Last Day at Work!

Life Updates

My last day working for menswear has flown past and I’m left feeling rather nostalgic and a little at loss with what to do with myself. I remember the day I had my interview with my department manager and leaving the interview feeling absolutely terrified. Since then, I’ve massively grown as a person, in strength and in determination. Not without a few obstacles on the way, however! Nevertheless, it’s been a wild ride and one I’ll cherish for a long time.

Working for a high-demand fashion retail company isn’t easy when you’re literally running around the shop-floor all day. The one thing I was guaranteed was a decent night’s sleep after an 8 hour shift. Working for menswear was also an entirely new and exciting experience for me; I’ve learnt to style men for occasions (kinda still getting my head around that one) and help co-oordinate outfits both merchandising-wise and for customers. With regionals coming down every couple of weeks, this job has been simultaneously the most stressful and enjoyable retail experience.

The customers were a challenge, I’ll happily admit that. With men shouting at me for not smiling at them, throwing clothes on me, demanding I run up 3 flights of stairs to find them a jacket etc, it was exhausting. When customers didn’t speak a word of English, they’d start getting furious with me for not understanding them. Also, from called an “asian persuasion” to being insulted and harassed for refusing to give me phone number/ my name, I can only look back and laugh at the nature of half the arguments there’s been in menswear.

However, this job couldn’t have been as wonderful as it has been without the people I’ve met and grown to love over the course of the few months I was there. From the cashiers to the stockroom assistants to the security guards, it felt like one big family and I’m grateful to have been a part of it. I learnt the art of sass from my floor manager and how to control my tongue when men became particularly aggressive towards me and my merchandiser taught me everything I needed/ wanted to learn about merchandising – something incredibly invaluable. Their relentless support and encouragement made the experience evermore enjoyable – without it, I don’t know where I’d be. It was an absolute pleasure working with such wonderful ladies. And finally, my boss. I don’t think I have ever got on so well with a manager before. Our relationship was an odd one, though – one minute we’d be laughing, the next minute screaming in each other’s faces, at times literally hitting each other. I think 90% of that stemmed from my inability to understand what he was saying most of the time, but I’m immensely grateful to have worked for a really amazing guy. He transformed me from the timid little 19 year old at the interview into a no-shit-taking, thick skinned 20 year old. The love and respect I have for him I cannot put into words. All I can say is thank you. For absolutely everything, but most importantly for taking a chance on me and making me cry/laugh at the same time.

I looked forward to coming into work these last four months, so thank you to everyone at Croydon for giving me memories I’ll cherish and friends for life. It won’t be the same not coming down those escalators and seeing your faces again!

All my love,

Anisah x

Anisah vs Her Body: Round 3

Life Updates

2013: Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. 2014: Pancreatitis. 2015-present: Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction.

I’m stuck in a kind of stand off between myself and my doctors; they’re aware of how detrimental my condition is to my physical and mental wellbeing, yet they’re reluctant to take any action due to the potentially life threatening complications associated with it. It’s made furthermore frustrating by the fact that SOD is so rare in patients, especially at my age, too.

2015 was a year completely dominated by pain and I hope never to relive the experiences I endured that year again. When you’re in a situation such as mine, it’s incredibly difficult to adopt a facade of positivity and automatic “I’m fine” responses to the repetitive, rhetorical “are you okay?” In short; no, I’m not okay. It appears I’m fighting my body on a daily basis in the hope that it’ll stop trying to reduce me to my knees from unrelenting pain. But that’s not what people want to hear.

Thankfully, I appear to have inherited my parents’ strength and willpower; I am a survivor and I will fight this to the end, but its left me questioning – at what cost? I’m unable to go about my daily activities without being crippled by the pain at least twice during the course of the day. I can’t eat properly. The prospect of a (second) good university experience is hampered by pain. My anxiety is through the roof. It’s all a vicious cycle with no bright light – yet.

I’m a strong believer in things happening for a reason, by forces greater than us. There is a plan for me, I just need to trust in myself and those forces that I’ll make it through to the other side. It’s been a traumatising road these past few years and I’m incredibly tired of fighting, but I’m also desperately hoping this won’t continue for much longer and that this is just the final stretch in a (literally) gut-wrenching battle.

Throughout this ordeal, I’ve managed to retain a somewhat positive outlook on life fundamentally thanks to the strong support network of friends and family I have around me. I say this time and time again to the point where these words almost come across as empty but it’s thanks to my loved ones that I have come this far. My mother raised me to be strong, positive and almost certainly not a defeatist; my father raised me as a fighter. It is because of their support and unrelenting positivity not to mention belief in me that I’ve managed to make it this far. My true friends stood by my side and helped me battle against my health during my darkest hours, giving me the strength to fight when I thought I could fight no longer. I’ve come to know some truly wonderful people over the past few months who have completely changed my outlook on life, not to mention made me a better, stronger person. I cannot thank them enough for simply being in my life, and I know I’m blessed beyond words to have compassionate people around me. It’s because of these people that, during the dark hours, I can see a light. Perhaps it’s not the light at the end of the tunnel, but the promise of light is good enough for me.

So, amidst a sea of uncertainty, I’m going to give this illness everything I’ve got and battle through to the end, armed with a positive mindset and determination to overcome it before it has the chance to consume me. Forgive me if I backtrack every now and then, though.

On a final note, thank YOU to everyone who’s taken the time to simply read my blog, not to mention commenting on it, too. From my work colleagues to best friends to family friends: your support means the world to me. I don’t even need to tell you I love you; you already know. Without you, I would not be half the person I am today.

A x

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2016

Life Updates, Mental Health Activism & Awareness

This week marks Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This month marks 10 months since I beat my eating disorder.

I guess the first stage of overcoming it was actually coming to terms with having an eating disorder; admitting to myself that I was struggling to cope with the operations I’d had the year before and just missing out on my grades to get into uni. In many ways, starving myself was a coping mechanism as well as a method of maintaining control over my life through my body weight. So admitting to my parents and my psychotherapist that I had a problem was the first step on the road to recovery.

The second step was finding the courage to seek professional help; that in itself took the longest. My mum’s friend is a therapist and recommended a few private professionals as the prospect of being put on a waiting list when my condition was getting so serious was impossible to accept. After flat out refusing to see/talk to anyone about my problems for well over a month, I realised I’d either have to pluck up the courage to talk through my anxiety and pain or spend the rest of my life miserable, isolated and starving myself until I was close to death/actually died.

My first session with the psychotherapist was incredibly daunting; naturally, every instinct in my body was telling me not to trust her because she was an outsider. My brain was screaming she won’t understand. I think she, too, saw my apprehension and helped me work through it by sorting through my personal life piece by piece. She began compiling a timeline of every significant event in my life, from starting high school up until present day. Of all things, I didn’t expect a chronology to be as helpful as it eventually proved to be, because once she’d organised key moments of my childhood and adolescence into categories on her timeline, it eventually unravelled what the cause of my anxiety was.

My anxiety had physically manifested itself into an eating disorder and the only way I could tackle the eating problems was to tackle the anxiety first. This was, and to some extent still is, incredibly difficult. Seeing a therapist every week was incomprehensibly effective as she helped me trawl through the trauma I’d experienced essentially since high school, and soon this slow but steady psychological improvement was reflected in my eating habits. The root of my eating problems was ultimately a lack of self esteem, originating from mistreatment and psychological trauma at my high school. Teachers and a few students made me feel worthless and I guess I spent 6 odd years growing up with the belief that I was nothing but a failure. Once my therapist helped me through this harrowing acceptance of my high school experience, I began to accept other aspects of my life, too. For example, my physical health deteriorated rapidly in 2013 and the trauma of relentless, disabling pain also took its toll. Over the course of a year, I managed to work through the psychological aspects of my life which were contributing to a lack of self esteem and my anxiety attacks. 

The other fundamental factor of overcoming my eating disorder was accepting that my body was a thing to be loved, not loathed. I was so desperately trying to achieve an ideal body weight that I lost all sense of rationale. This ideal body weight soon became dangerously life-threatening which is when my parents confronted me about why I was so thin, and why my hipbones were sticking out through my jeans. I was incredibly careful to hide everything from them; from putting food wrappers in the bin despite eating none of the contents, to wearing baggy clothes. (thereby hiding my weight loss) I used to starve myself from morning until 5pm, binge on whatever junk food I could find, only for it all to come back up because my stomach was shrinking and couldn’t tolerate a massive influx of food in one go. Due to my inability to keep food contents inside my body, I was rapidly losing weight but no one really noticed, so I kept pushing to lose more. Over the course of the year that I received help for the eating disorder, I learnt to love myself a lot more. Surrounding myself with good, positive influences and detaching myself from toxic, negative people is ultimately what saved me. 

It’s incredible how many people compliment me on my body now, three sizes up from what I was two years ago. It’s also incredible how far I’ve come, emotionally and physically, since high school. Beating the eating disorder not only saved my life but it also helped me get over the trauma of my high school experience. It made me realise that I’m a survivor.

I cannot emphasise how important it is for people to show solidarity amongst understanding and compassion for those suffering from eating disorders. Sticking around for someone can make a world of difference. Whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold when times get tough, just being there is what helped me through my darkest hours. Cowards walk away from people in desperate times of need. Don’t be that person.

Here’s a list two websites which helped me in times of need, too:

https://www.b-eat.co.uk 

http://nedawareness.org

A x

My Battle With Anxiety: 2 Years On

Mental Health Activism & Awareness

Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying… These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life.¹

Sounds about right. I still remember the first time I heard the word, instantly associating it with weakness and fragility. A flaw. There are many misconceptions associated with the term ‘anxiety’ and understandably so, considering the word is so broad and broadly used in society. I also believe it’s used too loosely in day to day life, contributing to a lack of understanding. Despite coming so far as a race, we’ve become stuck in a place where we cannot manifest the ability to treat people equally based on their mental state, which is undeniably a shocking position for us, as humans.

The first time I told someone outside of my family about suffering from anxiety, I was terrified and lost in a world where toxic thoughts were swimming around in my head and I genuinely believed they would save me from drowning. Initially, telling someone else about this was an instant relief. I felt a little lighter knowing I’d shared something so destructive in my life with someone else who’d perhaps be able to help me through it, providing support where possible. Sadly, I was wrong. I’ve since learnt that people will certainly provide a supportive front but that’s all it is – a facade. Some of us are designed to deal with heavy emotional distress and some of us simply are not: and that’s okay.

Coming to terms with anxiety meant having to re-evaluate my relationships and friendships; it meant taking a step back and assessing what/where the foundation of my anxiety attacks were. I soon came to realise that a significant amount of stress I put myself under was based on being treated a certain way by people I believed I was close to. Without going into too much detail, I wasn’t treated very well by the people I held dearest to me, and I deserved much better. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t see it at the time, so it was a vicious cycle of feeling second best, then apologising for feeling this way only to be treated poorly a few weeks later. I believed that was okay, too, which is the saddest thing. My anxiety attacks were set off by feeling like I wasn’t good enough, which escalated until I reached breaking point. This was a continuous pattern throughout most of 2014 and early 2015.

I only really noticed an improvement in my mental health when I surrounded myself with positive influences and strong, healthy friendships. People who loved me unconditionally, who picked me up when I was down and never treated me differently based on my anxiety disorder. Cutting toxic relationships out of my life has massively transformed it. I’ve also found that keeping myself busy has helped immensely; the panic attacks come less often now, and I have less time to overanalyse every aspect of my life. It could be inferred that overanalysing has its perks (kind of) – I am an perfectionist and if something isn’t done to my standards, I’ll continue to work at it until I’m happy. As long as my mind is preoccupied, my anxiety levels remain steady.

Naturally, there are those days where I feel incredibly low and for no apparent reason. This is what I feel is imperative to underline and draw attention to; we have anxiety attacks, panic attacks and feel low for sometimes no reason at all. It just happens and there’s nothing we can do about it; no matter how much someone offers to comfort me, I cannot escape the prison walls of my brain, with voices telling me a thousand negative things all at once. And occasionally, the only thing I can do is cry about it and move on from there. Everyone reacts differently to anxiety and it’s formidable attacks: from crying to remaining silent for long periods of time, sometimes it’s best to leave someone be if they cannot comprehend what’s going on in their head. The same applies to social anxiety – I can’t control the panic attacks every time I enter a room or a bus full of people. Regardless of whether you’re my friend, relative or a stranger, I will panic when entering a confined space containing a number of people. That’s just the way it is for me, and no amount of therapy has managed to change that. (yet)

But if I’ve learnt anything over these two years, it’s to embrace life and all it’s got to offer us. I spent disgustingly too long distressing myself over whether or not I was a good person, if I was good enough. Surrounding myself with good people was what helped me through my darkest hours. People who inspired me, motivated me. Finally, writing has been the most effective form of therapy for me. It’s not even the factor of others going through similar experiences, it’s just ten times easier to deal with when I’m not holding it inside, when it’s on paper. Getting over the physical health stuff was tough enough, but coping with the trauma of a mental health disorder is something else entirely.

My anxiety hasn’t gone away but it’s most definitely become easier to live with. The good days almost always counterbalance the bad, and that’s what I’m focussing on.

A x

¹http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/anxiety/ 

 

Liebstar Award!

Original Writing

Having spent this week recovering from another attack of pancreatitis, I was overwhelmed to find that Star of Persia had nominated me for the Liebstar Award! Please please please check out her blog as it’s fascinatingly intellectual; her pieces are a great read! This is the second nomination I’ve had since starting my website, so bear with me whilst I fangirl a little at being nominated.

I understand there are a few rules to this award, so here they are:

1. You must include a link to the person who nominated you for this award

2. There are certain questions put forward to the nominee which require answering

3. You are required to nominate up to 11 bloggers

4. Put forward 11 questions for those who are nominated by yourself

Here are Star of Persia’s questions put forward to me!

For what reason did you begin to blog? 

I’ll let you into a little secret; it was never my decision to set up a blog! My colleague at the time helped me set up a WordPress blog, telling me it would boost my google ratings and make me easier to find, if one was to search my name on search engines. I went through with it after I uploaded a few of my pieces and was rewarded with a warm reception. Since then, my website and I have been inseparable 🙂

Three words to describe yourself and why? 

Compassionate. Ambitious. Dedicated. If I care about someone, I make sure they’re happy no matter what. I make sure they’re aware of how loved they are; even if they’ve wronged me in anyway, I’ll forgive them. I also strive to achieve the life goals I’ve set myself; I intend on teaching abroad and I’ll do whatever I can to help make it happen! Lastly, I’m dedicated; to my degree, to the ones I love, to my blog and to my career.

Favourite place of all time?

I have to break the rules slightly and give you two favourite places as I can’t possibly decide between the two! I visited Amalfi, Italy last year and the town was beautiful. One of the best holidays I had ever been on; I had a lot going on back home in London and Italy was the perfect retreat to get my head straight. The people were lovely, the food was exceptional and the views were like no other. Highly recommend! My second favourite place has to be the Saatchi Gallery in Sloane Square, London. I visited it recently, this July, and had the most amazing time; having been three times already, the gallery never fails to appeal to the artist within me. It’s inspiring to say in the least. I also had exceptional company that day, which made it one of the best visits to Saatchi. I see the gallery as a place where social inequalities meet modern art and it never fails to fascinate me.

Foods I couldn’t live without?

Probably any kind of chicken. I’m a chicken girl. Anything chicken related

Favourite person and why?

My best friend is probably my favourite person. I only met her this year, in May actually, at work, and since we’ve started working together she’s been the one girl I couldn’t possibly live without. She’s been by my side through all my ups and downs (the latter of which there have been many, recently) and she’s the kind of person who’ll show up at my house one day after work and instantly make me feel better. We spend most of our time together and we’re off to Paris this Friday ! I adore her; she brings out the best in me and tells me everything as it is.

Favourite books? 

MY FAVOURITE QUESTION SO FAR.

(a) Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys (It fills in all the gaps in Jane Eyre)

(b) The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (Not only does the author explicitly portray life in 20’s, with it’s social class divisions and inequality, but it also takes us on a journey of a man who would do anything to be reunited with the one he loves.)

(c) Poppet – Mo Hayder (One of the most terrifying psychological thrillers I have ever set my sights on. The novel questions everything you know and kept me up for weeks)

(d) Lullabies – Lang Leav (My favourite poet; she’s contemporary, sexy and edgy: exactly like her poetry. Her book pretty much retells the journey she went on when she fell in love and lost love, too. It’s very hard not to relate to the poems she writes, with such raw agony and emotion. One of the very few books which inspired me to write poetry and shaped the way I look at society today)

(e) Lament – Maggie Stiefvater (I was a 14 year old when I first read this book, and I’ve actually started re-reading it again. This was the first book in which I fell in love with one of the protagonists and felt what it must be like to indulge in a tragic love affair with someone you couldn’t possibly have.)

If you had once chance to do anything, what would it be?

Travel back in time. For one, I would change the person I was growing up. Looking back on my time spent in high school, I was controlled by a dictator-like authoritative figure or two who made my life a living hell. I was bullied beyond belief, and if I had the chance to, I would go back and stand up for myself. Secondly, if I could go back in time, I would stay the hell away from the people who I’ve now painfully lost; the people I’ve had to sit back and watch walk out of that door, never to return. Pain makes you grow as a person, but it hurts like a bitch.

Activities I enjoy? 

– Reading, although that might be a given. I’m forever being inspired by authors and the way they articulate their morals and life stories through protagonists.

– Writing, again possibly a given. Writing, for me, has been a form of therapy. It’s helped me come to terms with the health problems I have and the losses I’ve gone through. Turning someone or something into literature is quite possibly the best way of destroying them.

– Painting. I’ve intertwined this with my poetry and made a little scrapbook come art portfolio in which my inarticulate thoughts found themselves completely explicit on paper.

Biggest pet peeve?

Selfishness. I absolutely despise people who think their problems are bigger than anyone else. It’s another form of ignorance. I’ve come across too many people in life who think they’re the only ones who have suffered. Pathetic.

One thing I want to bring to people/the world’s attention? 

Inequality. This branches out in so many ways; sexism, racism, gender inequality. If we learn how to tackle inequality, the world will be a peace and there would be no violence, no murders and deaths of the innocent, no genocide and no terrorism. Not enough is being done to protect those in the firing line; those vulnerable to attacks which so often go unnoticed in the media. Of course the media is our worst enemy; we don’t see what THEY don’t want us to see. Once a majority, instead of minorities who get silenced for speaking out against oppression, speaks out against the inequalities of society, we can move forward. Until then, we are trapped in a  limbo of wanting to fight for our freedom but not having the manpower or the tools to do so.

If someone asked me for one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t look back. Ironic, considering I would love to go back in time. Move on, move forward from the person or people holding you back. We are worth so much more than the treatment we receive from the ones we hold closest to our hearts. I’ve been so deceived by people who I thought were positive influences in my life. Life is one big lesson, and we can only learn from it.

Now for my nominations! I nominate:

Sweaterk 

Shreya24x7

Ivebeenthere98

Khud Guzini 

The questions I put forward to you all are:

  1. What is your blog about?
  2. Why did you set up a blog?
  3. Where are you from? (not a stalker, I promise. I have no idea where half my followers are from!)
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  5. Favourite book?
  6. Favourite blogger?
  7. Who is your role model in life?
  8. If you could travel to one place, where would it be?
  9. What is your blogging goal? Whether it be followers, views, subscribers etc
  10. Choose one word to describe yourself, and give a reason why.
  11. What is your most embarrassing moment?

I apologise for not uploading the questions the first time round! I completely forgot. I hope you enjoy picking your brains as much as I did whilst answering these questions.

Thanks once again to Star of Persia for nominating me.

Have a fantastic bank holiday!

Anisah x

Dancing in The Shower

Quotes

Before I met him, I would dance in the shower. When he was in my life, I would think about showering with him. After he left, I would sit on the ground in the shower and cry. When I got over him, I showered so quickly, there was no time for dancing, fantasies and tears. Someone can invade the smallest part of your life, you won’t even realise it until you dance in the shower again and wonder why you ever stopped.

– Anonymous

Quotes

Don’t do that. Don’t tell me I’m not trying. I swam through 12 oceans and drowned in every single one of them, but each time the water seeped into my lungs and the fish started swimming in my bloodstream, I spat it all up and continued swimming. I am not a life raft, I will not pop in the middle of the ocean. I am a fucking ship and I promise you I will make it to shore alive.