9 October 2017

Leaving the Ghost of Autumn Past

Oh I LOVE Autumn!

*Edit* I've always loved the idea of autumn, and falling leaves, and all things mustard... basically anything you'd want for an #basicblogger flatlay. Glastonberry, I'm looking at you! On paper, Autumn is Sophie in a nutshell, and I'm not just talking about my love of squirrel decor.

There's the cosy knitwear for one thing, and the fact it's now socially acceptable to order hot drinks.... with the exception of that Trumpkin spiced latte #unpopularopinion. The TV is better, the vlogger hauls are dreamier and there are SO MANY opportunities to unleash my inner crafter (hello pine cone bunting and knitting my dog a Weasley jumper ) Last but not least, those falling leaves... 
Oh Autumn
I want to swipe rightleft *google* right and Fall into your Love Story. Yet like the snowman I plagiarised at the start of this post, my idea of you always seems to surpass reality. For when you put throw me in Autumn, I'm not such a happy snowman human. If past experience is anything to go by, I'm more likely to sing Look What You Made Me Do/I Knew You Were Trouble/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.... until next Autumn, when we Begin Again with the same old story and realise there is such a thing as too many Taylor Swift references. 

These negative associations go back to my school days, when Autumn meant the pressure of a New Academic year, proving myself to teachers, essay-writing perfectionism and pushing through mock exams in a freezing cold hall (Apparently a new Head Girl plaque was more economical than heating). In my first year of University it got better; I remember Halloween/Bonfire Night celebrations and *trying* to join in. However, a bereavement in September 2014 triggered old coping-mechanisms: perfectionism and anorexia. By Autumn 2015 I was pushing my mind/body beyond what was healthy; juggling Newspaper Press Days with Essay all-nighters and not even allowing myself a plain-old latte. Anorexia enjoyed stealing the milk from my coffee.
By Christmas 2015 it finally caught up with me and I was suspending my studies to start IP treatment for 3 months. Upon discharge, I did make progress and sustain recovery for several months. By August 2016, I was starting a part-time job and planning a return to University in January. Long story short, I couldn't cope. It was zero-hours contract and there were huge issues with management. My anxiety rocketed, my physical health deteriorated and I was readmitted in November 2016. 

In a (rambling) nutshell, that's the Ghost of Autumn for you. My mind gets so muddled at this time of year, because I don't know how to feel. I want to embrace all the things that speak to Sophie, yet I have this shadow behind me that I can't shake off. I'm scared. There I said it. I am scared. I'm scared of that 12 month mark since my admission and what feelings that will bring. I'm scared that I'm not strong enough. So yes, I'm scared... just in case you missed it! But I will not run scared

How do we solve a problem like Last Autumn? How do we catch the ghost and pin it down? (I really need to Let It Go with the soundtrack references). Well, I have an idea. I might not be able to get Olaf's Naivety on instant download, or become a ghostbuster and erase those memories, but I can create new ones. So to end this post, here's how I'm building my own personal flurry....


I currently volunteer at a Primary School each Tuesday and I absolutely love it. I will be talking more about this in a Video for Mental Health Awareness Day, but it truly is the highlight of my week and the best motivation for recovery. Tomorrow I am going to check that the placement is for the full Autumn term, as my last school placement was just 6 weeks. I would love to continue until christmas, so hopefully they feel the same! Simply the thought of a school nativity makes me as excited as Hermione on World Book Day


I've made no secret of my love for nature rambles  and when I see those falling leaves... there's no comparison. Yet that's the thing - you have to see them! At University, I didn't. I was on auto-pilot, rushing up and down hills, running between lectures and the library, obsessively walking around supermarkets and refusing to get a taxi in the pouring rain. I barely noticed the trees change colour, or felt the crunch of leaves beneath my feet. 

This is where mindfulness comes in. I want to truly savour autumn. I want to frolic through the fields of wheat leaves with Millie and do my best impression of Theresa May Sandi and Noel. I want to take my camera with me and capture the beauty of it so I can look back and remember. I want to walk and then stop. Take a second to stop and see Autumn awakening. , rather than keep my eyes shut in the past. 

One month in and I'm pleased to say this has happened! If I ever find negative thoughts creep in, telling me to walk faster, I tune into a Podcast or stop and take a photo. They're only small things, but they really have helped... as does Millie! power walking isn't an option when there are leaves to roll in nuts to scavenge and branches to attempt to pick up. Bless her little cotton paws. 

     IN A KNUTSHELL     

My Etsy Store! Specifically, Harry Potter meets Etsy, which hopefully explains the Knut pun. I have Galleons of ideas for autumn/winter themed crafts, but I am reminding myself to take small steps! is just a little acorn right now and I must be careful of the perfectionism/pressure trap. So I've started to list down my ideas and create realistic, attainable goals for the rest of Autumn. The last photo in the collection below, may give a clue as to my latest thought... Warm Hugs anyone? If there are any digital prints/crochet creations you'd like to see, please share your ideas in the comments!

     Pick A Pumpkin Or Two     

Mum, Dad, Millie and I all went to a Pumpkin Patch last year and it was a childhood dream come true! However, it was very close to my admission and I my physical/mental health prevented me enjoying it to the full. This year, I will have the energy to chase after Millie and not feel frozen to my fingertips. I want to carve the pumpkin and not let perfectionism take over/tell me it's not 'good enough'. No doubt it will try, but to that I reply with some wisdom from JK Rowling...

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case you have failed by default."


Coffee with all the frothy, soya goodness. Need I say more? Actually, no. You don't need to say anymore Sophie. You don't need to ramble. Coffee, soya, frothy goodness = priorities sorted.


Honesty. The last flake in my Autumn flurry, but possibly the most important. This time last year, I was once again falling wearing the mask of "I'm okay". I was pushing people away. I was writing blog posts that, in all truth, didn't convey the reality of what was happening. I was scared... like I am now. Like I am most hours of most days. But the difference now is that I'll try to say it. I won't shame myself into silence, because I won't follow the Ghost of Autumn back to hospital. 

Compared to a year ago, I have this will and reason to fight. It was the thought of my future Matildas that led me downstairs five minutes ago and to the snack cupboard. When I saw a double-digit blood sugar number and the idea of eating felt "impossible", the possibility of future Miss Honey Miss Harrison led me back upstairs with snack-in-hand. A snack I am currently eating, through tears, as I write the final words of this post. 

Perhaps this is too honest, or I'm too weak. Perhaps no one even reads this, in which case I'm talking to myself and none of that even matters. Last night, I tweeted about deleting my blog; I thought that I wasn't good enough/it was self-indulgent/no one reads it. I very nearly acted on those anxieties this morning... yet somehow I ended up writing this and it has reminded me of what does matter: writing. Just writing, even if no one reads, because it's made me believe in myself and this little Autumn flurry. Perhaps that is enough.

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