My Experience With OCD

My Experience With OCD

This is quite a sensitive subject to cover on my blog. But I think it’s important to make people more aware of OCD. I never really realized I had OCD until it started to get worse. First of all, I’m going to start off by explaining what OCD is and then move on to what my version of OCD feels like.

What is OCD?

Mind describes OCD as: “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. They can make you feel very anxious (although some people describe it as ‘mental discomfort’ rather than anxiety).

Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be something like repeatedly checking a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.”

My Experience

I’ve always had a bit of OCD. When I was 9 I went through a phase of having to drink lots of water – more than normal – so that I felt things could be alright. I have had those “I have to touch it otherwise a family member dies” type experiences. But predominately the one obsession I get over and over again is having to read the same sentence in a book three times over. If I’ve read the sentence twice because I wasn’t paying attention the first time around, I have to do it a third time otherwise something bad will happen. It changes every day, which person will die if I don’t do it, whether something else bad may happen. I know it won’t, but my mind always asks me “what if?” So to be on the safe side I do it anyway. I haven’t really told people that – and it’s partly why I’m such a slow reader.

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Another compulsion I have had since I was little is to have to say goodnight to everyone I love three times in my head. And to also repeat the same sentence three times if I think a bad thought and want it to go away.

I try to work on it every day, by dismissing it and telling myself over and over that nothing bad will happen if I don’t say the same thing three times in a row. But our minds work in mysterious ways. I know for a fact we will all die, something bad always happens no matter what. It’s just trying to overcome the urge to complete the compulsions that I find difficult. But I will get there.

I wanted to write this post mainly because I always feel very alone in this. But I know there are loads of people out there who feel the same things as I do. We aren’t alone in this. OCD has always been stereotyped as needing to be a clean “freak.” But that’s not at all what OCD is. It’s about obsessing and having to repeat yourself and battling with the thoughts in our heads every day. You are not alone.

How to Take Care of Yourself

OCD can be really scary sometimes but there are ways to take care of yourself. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Try some relaxation techniques
  • Try mindfulness
  • Create a support network of who you can trust
  • Try to get some exercise
  • Try to say affirmations every day
  • Manage your stress levels the best way you know how
  • Get online support (OCDAction and OCDUK have online communities)

I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, don’t forget to check out my other mental health posts.

 

Poetry Review: Under The Influence

Poetry Review: Under The Influence

In this week’s blog post I’ll be reviewing Jacquelyn Lee’s poetry debut, Under The Influence. Trigger warning: A book about trauma, abuse and addiction.

Blurb

Under the influence is a journey of abuse, trauma, and grief through poetry. It is divided into three chapters: addiction, withdrawal, and overdose. Each chapter depicts a different part of the author’s abuse-ridden life as she grew up “under the influence” of her dysfunctional parents.

Jacquelyn Lee turns her pain into something beautiful through her gripping and moving words. Through poetry and prose, she expresses her experiences with an alcoholic father, a mentally-ill mother, the suicide of her father and everything in between. Under the influence brings the darkness into the light and gives a voice to the voiceless.

Review

I interviewed Jacquelyn Lee a while ago and asked her about her writing and Under The Influence. I’ve wanted to buy the book for a while and with Christmas money I was able to afford to.

I knew it was going to be about abuse and trauma but it was still surprising how many awful things happened to her and her family.

Jacquelyn is determined to help others through her writing and reading her book made me feel less alone. I, myself am from a broken home and can relate to some of Jacquelyn’s experiences. It’s a horrible thing to have to go through but I’m so glad she decided to share her experiences to create more awareness for domestic abuse victims.

The book is full of affirmations about how it’s not the victim’s fault for the abuser’s actions. She talks about addiction, alcohol, trauma and the abuse her and her siblings went through.

I admire her for talking and opening up about her parents and I can’t wait to read more of her writing.

You can follow Jacquelyn on Instagram: Jacquelyn.Lee

Twitter: _JacquelynLee

Facebook: JacquelynxLee

Or visit her website: http://www.Jacquelyn-Lee.com

I urge you to buy this book if you or someone you know has been through abuse and want to make a difference in the world. Until next time, love, Vee x

Ways to Practice Self Care in the Winter

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! So we all know that our mental health can go downhill in the winter months because of the nights drawing in and the cold, rainy days. This post gives you some insight on how to take care of yourself and your mental health during the winter. Self-care isn’t just about face masks, eating chocolate and buying your favourite magazine (although I sometimes do this). There’s a lot more to it! Read below for some ideas on how to practice better self-care!

Take a Bath or Shower

I personally hate having a bath because, as Chandler puts it, you are “sitting in your own filth.” And that just does not relax me. However, I absolutely love showers and when I’m feeling really low I like to take longer ones and just feel the water hitting me; it keeps me grounded when I feel like I’m floating away. If you like showers like me, why not

But if you’re a bath person, one way to practice self-care is to have a long bubble bath, buy some Lush bath bombs or read a book in the tub. Do whatever makes you feel more relaxed. Light a few candles and pamper yourself! You can even get a stand like this one so that you can read/watch TV in the tub.

Start a Bullet Journal

If you’re having trouble with figuring out how you feel or just want to document your journey, then bullet journaling is a great idea to keep your mind active and to also be creative. You could use your journal for drawings, paintings, calendars or even a mood chart. You can even download bullet journal spreadsheets and printables for inspiration.

Journals are an excellent way to keep track of your mood for your mental health and gives you a good idea of how you’re dealing with certain situations. The journal below is an example of a bullet journal (not mine). It’s not only for self-care but it’s also a great hobby to have and really lets your creativity shine through.

Declutter

Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or I’m struggling, I like to sort out my wardrobe and have a clear out of things I don’t need or use. It helps clear my mind and keeps me busy. I tend to feel relieved and a little less confused after I’ve had a clear out.

Declutter your wardrobe and get rid of clothes you don’t use or items you don’t want. Winter is a great time to throw out the old for the new year ahead!

Take Up Meditation or Yoga

Meditation isn’t for everyone, but it can be a very relaxing technique to practice for your self-care. Take ten minutes to reflect, think or listen to some tapes. I used to listen to Paul Mckenna to help with my anxiety.

Yoga is also great for relaxing and releases endorphins. If you aren’t a fan of yoga, you could take up a different sport or exercise such as running or cycling. I cycle to work each morning and it really makes a difference. Make it a routine – whether you get out of bed and do the sun salutation each morning or go for a run after work in the evening.

Read

Have you got a favourite book? One that you’ve read over and over again? On days where you need a bit of TLC, why not read your favourite book or pick up a new read, maybe even a winter one to take your mind off things?

If reading isn’t for you, then why not watch your favourite movie? My favourite is Bridget Jones and I always watch it when I need cheering up. You could watch a Christmas movie to get you into the spirit.

Go Shopping

If the cold is getting you down, then maybe you should go out for a coffee date with yourself to try a new spiced latte or hot chocolate. You can learn to be in your own company and try something new at the same time. It’s good to be by yourself sometimes and to treat yourself to something new, whether you’re buying new clothes for the season or something simple such as a face mask, some chocolate or a hot drink.

Make a Quotes Jar

If you’re feeling down, why not ask your friends, family or online friends if they would send you a positive quote, compliment or note for you to write down on a piece of paper and keep. You can create a jar of positivity and look at these words whenever you feel down.

Alternately, create your own quotes or happy memories and read one to yourself every day to keep a positive mind.

I hope this post has given you some self-care ideas! Until next time, love, Vee x

Book Review: Floored

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! So this week is a book review about Floored, a novel about when seven lives collide and what happens in the aftermath. Enjoy!

Blurb

Floored is written by seven authors; Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

When they got in the lift, they were strangers. Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means; Dawson, who used to be on TV, used to be handsome, and is sincerely hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it; and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.

Review

I bought Floored solely because Lisa Williamson had co-written it but I ended up loving all the characters and the craziness of the story. I even ended up liking Hugo, the most pompous prick there was. It was such a thrill reading this book; some nights I couldn’t put it down and it really has helped me with my reading slump.

I spent the first few chapters trying to guess who’s writing was who’s but after a while it all melted together and I ended up thinking it was written by one person, one voice.

I think having Steven Jeffords die in the lift and the fact his death brings them together every year to celebrate life, was an excellent idea. Every single one of them has problems in their lives and although they only see one another once a year, it means more to them than any friend they’ve ever had. These unlikely bunch mean so much to each other, they will run all around the country to see one another. That’s true friendship. No matter how often you see your best friends, they will still always be there for you in your time of need.

My personal favourite was Velvet because in the end, she finally finds her place in the world, her voice to speak up for herself. Like all of them, they find their purpose in life and having friends help you along the way is the best bit of the journey.

This book was so well written and gripping; I truly hope all the writers collab again in the future. I can’t believe seven people managed to pull this off; I hardly ever read collabs because of my bad experience with them in the past, but this book has changed my mind. I cannot wait to read all the authors’ other books.

This is a must read for anyone who needs a friend, a laugh or even a virtual hug from a book. Go and buy this book, now!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and let me know if you’ve read Floored or any of the authors’ work in the comments. Until next time, love, Vee x

6 Powerful Poems from the witch doesn’t burn in this one

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be sharing some of the most powerful poems from Amanda Lovelace’s collection: the witch doesn’t burn in this one. Please tell me in the comments some of your favourite and inspiring poems.

1. This has to be one of my favourites from the book because it’s so damn unapologetic. Do not, I repeat, do not let anybody walk over you.

2. You have all the strength in you that you need; use it and empower others.

3. The simple line is, you need to look after yourself just like you would a small child. Treat yourself with respect, self care and love.
















4. We are strong, independent women and we’ve got this. When our enemies intend for us to crawl up in a ball, stand up and fight back. Not because you want to but because you have to.

5. You have no idea what you are capable of until you pick up a pen and write your heart out. Inspire others just like you and not like you to stand up for themselves, fight for what they want and live their happiest life.

6. It is not normal to go through abuse. I’ve learnt this throughout the years and I’m here to tell you it isn’t right. Society has altered our perceptions of what a healthy relationship is.

I hope you feel as inspired as I did when I read Lovelace’s books. Be powerful, inspire and take care of yourself. Until next time, Vee x

Book Review: Emergency Contact

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be reviewing Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read it and what you thought!

Overview

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Review (may contain spoilers)

I saw the cover of this book on Instagram (as most of the books I buy are found on aesthetic Bookstagrammer’s pages) and I was intrigued. The cover is so pretty and once I read the synopsis I really wanted to buy it.

When I started reading it, I was so excited after all the hype around it that it sort of fell flat at first. The writing isn’t amazingly thought out; it’s very much “he said, she said” and nothing more. But as the book went on I started to forget the overused verbs and enjoyed the story line.

I really warmed to Penny’s weirdness and related a lot to her without even knowing it. She keeps an emergency stash of supplies in case of an apocalypse and her emotions are totally the opposite of what she wants them to be. I also thought Sam was lovable and even a gentleman. I don’t want to spoil anything for you but it’s so sweet and cringy when he thinks that a baby (not really a spoiler, it happens early on) can solve everyone’s problems.

I actually really related to the whole texting instead of talking in real life idea. It’s true, even with my partner of three years, I still have the urge to text him my feelings because I can better explain things via writing. It was a fresh idea and I think it worked well. The only thing that was slightly disappointing was Sam not getting his big break that you expect him to. 

For a debut novel, I think that Choi hit the ground running with this unique story of love, awkwardness and family drama. It has a bit of something for everyone and I even warmed to Mallory once I got to know her.

Overall, the characters were well set up, the plot was intriguing and even though the end is slightly predictable, the journey was the best part. I hope you pick it up and read it! It’s such a heartfelt book.

Happy reading! Love, Vee x

An Interview With C.G. Drew

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hi guys! This week’s blog is a special interview with C.G. Drew, the author of A Thousand Perfect Notes. I’m excited for this one!

About C.G. Drew


For those of you who don’t know, here’s a brief overview of who C.G. Drew is, taken from Goodreads.com:

C.G. Drews lives in Australia with her piano and the goal of reading every book in existence. Consequently, her brain has overflowed with words and she spends her days writing novels to make you laugh or cry (or both). She never sleeps and believes in cake for breakfast.

She blogs at paperfury.com.

Interview

A Thousand Perfect Notes was recently released in the UK last month; what gave you the idea for the story?


The very first threads I had for the story came from wanting to retell a classical composer’s life! (I won’t say the exact name, but you’ll know when you read the book!) I also have a bit of a whisper of Cinderella in there, coupled with the want to tell a story about siblings, friendship, music, and saving yourself.

A Thousand Perfect Notes is an emotionally charged story and I was wondering what the hardest/best part to write was?


The best parts to write were the banter scenes! I love writing jokes and quips, so it made me smile! The hardest, for me, is usually the last chapters. Keeping the tension right, figuring out a satisfying ending, and then of course letting it out in the wild to see what people think after I’m done…Always nerve-wracking!
 

Where do you like to read/write; does it have to be quiet or loud, indoors or outdoors?

 
I love the quiet! I’ll even wear headphones (without music haha) to block out as much white noise as possible. I usually write in bed too…or sometimes sitting on the floor (shh, I promise I’m a professional) and I do have a desk but somehow it ends up covered in books.

 

I’m sure you get asked this question a lot by writers but how do you cope with writer’s block? And is there any advice you could give to someone experiencing it?

 
Oh it’s the worst for sure. I actually write very intense outlines (we’re talking 20,000 words!) so I won’t get stuck at all while drafting. But when plotting and developing stories, I do get blocked. I don’t think there’s a “this works every time!” fix, but sometimes going for a walk and listening to music can help get the gears turning. I also make sure I keep my creative tank full (read lots of books, watch movies, look at art, etc.). I whinge about writer’s block, but I make sure I’ve put aside actual time to tackle it and I don’t just hope it resolves itself!


This is a hard question for any reader! Who is your favourite author or book and why?


Ahhh I can’t pick one favourite!! But here are some authors who endlessly inspire me! Maggie Stiefvater, VE Schwab, Adam Silvera, K. Ancrum, and Patrick Ness.

What are your future plans; are you doing a book tour for A Thousand Perfect Notes?


No book tour! I’m just small-time author yet!

This is one of my favourite questions to ask: If you were stranded on an island and could only choose 3 people and 5 books to read, what would they be and why?


For the people, I’d chose my sisters probably! (And possibly someone else who knows how to make a raft?!?) And the 5 books would be: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Lady Midnight, The Scorpio Races, The Wicker King and Autoboyography!

Your second book, The Boy Who Steals Houses is out in 2019; How different was it writing this book compared to A Thousand Perfect Notes?


I’m so excited for everyone to meet Sam and Avery in The Boy Who Steals Houses! The writing is definitely my same style as for ATPN, but you can expect a little bit of unique formatting, some achingly short chapters in the finale, and scenes that will make you laugh….and also cry!

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you next week! Love, Vee x

Meeting David Levithan

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! So a few weeks back I had the privilege of meeting David Levithan at Waterstones Piccadilly for the YA Extravaganza panel event. I was so excited for this because I originally booked to see David at an event where we were going to watch Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and he was going to sign books. But unfortunately Oliver came down with pneumonia so we couldn’t attend, which is why I was so thrilled to get a second chance to meet him!

Oliver and I went along to Waterstones and waited in line to get in. As we sat down there was a sneak peak of David’s Someday, the sequel to Everyday but we aren’t allowed to show anyone so we felt really exclusive. The atmosphere was amazing with so many fangirls and book nerds.

We listened to the panel which had authors Juno Dawson, Alice Oseman, Simon James Green , Lucy Christopher and Katherine Webber. And obviously David. They talked about the writing process, different types of books and the audience had a chance to ask questions about the books and the authors themselves. I realized, after the talk, that I knew some of Juno’s work and I’m really interested to get my hands on Clean, her latest book.

After the talk we all had a chance to meet the authors and purchase books so obviously I had to meet David and I bought his latest release, Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah, which was co written with Rachel Cohn. I walked up to him and my stomach was full of butterflies. I handed him the book and told him he’s my favourite author and his book, Two Boys Kissing was my absolute favourite and he told me it was his too. I asked for a photo and he agreed!

I was so thrilled and the feeling that ran through me was a mixture of pride, amazement and promise. I hope that one day I can be just like him; editing and writing stories from home, flying over the world to give talks and have discussions. I felt at home and what a wonderful feeling it was.

I can’t wait for Someday to come out in October and I feel empowered by these authors to follow my own dreams. I also got to know more authors who’s books I’m interested in reading and who doesn’t love adding more books on to their To Be Read piles?!

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon! Love, Vee x

Twenty Facts About Me

Well hello there. I think I’m getting the hang of posting regularly! So I am writing this blog because I think it’s good for you guys to get to know a little bit more about me and what I enjoy.
1. I eat way too much chocolate. I am seriously considering making my life ambition to help authors with their chocolate addictions and open up a rehab. 
2. My favourite TV shows are: Friends, Gilmore Girls,The Inbetweeners, Jane the Virgin, The Vampire Diaries and Gavin and Stacey.
3. My most annoying habit is picking my nails.
4. My favourite book right now is probably Every Day by David Levithan.
5. My all time favourite series has got to be the Shiver trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.
6. My favourite authors are: David Levithan, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Huntley Fitzpatrick and Maggie Stiefvater (I spoke about this in a recent blog of mine).
7. I’m pansexual.
8. Apart from the UK I have been to Portugal, France, New York and the Spanish island of Ibiza.

9. Places I would like to visit: Italy, LA, Canada and Amsterdam.
10. My middle name is Leigh and my parents picked this because my aunt’s name is “Kayleigh.”
11. My favourite food to eat is chocolate (obviously) and burgers.
12. My favourite drink is probably a latte (none of that complicated crap like strawberry, raspberry and watermelon frappe or decaf soy latte).
13. My favourite number is 13.
14. I have an unhealthy obsession with Taylor Swift and have been a fan since I was seven years old.

15. I am in a long distance relationship.
16. I also have a long distance best friend (all the best people live far away!!)
17. My favourite movie is Bridget Jones (all three of them).
18. I want to become a published writer and freelance editor/proofreader.
19. I love unicorns. I have a onesie, stationary, ornaments, clothes, slippers and even a night light that my partner’s parents bought for me.
20. Three years ago I was suffering with crippling anxiety and couldn’t leave the house. And thanks to the support of friends, family and most of all, Oliver (for pushing me when I just couldn’t face it) I am now able to travel to London alone, go out shopping (I’ve nearly conquered shopping centres) and become so much more confident in myself as a person. Without Oli’s help I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do today.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading 20 facts about me and don’t forget to subscribe and follow my Bookstagram: @neurotic.writer.ramblings

Living with Anxiety and Depression

I wrote a post quite a while ago about coping with anxiety but I would like to also share a post about what I’m currently going through and maybe, just maybe, someone else is going through the same situation and feelings and this can help you feel less alone.

I have a wonderful partner, a job that’s going to further my career and a supportive family. But all these things don’t stop the anxiety and depression that goes through me on a day to day basis. I don’t always experience it – but it can be a constant feeling throughout the day or a niggling feeling I can’t explain which only makes me MORE anxious.

Anxiety can occur in many different ways in lots of different situations. It could be anything from walking down the street to being in a busy shopping centre.

Going out of the house a few years ago was almost impossible until my partner encouraged me and soon I was visiting him in London and going out alone again. Since then I’m able to walk to work most days (some days I become anxious about walking in case I feel anxious – I know, anxious about being anxious) to work and I’m able to get a train and tube on my own to my partner’s house.

I still can’t set foot in a mall on my own and I become anxious about the smallest things such as calling someone, letting someone down or admitting how I feel.

Some days I struggle to get out of bed because I don’t want to face a stressful day at work or I don’t want to get up out of the safeness of my bed. Having anxiety and depression is like having two people yelling at each other. Anxious me: “Get out of bed! You can’t be late! You are going to feel ill. You’ll never feel better.” Depressive me: “I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s unsafe outside. No one cares anyway.”

The difference now is that I’m able to push myself further than I have before. I’ve just completed a journey through London I didn’t think I would ever be able to do and little accomplishments such as that mean a great deal to someone like me with anxiety.

My advice to you would be to celebrate these little things – in the end they will be the start of you taking big steps. Not every day will be easy, but it’s better to know there are other people going through the same thing as you.

At the moment I struggle to see when I will feel better, more confident in myself again. But it’s there, in the not too distant future. Whether it’s counselling that I need or just encouraging myself in general, I will get there and so will you. This journey may be hard but it’s not impossible. Lots of people think anxiety is something you can’t overcome, that it will be with you for the rest of your life. But that’s not true; we are able to overcome great obstacles in life, including anxiety.

Believing in yourself will be a great resource to you. I know this can be hard when you have anxiety coupled with depression, but I hope one day you see you will be happy, you will overcome these obstacles. And if you can’t see that yet, I can see it for you.