mental health

I saved the life of my body, and now it could save another's

June 15, 2017


I had to weigh myself yesterday. I don’t have any scales in our flat, so I had to use a friend’s after work. I try to not make a habit of weighing myself, although I am low-key attempting to lose a bit of weight and have been all year. I tracked my weight during marathon training out of interest to see how my body was changing, and I lost quite a bit. It was pretty cool to see how your body adapts.

I weighed myself yesterday because Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, told me to. Because they rang me and told me I might be a match for someone with blood cancer. There’s someone out there who’s in need of a stem cell transplant and my profile came up as someone who could save them. I could save their life with my body. 

I could literally be saving a life.

travel

Prague, Czech Republic (September 2016)

June 01, 2017


This time it was MY turn to choose a weekend destination. 

It didn’t take too long to choose Prague having seen my Twitter, Facebook, and Insta feeds full of photos over the last six months. It was clearly a popular place to go, in both the summer and winter months. It looked beautiful and, pals, there's  BRIDGE and if you follow me on Insta then you’ll be well aware of my adoration for a good bridge.

life

In defence of the Old Flat

May 25, 2017


I moaned about our old flat a lot. Any friend will tell you that I was gagging to move and my laptop keyboard will tell you that the ‘r’ ‘i’ ‘g’ ‘h’ ’t’ ‘m’ ‘o’ ‘v’ ‘e’ keys are now weak and faded. 

The flat was a tiny two-bed for what was essentially four people including our flatmate’s girlfriend. It was part of a very old building that had a lot wrong with it - it was falling apart - and as lovely as our landlady was, she was scatty, hard to get hold of and slightly, just ever so slightly, useless. 

The two guys, friends from uni, moved up to London and straight into this flat in the summer of 2013. Ryan and I had our first date the few weeks after he moved in (we went to London Zoo - I know, solid first date). Compared to the prices now, it was incredibly cheap for a two-bed flat in Zone 4, right next to a commuter station, and the landlady never increased the rent over the four years, not even when I moved in in November 2015. We had a park at the bottom of our road, didn’t have to pay for water, and the four of us got on wonderfully. 

Swings and roundabouts, you see. 

We could have stayed for a bit longer. We could have stuck it out. But our gut feeling told us to move on, up, and out, so we did. Ryan and I have moved to a beautiful, nearly-brand-new one-bed flat with a balcony, dishwasher, tumble dryer AND CARPETED BEDROOM just 15 minutes away from our old place. And it feels right. It already feels like home. 

But I’m not done talking about our old flat.

mental health

On securely falling back into the pit

May 11, 2017


Slipping back into a depressive period when you’ve been so stable for a good few years is like receiving a letter to warn you of your fate and then descending into hell with a parachute. 

It’s gentle, expected, and eerie. You know this place, you recognise these feelings, and you’re not so scared and alone as you were before. 

If I wasn’t depressed, I’d be frustrated that I am, once again, depressed. I’d be angry and confused as to why I’ve found myself back being hopeless and helpless after doing so well for so long. But I’m depressed, so I’m not feeling that at all. I’m just looking at those feelings having a strop over the other side of room and thinking, “I can’t be arsed to feel that tbh, it’s too much effort and I just don’t care.”

travel

Bath, England (July 2016)

May 04, 2017


I had the idea of visiting Bath after I went to Bristol and realised it was down the road. If it wasn’t for lack of time, I probably would have nagged Ryan to drive us for the day but now I’m glad we dedicated a whole break to the place, because it’s bloody beautiful. 

We wanted to stay in a B&B for this break, but I didn’t know where to find good B&Bs so, like any normal person, I Googled ‘best B&Bs bath’ and was offered an array. Lord, there are a lot of B&Bs in Bath. Our stipulations were ‘parking’ and ‘near to city centre’ and ‘free WiFi’, obviously, and after much trawling I stumbled upon Pulteney House

Guys, they have pet rabbits. I was SOLD.

running

London Marathon 2017: The Debrief

April 27, 2017


Hello. I ran a marathon.

Things I have done since running a marathon:

  • Told people I ran a marathon
  • Slept
  • Eaten a lot of takeaways 
  • Eaten a lot of chocolate 
  • Told more people I ran a marathon
  • Sniffed my medal 
  • Stared at my dirty marathon clothes in the corner 
  • Moved to a new flat
Because what else would I want to do the week after running a marathon other than pack up and move? 

Did I mention I ran a marathon?

running

The Marathon Diaries #6: 2 weeks to go...

April 10, 2017

Beautiful calligraphy note from Ashley!

There is now a fortnight to go until the Virgin London Marathon 2017 and I keep violently switching between four different moods:

  1.  !!!!!!! FUUUUUUUCK !!!!!!!
  2. I am a badass, this is going to be fucking awesome, I’m going to SMASH IT and cannot wait.
  3. I am terrible, why did I think I could do this, I have not trained enough, I am an embarrassment. 
  4. What if I shit myself?
The fear of shitting myself is ever present. And so are my thoughts, which never shut up, so here we are with THIRTEEN days to go.

travel

Berlin, Germany (June 2016)

April 07, 2017

View from Panoramapunkt 

The idea was to go on a weekend break for my boyfriend, Ryan’s, birthday. We wanted a holiday but a week by a beach was too expensive, and going to Bristol for a packed weekend break for my birthday in 2015 ensured the city break bug was well and truly caught. So it seemed the logical step. 

Also it meant I didn't have to think of a present…

Also it meant he didn’t have to organise a night out in London which is way more expensive than it’s worth… 

Also, Brexit, so we suddenly loved Europe that little bit more.

But like we needed excuses. We wanted to travel.

running

The Marathon Diaries #5: 4 weeks to go...

March 27, 2017

               My mantra. Massive thank you to my pal Charlotte for surprising me with this t-shirt!

It’s happened. The number of diaries I’ve now written is now more than the amount of weeks to go until the Virgin London Marathon 2017. Excuse me while I shit myself. 

Speaking of shitting myself, that’s a section in this edition. Yep, we’ve reached that stage now. We’re smack bang in the middle of the LONG long runs (I RAN 17 MILES YESTERDAY) and I have very little dignity left. 

I hope you’re ready for all this…

life

These shadows of mine

March 20, 2017


Deep breath. 

This is hard. 

I’m sitting here in bed staving off huge panic and it’s just me and a blank screen. There’s no one here. I’m not using my voice, and maybe that’s part of the problem, but I can still hear myself throughout my body screaming at me to stop. To shut up. To forget it and carry on.

But it’s about time I said some things because I cannot keep doing this again and again. I cannot keep feeling like this again and again. I cannot keep my mouth shut in fear again and again. 

I feel a hypocrite. My career is based on giving young people empowerment and a strong, brave voice, to stand up for themselves and encourage them to realise they deserve the best. And while I can speak explicitly about my mental health, I’ve never been able to talk about my experiences of abuse. How does that work? One directly links the other. 

Another deep breath.

running

The Marathon Diaries #4: 6 weeks to go...

March 13, 2017


I keep thinking I’m going to run out of things to say in these posts, but no, I ALWAYS HAVE A LOT TO SAY. Grab a cuppa, or large glass of wine, and settle in. God, I miss alcohol… 

Six weeks to go. A month and a half. The marathon is NEXT MONTH, LOL. However, six weeks for the school summer holidays always sounded like a lifetime so I’m just going to channel that, tbh. 

Rather than being terrified of the training, I’m now starting to think about the actual marathon day. Timings, trains, bags, meeting points and, most importantly…

travel

Travelling through travels

March 09, 2017

Cyprus, 1996

When I was a kid, we didn’t travel a lot. We had a good amount of holidays but they were to the same places every year - we never actually travelled in the sense of exploring new places. Holidays abroad would always see us in Cyprus and holidays in the UK would mostly see us in Paignton, Weymouth or Bournemouth. And that suited me fine. I liked my routine and was nervous of change; I liked knowing what to expect and that everything would be good and fine.

(The signs were there, my anxiety says. The signs were right bloody there.)

running

The Marathon Diaries #3: 8 weeks to go...

February 27, 2017


Two months to go. Two. 

Half the training plan done, half the training plan left. 

It’s March on Wednesday and I’ll be saying the marathon will be ‘next month’. 

Jesus Christ.

Honestly, I don’t even think I was this nervous throughout my job interviews, degree exams, A-levels and GCSEs put together. I’m in a permanent state of anxiety, which is rather ironic considering I’m running for Heads Together and only started running in the first place to calm that damn anxiety. 

Help me.

Despite how ruddy chuffed I look in the above photo, I’m permanently exhausted, bored of talking about how my training is going, bored of that being the ONLY THING I ever talk about regardless, and gagging for a holiday. 

But, aside from the constant moaning, some nice this have happened in the last fortnight and I have discovered more… I’m trying to be positive… really…

mental health

My mental health can't be defined, no matter how hard I try

February 20, 2017


I’ve been asked to write and speak about my mental health a lot lately for various people, platforms, and publications. And it’s great! Really. I’m so grateful to share my story and views, often surrounded by mental health professionals with an aim to support young people, and be a part of this huge mental health conversation. It’s important. I can only hope that I’m doing what I set out to do, and empowering people to stand up, speak out, and take notice of their own mental health. 

But…

Of course there’s a but…

running

The Marathon Diaries #2: 10 weeks to go...

February 12, 2017


How did three weeks just pass by? I JUST wrote about it being 13 weeks to go, didn’t I? DIDN’T I?!

When I first started training I thought about how tiring it was going to be dedicating FOUR MONTHS to the London Marathon, but now the cliché has well and truly shown itself by proving that time is flying by. I’ve finished six weeks of the training plan already, and the super long runs are slowly creeping up.

Oh boy.

So, here’s what I’ve learnt and thought, and what else has been happening, in the last three weeks of training...

life

The last regeneration... hello Biscuits & Blisters!

February 04, 2017


Well! Look at this! It’s been a long week of designing, redesigning, googling, swearing, coding, and calling on friends for advice, but finally I have a new blog. Ish.

The hardest part of it all (aside from all the coding customisation) was rewriting my ‘About me’ page. I’ve had this blog for eight years now. EIGHT. I was 16 years old when I created it and it’s gone through so many regenerations in that time. It’s gone from Teen: Dreaming…, to echoamelie, to just my name. It’s gone from teenager to young woman, from GCSE student to graduate. It’s been through a lot and it’s seen a lot more. It needs therapy itself.

running

The Marathon Diaries #1: 13 weeks to go...

January 19, 2017

I probably use Instagram now more than any other social media platform. It’s the first app I open when I wake up and the last one I check before I go to sleep, so it’s where I’ve been documenting my marathon training the most. 

‘Marathon training’. Every time I say it, or type it out, I choke. MARATHON. TRAINING. 

I like posting photos on Instagram of my new running gear, running routes, progress, good meals, and connecting with other runners so we can spur each other on. Instagram is pretty, and Facebook and Twitter are definitely not pretty. 

But I’m a writer by trade and by passion, and as this marathon *CHOKES* gets ever closer, I need a bigger outlet. I need to write about the fact I’m RUNNING THE FECKIN’ LONDON MARATHON IN 93 DAYS’ TIME. 

So, here I am. Hello, welcome back to my blog. Welcome back to my breakdown; this time of my feet/legs/hips, and not my head. A nice change.