I decided to try the vegan way of life (in terms of foods) to test how beneficial this lifestyle change could be. Every vegan I know raves about being a vegan but I’m the type of person that has to try things for myself. As said in previous posts I could never go completely meatless however, I don’t need meat in my diet daily.
Prep day I made a weeks’ worth of chickpea curry with the best kitchen assistant…Pinterest. The prep lasted no longer than 15 mins and the same goes for the cooking time. I tend to not cook so much as I don’t enjoy the cleaning process but I actually enjoyed cooking this time and the clean up was very minimal. I made my mum a batch with basmati rice (somewhat of a tester batch)and she loved it so hopefully, this will keep me going during lunchtime at work for the week.
Day 1 On the way out the door for work, I picked up a doughnut and debated whether the V on the label stood for vegan and not just vegetarian. After scanning carefully, I was excited to know that breakfast was sorted. I’m not much of a snack person so I avoided crisps and chocolate but during a mini break at work, I had an orange to keep me going until lunch. Lunch 12.30 pm: was the ultimate chickpea curry but instead of rice, I went for pita bread (yes I checked it was vegan during purchase). 5 pm: Turns out I wasn’t as full as I thought; felt so starved and had a load of chips for early dinner. Day 2 I can feel my energy levels fading. Another day of chickpea curry; I’m not bored of it yet but I know I’m not taking in enough protein and nutrients as I usually would. Due to this my mood today has been pretty hit & miss. I’m happy, tired and stressed all at once. It’s only Day 2, I’m hoping tomorrow will be a lot better. Day 3 I’m feeling more positive, however, today is the last day of chickpea curry…probably a good thing. I’m not tempted by meat which is great however, I don’t like the limitations that come with this dietary option. This definitely isn’t a life change for me. Day 4 I don’t feel hungry as such but my stomach is shouting at me and telling me it doesn’t agree with this diet change. Usually, I avoid snacks but now my body is craving crisps and chocolate. I bought peanut M&M’s today knowing I can’t eat them but I just needed to know they were in my bag. I’m not feeling as weak as I did yesterday but I’m getting tired faster than usual, which is not ideal especially in my line of work. Only 1 day left! Day 5 The end is here! I feel vibrant this morning. Again still tired af but could be worse. I’m proud I have made it through the 5 days; at times I didn’t think I would make it. 5 days doesn’t seem like a long time but when you’re a foodie like me, it feels like a lifetime. I lost weight which I wasn’t expecting and managed to fight the will to snack which made me realise I’m stronger than I thought but vegan just isn’t for me. I’d happily go vegetarian if need be but that’s the most my body will accept. I applaud vegans for having the strength to check ingredients in products and devote time to this lifestyle.
As you can see that chickpea curry only made it to Day 3 but it made me get inventive for the last 2 days. Usually when I get home from work I’m too tired to eat a full meal however, on this diet all I wanted to do when I got home was eat. This isn’t a lifestyle change for me as I just about made it to Day 5 but I think we can all do with a breather from meat/fish based meals at times.
Recently I’ve been triggered and the old cold-hearted me is waiting to make an epic return. Over the past few years, I’ve been calm, composed and said yes or ok at times when really it isn’t ok. It’s now getting to the point I think I have ‘mug’ written across my forehead.
People have really forgotten I am a Queen.
The past few months have consisted of people calling, messaging, liking posts to get my attention and I’m really not here for it. If I don’t reply to you within a day, take your L’s and leave me alone, and in best case scenario…delete my number.
I’m done. I need new eggs.
People always want to come back into your life whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years. From my experience people tend to come back when they’re bored, looking for attention or curious and that’s what I don’t have time for. ‘I miss you’, ‘Hey, how have you been?’, ‘long time, no speak’. Is this truly necessary? If someone doesn’t want you in their life, take the hint and either give them space and they’ll come back to you or just cut ties completely.
I’m a good friend, partner, person, which is why I tend to give people too many chances. From now onwards everyone gets 1 chance. I’m too grown for the stress, aggro and time wasters. This is why I’ve been doing a lot on my own recently; I genuinely enjoy my own company and it’s refreshing at times. Truth be told, I’d rather be alone than surrounded by nonsense. Luckily, I have a close group of friends and family and that’s enough for me. People seem to take my kindness for advantage and in the world, we live in today that kindness gets taken for granted. Recently with better mental health, I’ve been able to see clearer and see people in a different light. Due to this, I’m having a life clear up.
If you’ve got bad eggs in your life I advise you let them go. Friends, partners, anyone. If they are no good and use your good spirit for evil, show them the exit. If you are the type of person that likes to unnecessarily creep back into people’s lives, the best thing you could do is remove the temptation and delete/block all communication.
I don’t remember when exactly I invented ‘Single Summers’ but I love it. I really do get excited over it.
It came about during a time when I realised all my friends and I were single at the same time. One friend was really down and out about being single and me using my charm and banter as always to be supportive thought, you know what, let’s go out and do what we want to do this summer. Whether its trying different beer gardens, going for brunch every weekend or travelling to somewhere new. I love spending time with my friends especially when the sun is out and this made summer worth looking forward to. Single summers isn’t as bad as it sounds. It’s not about being a hoe, chasing guys or trying to get attention; its the complete opposite. It’s about making the most out of being single before we are older and have families or other responsibilities. It’s about taking care of number 1 and not being the singles who sit around feeling sorry for themselves.
I’d be happy if one of my friends said they were seeing someone or had a girlfriend/boyfriend but for now this is something for all to look forward to and use to make memories together.
We must make the most of the time we have on this earth before it’s too late. Furthermore, we must make the most out of English summertime before it’s too late!
I’ll be sure to share what I get up to this summer on Instagram (Solobutterflyy). If any of you feel sad or pressured about being single, don’t let this hold you back. Go out there and live life!
Last time I posted I was 24 and now I’m here as a 25-year-old! I use birthdays more as a way to spend time with friends than to celebrate my actual birthday, however, this year I decided to go all out and have a party (as I’ve never had one and thought why not), go for dinner and basically spend the month doing what I want. 2019 is already a big year for me. Not because I turned 25 but because career and health wise I have accomplished so much and had much more developing to do. I’ve never cared so much about age but I asked myself would hitting the big 25 affect me?
Do I feel any different? Well, I feel and hear the biological clock ticking but I did too when I was 24. Now, I’m just more accepting of ‘what will be will be’ however, that’s due to maturity and being a realistic person. I don’t feel old or young, I’m just out here living.
Am I where I want to be in life? Well as I said in a previous post if you asked me years ago where I’d be now, I would have told you with child, with a partner and probably working in an office. My life is the complete opposite to that and I am honestly grateful for it. I’m 100% not ready for a child, especially with how excited I am to drink and travel this summer. I’m single but happy single; too busy to feel sorry for myself and job wise, I’m feeling better than ever. I finally found a job I love, I don’t even have an office and I’m constantly upskilling myself and gaining qualifications. Career and academically I have exceeded my own expectations. So overall am I where I want to be in life? well, my health and happiness have much improved over the years and that’s all I could ask for. Again, as I said in a previous post I have stopped planning my life, so I am not focused on relationships, kids, needing a mortgage right now…everything will come into place.
This leads nicely onto me asking myself what my goals are by the time I’m 30. Well, I’m no longer planning my future but I do tend to build on my happiness and do what makes me, me. When I’ve saved enough, I will get on the property ladder. If I see someone I like, I will shoot my shot. If I need a breakaway, I will go away or travel to the UK. Sometimes the unknown is an adventurous feeling and leaves some excitement in life.
This is a blog that I’ve wanted to write from the beginning but it’s hard to discuss especially when I myself am not a man and it is also hard to find men who want to express their feelings. I’ve waited for guys to come forward and share their stories or opinions but this topic still such a taboo even though it’s recently been bought more to light due to celebrity deaths, statements on TV and social media overall. According to Safeline “76% of suicides are committed by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35 in the UK” (www.safeline.org.uk – worth a read!). In addition, in the UK, 12.5% of men suffer from common mental health disorders (mentshealthforum.org.uk, 2017). These are drastic statistics; so why has men’s mental health only recently come to light in the last few years? Passed from generation to generation men have been told what their role in society is, how to feel, how to treat others, how to carry themselves but this has led to suppression and it becoming natural for women to be seen as the sensitive, insecure gender in comparison to men. This is not okay. Times are changing and we need to support each other and adapt to these changes. Mental health is a silent killer whether physically, mentally or emotionally and speaking openly about this is the first step to making an awareness.
Below are statements from brave men who wanted to come forward and share their experiences and opinions:
-“Men are solution-based animals, talking about our feelings rarely helps us resolve the traumas we are experiencing, we want a route to getting out of it. Men’s problems right now stem from a lack of a strong support network which provides us with opportunities to progress in the areas of our lives which we have neglected or are suffering”.
-“This blog is a good thing, honestly you need to try and get through to young kids. I’ve lost a few friends over the years and there’s no one to talk to. You don’t want to talk to family because they will worry and send you to live with your nan or something. You can’t go to any of these charities or organisations because as soon as you tell them you lost your friend to a stabbing it feels like they don’t understand. There needs to be help for young men out there”.
-“I think that Men, in general, need to be more honest about it and stop being so dismissive of it too – check up on your friends if they’re feeling down or acting unusual because it could be a lot worse than it seems on the surface. Side note – being from an Eastern European background our culture is very dismissive of men’s mental well-being and any signs of mental unrest is seen as weakness, and we’re usually told to ‘man up’, which more often than not worsens the problem more than it does solve it. And in our culture, mental health issues aren’t really recognised as real conditions but just ‘phases’”.
-“It’s something I personally struggled with for 6 years and I felt lost, angry, alone & very sad throughout my time with depression. You feel you can’t speak to anyone about this either that you’re afraid to or you think it will pass by itself, this is not the case speaking out about it with anyone not just a doctor or a therapist can help immensely. For me, my sister helped me throughout a lot of it. For me it wasn’t seeking a therapist it was speaking to my doctor and taking being advised to take Citalopram. This helped me a lot with all my issues I had. I also started at the Gym which I think personally really helps, it keeps your mind straight & focused, releases stress and motivates you; not just for me but I believe this helps for everyone generally regardless of depression. So if you are struggling with this and you have thought about seeking help please do so. So that we can fight these issues together. Don’t be afraid”.
–“Men are raised to focus on their physical health and foster attitudes that society accept as manly; many of which contribute to poor abilities to deal with problems of the mental variety”.
-“Going through depression as a man isn’t something that’s often spoken about because men are inherently seen as strong/unemotional beings in society. I grew up without a prominent father figure and was often told to not cry or feel sad because I’m supposed to be strong for my mother and my siblings, as I’m ‘the man of the house’, this phrase stuck with me as it held so much weight. To me the phrase ‘man of the house’ basically means in hat context ‘you can’t be sad’ it was hard to not feel some kind of way about that, ironically, I got down and with the pressure of being ‘man of the house’ my feelings were never brought up and put aside for a long time until I finally broke, there have been times I’ve really thought about ending it, though, with a few people supporting me I got through it. Hopefully, we can change how sensitive this topic is for men”.
Some reading the above its clear their views on the topic are very similar. Lack of support and the need to break gender stereotype. This is coming from guys that you would pass every day and not once think to have any kind of issues. They continue with life, socialise, date, go to work and carry on; this is proof that you never know who is suffering or which men in your life come under 12.5%.
As a society, we need to do better and understand that the black dog exists. To understand what I mean by the black dog I advise you to watch the video below, but there are many simple things we can all do. Break the taboo on mental health and get talking; a simple hug can go along way, look into the hug movement on Instagram, they are spreading awareness of the positivity from holding someone close. Sometimes I walk around London and see people giving out free hugs; hugging reduces stress, improves self-esteem and boosts Oxycontin levels (also known as the love hormone).
Check on your friends especially your strong one every now and then and ask if they’re okay, hold meaningful group chats and social gatherings. Maybe it’ll be nice for a group to chill occasionally and talk about life instead of going on a binge every Saturday night. Make use of the research and charities out there. So far in this blog I’ve referenced different websites/organisations, the information is out there and so is the help. I am also available. This is something I am passionate about and could speak on until the end of time; I have an open-door policy on life and can provide that confidentially support you need. No one should be made to feel alone; sometimes it’s hard to speak to people close to you due to embarrassment or judgement but I can assure you there’s nothing embarrassing about opening up, if anything its courageous and inspirational.
I could talk about the ‘treatments’ such as the different therapy, counselling and medications but that is another story and something best to hear about from your GP or a Mental Health Organisation directly. I got help on an off chance; I went to see my GP for a completely different reason, made a ‘throw away’ comment and she picked up on it straight away. The GP gave me the information booklet for SLaM IAPT; I didn’t know what it was until I went on the website and I wasn’t expecting much. I didn’t think the comment I made was that deep but she managed to see that everything wasn’t as okay as I was trying to make out. This just proves how important listening is. If you pick up on something someone says and you think, hmm that doesn’t sound right and you’re not comfortable asking or digging deeper, just point them in the right direction. GP’s aren’t just for prescribing medication and referring you to Hospital, they do provide advice and professional, confidentially assistance. As I said previously no one should be made to feel alone. This blog may be about Men’s mental health but we all need to work together to make sure our men are okay. Be a good support system, be a good friend, partner, neighbour because you never know how your comments or actions can affect someone.
Thank you to all the brave guys who shared their views and stories for this blog x
It is important for us to understand our own beauty within and our own health needs and wants in order to booth body confidence. Body confidence comes from more than what we look like; it’s how we feel and how we carry ourselves.
Weight loss/gain, relationships/friendships, work, virtually anything will lead to us losing our body confidence. It doesn’t help to live in a world with Twitter, Instagram and everyone’s opinion on the internet telling us what we should look like and how we should be living. Black girls are told to hide their natural hair, men are made to hide their feelings; these opinions and elements chip away at our confidence. We don’t want to be seen as vulnerable or make people feel awkward but there’s nothing wrong with rocking an Afro or a man crying. The moment you stop caring about what other people think and begin doing you, you gain part of yourself back. When you suffer from anxiety, depression or any type of mental illness it takes your confidence, whether it takes 9% or 90%. Some people (like I did) stop being social, stop going to the gym; some start comparing themselves to Instagram models, celebrities and what their friends are doing. Others begin to change their attitude, the way they dress or the stop wearing make-up. This is okay because these are tangible elements of us we can always get back.
When I lost my body confidence, I also lost all motivation. In order to gain it back, I had to think more in-depth about the point in which I stopped exercising and became anti-social. Once I touched on the problem, I was able to work out a solution. As a solution I would write down all the things I wanted to do. Whether it’s to try a new look or to get out of the house more and set myself a deadline to do this. If you do this note down how you’re going to do it, who with and what could be considered a barrier and why. Most importantly, try and stick to the plan. Tell a friend or family member so they can support you and give you a little push that is sometimes need.
Other ways to boost confidence is knowing your worth and loving yourself. To do this, you need to take care of your well-being. As mentioned in my first post ‘Anxiety’ fitness & travel have health benefits in terms of changing moods, behaviours and strengthening the mind. Fitness is a big influence. A few months after working out you may feel like a new person. Changing to a healthier lifestyle, again will change your mindset and make you feel like a new person.
Say it into existence. I will go out today. I will dress nicely. I will attend that birthday dinner on Saturday I was going to flake out of. Take a chance in life.
Sometimes with mental health we tend to distance ourselves from people; usually the ones who care about us the most. We’re too fixated on our worries, stress and negativity to think about whether the people we do keep around are the problem.
I’ll happily admit I’ve cut close friends out of my life purely because I recognised they were no good. Friendships & relationships needs to work both ways. If you’re with someone who doesn’t ask how you are doing, calls just to check up on you or only talks about themselves, you need to question what’s the purpose of this. Depending on where you’re from, taking me (a British) for example, we don’t always like confrontation, dealing with frustrating situations or not being liked however, if you have someone in your life who isn’t bringing food to the table, simply send them away from your house (not literally but I think you get the point). I’ve had friends, even an ex who were so wrapped up in their own world and superficial behaviour that they didn’t realise I too was generally going through situations in which I needed support. When we are depressed or anxious we don’t want people to worry or feel sorry for us so we don’t make a big deal or say ‘look guys I’m depressed’ but someone real and meaningful in your life should be able to see a shift in your behaviour or even in your expressions, lifestyle and appearance. Due to this, if you see a friend that is usually dressed to the nines and suddenly stops caring about their hair, or getting dressed up for a night out, just sit that person down and have a 1 to 1; see if they open up to you and trying to have a heart to heart.
In whatsapp group chats there is usually one person in the group you’re closest too, or the loud one, the one with all the banter, the one with the gossip, the one who replies every 5-7 working days, the meme one and the one who reads but ‘forgets’ to reply. It’s very easy to act okay and to have a good time together but there’s no harm in opening a direct conversation with someone in the group if you pick up on something they said within the conversation that didn’t sit well with you. Sometimes people in group conversations can be indirect or like me quite passive aggressive. Check on your strong friend.
The thing with certain friends, especially the loud or the gossip is that you may question their intentions. The gossip could easily spread your business and the loud could easily make the situation about them. If there’s someone in your circle you don’t trust or can’t rely on, cut them out. If there sometimes there, sometimes not- cut them out. If you feel you’ve out grown the friendship- that’s right, you cut them out. Sounds harsh and rude but honestly, it’s a breath of fresh air to get rid of bad vibes. I’ve known people for many years and have outgrown friendships and acknowledge I’m better off without them. If I can’t confide in you and rely on you to help me get out my bad mood or to at least support me as a distraction then there’s really no time to entertain this. Sometimes it’s the people you’ve known for less time that become really good friends and its usually down to maturity and the stage in life you’re at.
Its not always friends that could be a problem. In the black community, especially within older generations (our parents, grandparents, more on) they don’t acknowledge mental illness as a thing. You must get up and continue with life, no point crying over spilled milk. The older generation believe we’re just lightweights and that they’ve been to hell and back so whatever we are going through isn’t that bad. Truth of the matter is, this world hasn’t become easier, everyday they’re constantly struggles. Culture sometimes stands in the way of treatment. In addition, seeking professional help, statically its hard to find a black professional in this field or if you do go to a Caucasian professional, would they truly understand your issues? It really depends on their experience. I don’t think my professional understood that you can’t always just walk into a black household, sit down and openly talk about your feelings. In addition to family, your partner could have an impact. Not everyone will have the most supportive, affectionate or understanding. How they help you deal with your mental health will determine whether they deserve a place in your life; unfortunately, you may love someone but its not always enough. Toxic behaviours and love could be one of the reasons you are feeling worried or stressed or depressed in the first place. If this is the case there are multiple reasons why you may not want to let go: fear of being alone, thinking you’ve found the one, thinking this is what you deserve, embarrassment or ending a relationship, the list goes on. However, when it comes to doing what is best for you, you need to be selfish and what’s best only for you. Bearing this in mind, picture your life without the emotional and mental affect of this person. Think about the benefits of losing that negativity. You won’t automatically start feeling better, but you develop as a person and get to a stage in life were you will wonder why you put up with them in the first place. If you have to tell someone in your life to take a step back or to leave you for good, do you and maybe with maturity and time they will understand why.