BeYOUtiful – Week #23

A series on self-love and positivity that will take place every Sunday. Here I will chronicle how my week went with a question asked on the journal I bought in summer 2017 from Paperchase, and a brief idea of what is planned for the upcoming month in terms of the blog, which will be added/removed when done.

Hope you enjoy this series!

Continue reading BeYOUtiful – Week #23

The Planet Is Dying… & It’s All Our Fault

Earlier this week I attended an event about energy efficiency. And while the speakers discussed this issue on a more broad level, it really got me thinking: our planet is slowly dying. It’s good that conferences like this are happening all over the country, because it goes to show that someone is doing something about it… but are we?

Let’s Get Technical…

Debra Kelly on Listverse said that, “It’s no secret that our planet is in a pretty dire condition. Extinction rates have been estimated to be about 1,000 times higher than they should be, and that’s all due to human influence—and interference. With around 20,000 species at risk for extinction and countless others that we haven’t even discovered yet also dying, scientists are rushing to figure out what we can do about it. Some have suggested the sixth great mass extinction is looming on the horizon, and the problem is a massive one. It’s so big that there are things that you do every day that are helping to bring about the end of the world, and chances are that you might not even know it.”

What are we doing wrong?

These pictures from Bored Panda are just a few examples of what humans are doing that are killing the planet:

The burning of fossil fuels helps the Arctic ice melt faster

CO2 emission causes tsunamis

Cutting the trees for the white and soft toilet paper hurts the forests

Plastic pollutes the water that we drink

Meat and dairy industry pollutes the air

Heating our homes heats the Earth as well

Irresponsible usage of electricity causes the floods

The Greenhouse Effect

The exchange of incoming and outgoing radiation that warms the Earth is often referred to as the greenhouse effect because a greenhouse works in much the same way.

Incoming UV radiation from the Sun easily passes through the glass walls of a greenhouse and is absorbed by the plants and hard surfaces inside. Weaker IR (infrared) radiation, however, has difficulty passing through the glass walls and is trapped inside, thus warming the greenhouse. This effect lets tropical plants thrive inside a greenhouse, even during a cold winter.

So imagine what we are doing to our planet with the greenhouse effect… The Sun’s heat passes through the ozone layer, through the cracks of it, and the heat is trapped within it. Ice caps are melting, natural disasters are at an all time high and temperatures are soaring high (and if you live in either Malta or the UK, you know what this is!).

What can we do to help save the planet?

Related image

I’ll admit that “save” is an interesting word choice, especially considering many scientists think that we are beyond saving after the environmental devastation we have put Earth through thus far. However, as an optimist, I believe every little bit counts and we can still make this planet a beautiful place, and hopefully save its creatures from impending doom. The choices we each make today are important.

This article is very informative if YOU want to help our planet stay alive.



 

The Skinny on… Stigma

They say to never a judge a book by its cover. And yet, we judge those who look and behave differently from us. By “us” I mean humanity in general. I know many people who don’t judge those different from them.

I am one of them.

Before being clinically diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was considered a quiet, anti-social outcast with weird tastes in music, books and fashion. I was called weirdo for not interacting with others “normally”. (Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY calling anyone normal. Just generalising…!

What was wrong with this description? The stigma. Since when was being shy associated with being a weirdo? I know shy people who are more “normal” (again, just generalising) than me, and have greater fashion sense than anyone I know. Now I’m not saying all shy people are like this because . . . look at me!

Another myth surrounding depression is that anyone feeling ‘sad’ is said to be depressed. Um, since when?! Everyone gets sad at one point in life, but they are far from depressed in most cases. Imagine this: I was told I was just a ‘sad’ person, then some 11 years later, I was diagnosed. Not all sadness is the same, as much as it isn’t all depression.

If you do think that you have symptoms of depression, please consult your doctor or a psychologist for a proper diagnosis and guidance for recovery.


I can’t believe what I wrote…

It made so much sense in my head, but now, seeing it in writing… I don’t even know what I’m trying to say except to stop stigmatizing mental health.

Yep, that’s the whole point.

A Letter to my 30-Year-Old Self

Dear 30-Year Old Me,

… Hi, hey, hello! I sure hope I’m not as awkward in 2024 as I am in 2017 when this is written. This letter itself is awkward because, let’s face it, we both know that… I mean I know… I meaning my person not the past self… so including my future self…

Okay. Back to the main point.

2024… I have a lot of questions about this year. Like who the President of Malta is, if Paul McCartney is still alive and performing, if Betty White was cloned, if the war in Syria came to an end in a peaceful way… you know, normal stuff for us.

I always wonder, year to year, if the world has improved to the better or if it is getting worse. Remember when Trump was elected President of the United States? How we shook our heads and felt sorry for the population? Ah, fun times. And how–

I think I should stop, because this letter should be about me–I mean us… future me… whatever you get the jist–and not what is going on with the world.

What does it feel like to close the 20s chapter and start a new one named 30s? Is it as bad as people make it? As in, we’re not getting any younger now… I hope you’re not scared of this transition. But not to worry, future self, you’ll have me. Every step of the way.

Even though now, at 22, I’m still not sure of who I am, what my favourite food is, what character traits you changed and what remained the same. But one thing’s for sure… I will be you.

And I will be so damned proud of that. Always and forever.

Don’t you dare think otherwise. If you want to improve yourself, then just d it! I’m 100% in support of that, but don’t you ever try and change yourself for anything. Or anyone. Remember how that turned out? We don’t want The Incident to repeat itself, right?

I hope you’ve embarked on some type of adventure, solo and not. Have you travelled back to Paris yet? I hope you still love France and its culture! I hope also that you’ve picked up French again and became fluent after over 15 years of not speaking it! If you’re not, try Spanish… me gusta *wink wink*

Wherever you are in life right now, be it your home country or some other, I only hope for one thing: that you are HAPPY. I hope you still believe that life has so much to offer, and that it is beautiful and cherishable. Here’s to praying that nothing in the next 8 years will change this. If you somehow get distracted in any way, I hope you find the right way out, with the help of your friends and family… and maybe your boyfriend/fiance/husband?

Speaking of him, I hope you’re still together and having as much fun as you had during your first year of your relationship! I wonder if you adopted two dogs and had a child along the way… And are you still BFFs with Marty? That would mean you’d spent more than half your life as friends. That is incredible!

But if some people come and leave, that’s fine too. None of them owes you anything.

Nothing really wrong with people leaving. Things happen for a reason. And remember that people come and go. Relax. Inhale. 1. 2. 3. Exhale. 1.2. 3. And repeat.

And what about your goals? I hope The Goal (the big one) has been achieved, or at least is in the process of being. But if you didn’t, I won’t be the least disappointed. Because what matters is that you tried your best and fought your way to achieve said Goal. You WILL, however, get to it in time, because it was lifelong dream since you were a little girl.

I hope that no matter where and what you are, I want you to always surround yourself with family, friends and past memories, both good and bad. Because they are the reasons why I am 30-year-old you. Live through each memory with a proud smile worn on your face, and grow into the person past you would dream of becoming.

With so much love sent to you from 2017,
Your 22 (almost 23!)-year-old self

PS. I hope you’ve kept all your Beatles memorabilia, because otherwise I would have to build a time machine, travel to 2024 and kick your ass… or would that me kicking my ass?

Travel Series (1): Hacks

These are backed up by me either through experience or research. Happy travels!

  1. Roll your clothes instead of folding them. This saves up a LOT of space
  2. To prevent cords from getting tangled (which is a real pain), put them in extra sealable bags or even sunglasses cases
  3. Separate things in the following categories:
    • Clothes
    • Underwear
    • Skincare products
    • Shoes
    • Extra laundry bag
  4. If you’re planning on going on lots of shopping trips, pack an extra smaller suitcase
  5. Put all your pills in one container instead of multiple, bulky ones
  6. Save all the samples you can. This saves up space in your skincare/make-up bag
  7. Wrap breakable items inside socks or tops
  8. When you’re trying to book a flight, always go incognito. Flight sites track your visits and increase the price per every visit
  9. Placing a dryer sheet in your luggage will keep your clothes smelling nice and fresh
  10. Keep hairclips handy by placing them inside Tic-Tac containers
  11. Book flights Between Tuesday and Thursday. This is when they’re at their cheapest
  12. Make a list of everything you’ve packed
  13. Make sure your outfits revolve round one colour scheme
  14. Protect your razor blades by putting a binder clip on the blade part
  15. Make a souvenir list before landing
  16. Wrap you shoes in a shower cap

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“It all just got real…” – My Journey to Being Diagnosed

I led a normal childhood, as far as I can remember. I was the imaginative, creative weirdo who loved her imaginary friends and playing soccer. I had really good friends of both genders, played well with everyone and the teachers mostly loved me. However, I always had the same problem: I thought too little about consequences of my actions, but was preoccupied with what people taught of me: always was and probably always will be.

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I had a normal, happy childhood

There was nothing weird with my family. My parents are your average, strict hard-working parents who wanted the best for their children, and my older sister was… well… an older sister. She means well, I know, but sometimes she can be a bit harsh. But in a good sisterly way, I’m sure.

Fast forward to when I turned eleven: when the problems started. I was moved to all-girls secondary (high) school. I had no friends except for one a year above me (who’s still my best friend to this day… TEN YEARS LATER!), and I always sat with my sister during free periods. I had acne, low self-esteem and a reputation for being an outcast. I went from playing and talking to everyone to being left out, getting picked last for team work and talking to nobody but my sister and my best friend. During secondary school, I used to think I had depression, but brushed it off. The idea never stuck. Me, former class clown, depressed?! Nah!

I only ever liked three subjects at school: English, Italian and French. Having three languages was no walk in the park. I loved writing stories in English and present them to my teachers, who all told me the same thing: “You have talent”. I used to hate my French teacher for the two years that I had her, and never did my homework. She told me I’d fail, but I always got good marks in French. Italian was a different story. We were a tight-knit group, and I still sometimes talk to some of them when I see them around.

Also during this time I was bullied. The names were endless: weirdo, strange, Shrek, ugly. I was also called names for listening to rock music and always being gloomy. But that’s how I was. They’d never understand the consequences of their words.

In June 2011, I lost my uncle to cancer. It was one of the saddest days of my life. Despite not being too close with him, he always had nothing but wise words of wisdom to tell me and my sister. The day he died I was sick, in bed, studying his favourite subject: the French Revolution. I dedicated my History exam to him… didn’t go so well. I got an E. Sorry, Uncle. I still love you.

That year, in October, came the saddest day of my life: losing my grandfather. My hero, the greatest man to ever enter my life. He was smart, funny, a good man all in all: the person I aspired to become when I was older. I spent that day just staring without a focus on things. I was so sad that all I did when I went home was stare at the ceiling, remember the good old days with him. The laughter, sadness and wisdom we shared together. Losing him left me devastated and unable to cope.

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Losing my hero left me devastated

That led me to a downward spiral. I’d call my mum, crying that I hated everyone and everything, that I was alone and no one would miss me. This left her a little worried, but she brushed it off as a phase, simple sadness or something of that sort. 2011-2012 were the worst years of my life. My grades were plummeting; I had just two friends and being single didn’t help at all. I thought nobody wanted to be with me, or even liked me. I hid it all: the pain, the sadness, being lonely and alone. I hid it like it was nothing. And I was good at it. I good at making people think I was okay.

Fast forward three years. I was still sad, constantly tired, didn’t enjoy the things I used to love—reading and watching series—and my self-esteem was ever so low.

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I hid my sadness very well

During that time, however, something did change: I started seeing someone. As he plays a role in this, we’ll call him X. X was smart, charming, a fellow animal lover and mature. I was instantly in love. We were both Beatles fans, and having met for the first time on John Lennon’s birthday made the relationship extra special. I was working as a secretary, and was not happy with my job. X encouraged me to call someone for help. Something I wanted to do for ten years… and it happened. I called my psychologist, Dr G, and set up my first appointment for December 2015. Also during that time, I went to see a doctor, and told him about my health issues. He told me to take a blood test, because it might have been thyroid issues, and if they came out negative, chances are I have depression. And, lo and behold…

The tests came out negative.

I had depression. It all just got real now. After ten years, I was finally diagnosed.

Soon enough, things with X were going sour. He’d be encourage me to do thigs the hard way—go hard or go home, he’d tell me in his own way—like putting on make-up, changing my style, moving out, not listen to my parents and much more. X would tell me he means well and cares about my wellbeing, which for him meant cutting my family off. Unfortunately, being blinded by my love for him, I listened to him. I spent about three months not talking to my family.

Things started getting worse, and one day, he just told me that it was better to stay away from him. I spent the next three days in hospital, crying for him, crying for dear life, with my mother by side. Oh, mother, if it wasn’t for you then, I’d probably have killed myself. She came with me to every doctor’s appointment, kissed me goodnight and checked up on me constantly. I felt stupid for having cut her off of my life because of X. Stupid and foolish and sad at the same time.

And finally we come to the present:

  • I’m seeing a specialist every four weeks to overlook my progress
  • I’m in a fun, amazing relationship
  • My family still loves me
  • My friends both love me to bits
  • I started this blog

And most of all…

  • I am where I want to be 🙂

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Things That Have Helped me Deal with Mental Health

This will probably be the most personal post on this blog, granted. But before I start, let me put a disclaimer out there by saying that this list will in no way be of an influence to others, but rather to help a little. This is a personal list, so things that helped me, and no one else.

  1. My Psychologist

Dr G. was the first step towards realising I had a problem. Mastering my courage to actually call a professional for help is one thing, but to actually talk about it was a whole different scenario. I’d meet him every week for about two months. Currently I’m not visiting him anymore because I feel like I’m in a good place, and this doctor will always have a special place in my heart.

  1. Pokémon Go

I know what you’re probably thinking… really, Claire? A mobile app? At first I was a bit meh about the game as I wasn’t a huge Pokémon fan (I just watched it when I was younger and that was it), but then I started reading that the game has actually helped people with depression get out of their house. And boy did it work. I go out almost every day for an hour or two just walking to find the godforsaken Pokémons and the stops. … It sounds ridiculous, but it’s helped me get out of my house, so it’s on the list.

  1. Yoga & Exercising

This is a good one. Not only did they help with weight loss and flexibility, but also cleared my mind off of my problems and focus on working out. That simple. Working out also releases endorphins, which are the “happy hormones”, so there’s that too.

  1. My Boyfriend

We haven’t been together very long, but Chris has really opened my eyes on a lot of things in life. Social skills, love, friendship and many other things. He’s really supportive of me and I’ve never met such an awesome person.

  1. Going Old School

This may seem a bit weird to say. In my last relationship, I changed. I was becoming the worst version of me, somebody I wasn’t, and this caused a lot of arguments with my family, especially my mother, whom I love with all my heart (Love you… again). My boyfriend (refer to #4) has helped me go back to my roots: listening to old music like Zeppelin and The Beatles (again), dressing up the way I wanted, styling my hair the way I loved it (always up) et cetera.

I hope you all liked this very personal post. Now it’s your turn to let me know what’s helped you get over your battles with mental health? Let me know in the comments’ section below! And with that, I will see you on the flip side.