Thursday, 30 June 2016

Depression and travelling

Today has not been a great one for me. I woke up feeling a bit low, and then felt more and more down as the day progressed.

This would be okay if I was at home, as I could sleep it off. But 1) I am 11 hours ahead of the UK which makes it difficult to speak to my family; 2) I had to be in hospital this morning; and 3) I didn't want to be a burden on the girls that I am travelling with.

Depression is hard enough when you're in a familiar environment, but when you are thousands of miles away from home and staying in a strange place it can be even more difficult to have any hope of feeling better. I found myself bottling up, not wanting to make the other girls feel bad or be a spoil sport.

But by the time this evening rolled around I just couldn't hold it in any longer, and felt so much better when I did finally talk about it.

I thought I had completely recovered from my depression, but this little step back shows me that I need to take it slowly and not push myself too hard. I'm not too disappointed in myself as I understand my own body and why I'm feeling this way, and am hoping it's just a blip on my path to recovery.

I may be in a strange place, but I'm with some amazing friends and I now know that I can talk to them if I need to. I think the most important thing when you're travelling is to communicate, and not make yourself feel worse by thinking you're 'wrecking the trip' (you're not, your friends just want you to feel better).

It's okay to feel down, even if you're in a spectacular place where you think you should feel on top of the world. Depression can unfortunately hit at any time - it's just so important to ask for help if you need it.

Hannah x

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Our first disaster



So at 5.45am this morning I innocently woke up as I needed the loo, stepped out of bed and felt my feet hit a puddle of water. I thought I was dreaming so took a couple more steps, but found that I was making splashing noises and the water was covering my feet.

Somehow, overnight, our hotel room had completely flooded. It sounds like such a cliche thing to happen to travellers, but it happened to us! The bags that were on the floor were soaked, and unfortunately Neala's passport was destroyed, so we're going to have to go to the embassy to replace it.

This will probably be something we'll laugh about a few weeks down the line, but today was quite stressful. We also started our first proper day in hospital today, but I will let you know more that tomorrow.

This evening some of the staff from our hotel have invited us to go to a carnival with them which should be really fun!

Hannah x

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Bula



Today has been such a lovely day. We went into hospital to meet our supervisor this morning and he said that we should take the day off to settle in more, so we found a public pool and spent the day around there.

We were the only people around the pool, probably because it's Fiji's winter right now so I'm sure the locals thought we were mad... But it was about 30 degrees here and very hot so I thought it was perfectly sensible to go for a swim!

We get a lot of stares around town as there are not many tourists in this part of Fiji, but I'm starting to get used to it now. We've learnt a couple of Fijian words (like 'bula' for 'hello' and 'vinaka' for 'thank you'), but most Fijians speak very good English. Although they didn't quite understand us when we asked for bread rolls yesterday - I think that must be a British word.

Fiji seems to be a very laid-back country; on the plane yesterday they even told us to turn our watches off as we were now on Fijian time. I'm enjoying the mix of Fijian and Indian cultures here and finding out more and more each day about both of them. One thing that I didn't realise was that in Fiji they drive on the left side of the road - I thought that was just the UK!


For tea we stopped at a Chinese restaurant, where I had a delicious vegetarian chow mein. All of our food so far has been amazing - even breakfast this morning of toast and eggs.

I also love drinking bottled Fiji water, which is really expensive in England but standard here, costing about 80p for a large bottle.

I feel very relaxed right now but am looking forward to starting hospital properly tomorrow and seeing the difference British and Fijian healthcare.

I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday - mine is just over but I guess all of you in the UK's will be just starting!

Hannah x

Monday, 27 June 2016

Day 2: Hong Kong > Fiji

I'm 100% sure whether it's day 2 or 3 now as we've been travelling for over 40 hours, but I'm in Fiji!!!

Our first stop is in Labasa, which is in the north of Vanua Levu, the second largest island that makes up Fiji. Tomorrow we start our hospital placement, which I am a bit nervous about. I'm supposed to be on the paediatrics ward but I have no idea what I I'll be doing or how much responsibility I will have.

It's so warm here - we're 11 hours ahead of the UK so it's currently 7.30pm and still 26 degrees with a very high humidity level. Fiji is absolutely beautiful and I can see myself falling in love with it; it is much greener than I expected and I loved seeing all of the tiny islands as we flew over them.

We are very very tired so will probably be going to sleep soon, so wish me luck for tomorrow!

Hannah x

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Day 1: Manchester > Hong Kong




I am currently writing this from Hong Kong airport (which is incredible by the way - there are over 500 gates here!). I got up at 6.30am yesterday morning to travel to Manchester airport, and then our flight left for Hong Kong at midday.

We had a 13 hour flight and finally arrived here at 7am this morning Hong Kong time. I hardly slept on the plane as I couldn't get comfortable, but I did watch 3 good movies!

We have a 10 hour wait in Hong Kong before we get our plane to Nadi in Fiji, so are sat around playing cards and chatting. I'm very tempted to have a nap on the floor - I'm not great with minimal sleep!

Hannah x

Friday, 24 June 2016

BRB


This photo kind of sums up last night: being on a boat with a beautiful sunset on the River Mersey. I had such an amazing time catching up with friends and dancing the night away, and I'm so proud of all of us fourth years for making it this far. We all deserved to party last night!

I am currently at home, manically packing as I fly to Fiji for my medical elective tomorrow (I'm slightly worried that my huge rucksack is going to be over 20kg!). I can't believe how fast it has come around, and I'm very excited, yet also nervous to be away from home for so long (I'm away for 7 and a half weeks in total).

As I said previously, I'm going to blog as much as possible, whenever I have WiFi, but for now you'll have to be patient with me as I don't actually land in Fiji until Monday morning. Our travelling time is over 30 hours, as we have a stop over in Hong Kong before flying to Nadi airport in Fiji.

So be right back with some exciting blog posts!!!

Hannah x

Thursday, 23 June 2016

FREEDOM

I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED EXAMS!!!

Today was (hopefully) my last ever medical school exam, and I'm so happy to be finished - this seems to have been a long time coming. Tonight we have a party on a ferry on the Mersey River which should be amazing; I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's happy faces!

Hannah x

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Thank you for your support and feedback

So after yesterday's post (which I think shocked a few people when they read the title, including my mum - sorry Mum!) I am really glad that I decided that I would continue to blog. So many people commented that they would really miss my daily posts if I stopped, and for that I am so grateful as I try my best to put interesting content onto my little corner of the internet, and also really enjoy writing it. Blogging is very therapeutic - more people should try it really! I guess I just wanted to say thank you once again, and thank you for being so supportive with regards to my mental health.

Today has been spent revising with my housemates, as we have our second to last exam tomorrow! It is a practical one with real patients, so we will be examining them or taking medical histories, and telling the examiners our diagnoses and management plans. I think it will be nice to interact with people again and show off what we've learnt over the last 4 years, but I am very excited for Thursday night to roll around!

I am currently sat in bed with a candle on and my relaxing playlist on Spotify, reading a book. I'm definitely going to get an early night as my exam starts at 8.30am tomorrow (I mean, what even is that time??!).
The strongest actions for a woman is to love herself, be herself and shine amongst those who never believed she could.



Monday, 20 June 2016

Is this the end of my blog?


Just under two years ago, I opened up blogger.com, signed up for a Gmail account, and started Pull Yourself Together.

I started my blog because I was severely depressed, and thought that writing my thoughts down would be a good way to help myself recover; plus it would make me get out of bed every day so that I had something to write about. I also wanted to get the message out that mental health is nothing to be ashamed of - I wanted to help as many other people as possible.

Two years down the line, and I think I have completely recovered. I think my depression has been cured. And I believe that a lot of it is to do with my little corner of the internet, and all of the support that I have received from it.

So now, what do I do? I feel like a bit of a fraud to carry on blogging when I have beaten my depression. I feel a bit silly continuing to write about mental health, when I am very lucky not to be suffering with it at the moment. I feel like my niche has disappeared.

However I have discovered my love for blogging. I adore sitting down every evening and writing my thoughts down - I find it very therapeutic. I also think I still have a lot of advice I could give about mental health, even though my own is good at the moment. I have a lot more adventures that I want to share with you guys.

I think it would be weird not to blog any longer; I would really miss it. I have had so many amazing opportunities through Pull Yourself Together, and have met so many lovely people that I would now genuinely call friends, that I think it would be a shame to give it up now.

So I'm afraid that you're stuck with me for now, and hopefully for a long time to come! I genuinely value my readers and find it bizarre, but incredible, that you are interested in my little life on the internet - and I promise that I'll continue to be open and honest with you, like I have been about my mental health in the past. I really feel like if you read back on my old blog posts, you can follow my recovery and see how much I have grown as a person.

I have a pretty difficult post regarding my mental health that I want to write over the next couple of weeks, so keep your eye out for that. I also have my travels to Fiji, Australia and Bali to share with you over the summer!

I know this probably doesn't sound sincere coming over a blog post, but thank you for reading this, and thank you for all of your support. Your comments and emails or private messages mean the world to me, and have really helped in my recovery. You're basically all my therapists that I just ramble on to for ages!

Lots of love as always, and as my Grandad always says, keep smiling!
What you are is what you have been. What you'll be is what you do now.
             - Buddha



Sunday, 19 June 2016

4 days to go


Since Friday I have been halfway through my exams, and I now only have 4 days left! (3 of which are exam days).

We're at the final push and I couldn't be happier - this weekend has been spent packing for my elective in Fiji and doing a slight bit of revision. Oh and catching up on sleep. This time in a week I will be on the plane to Fiji, I'm so excited! I also can't wait to finally get rid of my revision notes that I seem to have been staring at for weeks.

I will be blogging as much as possible while I'm away but it obviously won't be every day, as I don't know when I'll have WiFi, or how good the connection will be.

I hope you have all had a lovely father's day.

Hannah x

Friday, 17 June 2016

How to Find Your (First) Husband by Rosie Blake

How to Find Your (First) Husband Rosie Blake


A few weeks ago I was asked whether I would like to receive the new book by Rosie Blake, and after looking at the blurb online I agreed as it sounded right up my street. I love reading, and I especially love reading girly books that are set all over the world, so How to Find Your (First) Husband looked perfect for me.

How to Find Your (First) Husband Rosie Blake Review

How to Find Your (First) Husband follows the story of Isobel Graves as she tries to find love and her purpose in life. The story starts off in LA, where Isobel is determined to make it as a TV presenter, but instead is stuck dressed as a prawn, handing out fliers to promote a fish market. She is originally from England, and catches sight of Andrew Parker, her childhood sweetheart, on TV - so decides to go back to her hometown and find him. Isobel travels from LA to Devon, and then to a small Malaysian island to find true love.


This book is the perfect summer holiday read, with some amazing settings with descriptions that take you to paradise. Isobel can get slightly annoying at points, but I think that makes her much more relatable and endearing. Rosie's writing reminds me of authors such as Lindsey Kelk, with a romantic yet humorous twist that makes all of the characters seem real and extremely likeable. This book also really made me want to visit Malaysia!

Rosie Blake has previously written two more books, and I think I'm going to have to purchase them as I enjoyed this one so much. She is a clever, funny and relatable author that I am looking forward to seeing more of in the future.
Don't miss out on something that could be amazing just because it could also be difficult.



Thursday, 16 June 2016

The perks of being vegetarian

Tonight, after getting back to Liverpool, my housemates and I decided to go to Toby Carvery to carb load before our exam tomorrow. Being vegetarian I ordered the brie and broccoli parcel instead of meat, and expected to have a small pie on a plate that I could add vegetables to.

But just LOOK AT IT.


The chef gave me two plates so, naturally, I loaded them up as much as possible (with alllll the potato). I wasnt even embarrassed walking back to the table with my two plates (if anyone said anything I was planning on staying I had a 12 year old child to feed...)

I did finish everything but I was so stuffed afterwards. I could then have got away with saying I was pregnant and eating for two as I had such a huge food baby.

And then we decided to have a sundae as we had a voucher to get one free...


...because I needed more food.

So since then I have been lying in bed trying not to move or laugh as it hurts my tummy too much. Talk about fat for finals!

Hannah x

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Losing the will

The last two days have been spent revising for hours on end, and I am so sick of it. I think this time is the hardest bit of being a medical student for me - the tediousness of studying and the dragging of time until my exams eventually come around. I find it difficult to keep going and always end up with a headache at the end of the day.

My written exams finally start on Friday so I only really have one more day of full-on revision, but the thought of having to get up tomorrow morning to look at my notes once more makes me want to vomit. I even had a little cry today.

Life is just so booooring right now! I actually can't wait until next Thursday when they're all done and I can sleep and watch Netflix all day without feeling guilty. And have an alcoholic drink. Lots of alcoholic drinks will be needed after these exams.

Hannah x

Monday, 13 June 2016

Me Before You


Floral Pinafore Playsuit - New Look
White Ribbed Top - Primark
Trainers - H&M
Bag - Primark

This evening my sister and I decided that we would go to Southwater in Telford, the area by the shopping centre that has restaurants and the lake. It's really nice since it's been done up, so we decided to have an evening eating a meal out and going to the cinema so that I could have a good break from revision.


We went to the Harvester for tea and had a standard pub meal of burger and chips. My veggie burger had veggie chilli and a huge pepper on it, which was really nice. The good thing about the Harvester is that they have a salad bar that you can help yourself to as much as you want to. The only thing with this is that I usually end up filling myself up with lettuce leaves and potato salad before my main even arrives...


Afterwards we went to watch Me Before You at Cineworld, and oh my it is such a good film. Really sad but equally as touching - it made me re-evaluate my life and what was important when I came out of it. I read the book by Jojo Moyes a couple of years ago and loved it, so was really excited when I heard that the film adaptation was being made. A definite must-watch.


I love spending time with my sister; we usually spend a lot of days together during the summer, so it will be weird not doing that this year as I am away for 7 and a half weeks. We get on so well and just end up giggling for most of the time (mostly because I start doing a funny dance or something) - I love her to pieces! Family time is very special for me.

Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.
#projectsmile



Saturday, 11 June 2016

The best face wash ever feat. The Blue Lemon

I can 100% hands-down say that my skin hasn't been this good since I was about 10. I think that's down to a few factors - being happier, medication (I'm currently taking Dianette), and a great face wash.

The Blue Lemon Tea Tree Gentle Exfoliating Face Wash


And that great product is The Blue Lemon's Tea Tree Gentle Exfoliating Face Wash.

The Blue Lemon is a skincare shop based in Shrewsbury, that opened in late 2015, plus an online shop, created by Jorg and Jenny. Their production unit is based in Ironbridge, and all of their products are handmade and carefully selected, with the main ingredient being shea butter. All of their products are vegan, contain no preservatives, and are not tested on animals.


The Blue Lemon, 48 High Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

My mum happened to mention that a co-worker of hers had tried some of The Blue Lemon's products, and absolutely loved them, especially the cleanser, which she claimed had worked miracles on her skin. Mum popped into the shop one day and brought me back a sample, and I was hooked from there.


I splash my face with water, put a bit of the face wash on my fingers, and gently massage it in, before rinsing it off. This creates a really foamy wash that leaves my skin feeling thoroughly cleansed. The actual product is almost like a sugar scrub but less scratchy - it doesn't actually look like a face wash at all. But when mixed with water, it creates a perfect lather to thoroughly wash your face with.


The Blue Lemon's face wash smells like tea tree (which is one of the main ingredients), and is really lovely to use. I have been using it morning and night for about a month now, and have noticed such a difference to my skin. It is much less spotty and I break out less often - plus it always feels much cleaner after I have used this product. I literally couldn't recommend it enough if you suffer from acne or break outs.

This face wash can be bought from the shop in Shrewsbury or online here. It is £10 but will last for ages - you only have to use the smallest amount of product. To be honest, I would pay much more than £10 for this!


The Blue Lemon do lots of different products, such as hand cream, moisturiser, scrubs and men's products. Mum has their hand cream and absolutely loves it. I hope they stick around in Shrewsbury and online for a long time to come, as I will be purchasing this face wash for as long as it's produced (when it actually eventually runs out!).
In a world full of trends, I want to remain a classic.
              - Iman



Thursday, 9 June 2016

Here's why I don't weigh myself


This may sound strange, but I don't know how much I weigh. Haven't done for a couple of years.

I remember a period when I was a teenager when I would weigh myself every day. I became obsessed with the number on the scales, and hated myself for a fluctuation of 2 pounds or so each day (which was obviously just water weight or the time of day that I weighed myself). I would eat as little as possible, sometimes skipping breakfast and only eating a couple of oranges for lunch, and felt absolutely awful. Some of my friends were really slim and I knew that they weighed a lot less than I did, which made me feel even worse - even though I was a good few inches taller than them and curvier.

My weight became a bit of an obsession - when I look back I realise that it was at the start of my depression, and I think it was one of the only things in my life that I could control at that point.

Some time after that I decided that the obsession needed to stop. The number on the scales didn't define me. So I stopped weighing myself so much; perhaps only once a week. And eventually I got to a point where I actually dreaded stepping on the scales, so just stopped. I didn't see the point in making myself feel bad anymore.


Now I still feel exactly the same: stepping on the scales feels exactly like checking my bank balance - a chore and something that I hate doing. I haven't particularly changed clothes size, so I know that I haven't put too much weight on. I eat relatively healthily (but definitely never skip meals any more). I know I could do more exercise, but at the end of the day I am so much happier than when I let my weight define me.

I have bad days and good days with my body - but actually so many more good days than I used to have, even though I'm probably bigger than I was a few years ago. My happiness and mental health are much more important to me now, and I realise that I am much more than a number on a scale. Nobody else looks at me and assesses how much I may weigh, or judges me for it. Plus I love food too much - it also makes me happy to be able to enjoy it.

I think we would all be so much happier if we just focused on being healthy, and stopped letting the scales affect our mood so much. The number on the scale does not tell you how good a person you are; how much you are loved; or how to be happy. Those are much, much more important.
Although difficult, change is always possible. What holds us back from making the changes we desire are our own limiting thoughts and actions.
                   - Satsuki



Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The start of fourth year exams

Just a quick post today as I'm going to go to sleep early - my fourth year exams start tomorrow!

This year we do our finals, so these exams will be the last ever medical school exams I sit. Tomorrow and Friday I have my clinical skills exam, which encompasses all of the practical skills we have learnt over the last 4 years, including taking blood, injections, examinations and histories.

I'm so glad that my exams are finally starting, and I can't wait until 2 weeks tomorrow when they will be over and done with. This week seems to have been a long time coming.
Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.
              - Ralph Waldo Emmerson



Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Beyonce prints to make you feel fabulous

Everyone would love to be as fabulous as Beyonce, right? So I thought I'd do a little round-up of some Beyonce prints to hang up in your house, that will make you feel great every time you see them.



1) Watermelon Print - £12.00
2) Quote Print - £5.92
3) Watermelon Print - £17.63
4) Single Ladies Dance - £7.05+
5) Hot Sauce Print - £4.24
6) I Slay Print - £14.10+


7) Haters Print - £14.10+
8) Flawless Print - £5.08
9) Hot Sauce Print - £4.81
10) Rain Down Print - £14.07+
11) Single Ladies Print - £7.05
If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.
               - Beyonce