as much as I wanted to. I completed 2 chapters, but then the editing went to the backburner as I got into the thick of redesigning.

A random memory: My family spontaneously got together for a meal out at a restaurant. It was lovely, and we scheduled for another one in March. I think my dad wants to make it a habit to catch up with his kids, and I’m all for it.


I’m back now, so prepare yourselves for more blogging! I’ve brainstormed so many posts and ideas. I feel confident that my content is going to improve over the next few months. I’ve had time to work on the purpose for this blog, and now that I’m completely out of school, I can devote more time to it.

My freelancing business will be the main focus for my online presence, including the website. The last year has been incredible, working with writers and reading their stories. I’m so proud of each of them and what they’ve done with their writing. I’m excited to work with more people and do more creative projects with new writers!