Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A little more personal

I'm pretty sure I've stolen the title of this post from a Lindsay Lohan song. Which, quite frankly, is nothing to be ashamed of, as her two solo albums pretty much formed the soundtrack to my teenage years, along with Hillary Duff's Greatest Hits... *can't help but cringe slightly*

Today I'm writing a different kind of post, less about beauty and more about the past year in general. I do actually have another blog (Garden of Thoughts) where I write about different topics but I thought it would be nice to include a more personal post on my beauty blog to give any readers out there a better idea of who I am and why I am how I am. If that makes sense. Stick with me!

The past twelve months have been a bit of a roller coaster, so I'll go through different topics in the order they cropped up. I got engaged to my wonderful boyfriend at the end of March last year, having dated (how American!) for just over five years beforehand. We met when we were 18, at school in Classics class, and we've been together ever since. He truly is the most incredible man; kind, supportive, calm, funny, gorgeous. He brings logic to my slightly more 'let's go crazy!' approach to decision making. We're a good balance, I like to think. The wedding date has been set for next January, on our 7th anniversary, meaning we have precisely 7 months left to plan everything. Eek! We've booked the church and venue, and I've ordered my wedding dress. Surely that's all the important stuff covered?! I'm in the process of writing addresses on Save the Date envelopes, but at the rate I'm going we might as well skip those and go straight to the invites! Wedding planning has given me something positive to focus on recently, a goal to achieve by a specific deadline. It feels great to be planning something and seeing it come together in reality bit by bit. As I'm sure you can tell, I'm VERY excited about it all!

In October last year I started a new job at a university careers service, and in April this year I left. While it was going well at first, I soon realised it wasn't quite for me, only before I came to this realisation I started having little panic attacks and periods of intense anxiety that sort of spiraled into bigger panic attacks and constant, everyday, long stretches of anxiety. Eventually I resigned from my job in order to find something with a little less stress and shorter hours, thinking this would solve my anxiety. I suppose it was a classic case of attaching my anxiety and low mood to something external and thinking a change of scenery would make it go away. I quickly found a job as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school, something I had done for four years in a secondary school throughout my degree. The hours were shorter and it was a different kind of pressure that I was more used to, but funnily enough the panic attacks didn't disappear. In some ways my anxiety got worse, especially social anxiety. I can't help but worry that people are judging me, thinking I'm incompetent or just not very intelligent. I know that logically, people have far more pressing things to focus their thoughts on! But still, it makes me feel uncomfortable, to the extent that I started having regular panic attacks in the morning, in the toilets at work, and in the evenings at home. After being signed off for a week or so, I was faced with a difficult dilemma. Due to the terms of my probation period, I wasn't really 'allowed' to take lots of time off for sick leave, and as I'd had a week and a bit it was quickly building up. To cut a long story short, I had to hand in my notice. 

Since the age of eighteen I've always had a job. I've been a waitress, check-out assistant, Learning Support Assistant, Careers Information Officer, Teaching Assistant, Admin Assistant. It feels very, very strange to not have a job at the moment. I'm not catastrophising just yet, as I've still got to a year to go of my Open University degree and I've recently signed up for some volunteering work. I do, however, have bills to pay. I'm looking for part-time work to slowly get me back on my feet, as I really do want to work and start tackling my anxiety issues. Withdrawal isn't the best line of attack, I fear. I'm currently on a medicine called Citalopram, which is a low level anti-depressant used to treat anxiety and panic attacks, and having joined a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy waiting list in January I now have my first appointment scheduled for the end of July (don't get me started on the NHS and mental health). I've always felt immense pressure to have a 'career plan' sorted out, and I think a lot of the anxiety I've experienced since my teen years is linked to this. I'm trying my best to let go of worrying about the future and about my 'vocation' or 'ideal career' and of 'reaching my potential' because, quite frankly, it's making me ill. I will get better and I will form some sort of career, but it's OK to take baby steps. 

Around the same time that my anxiety kicked off back in January, I signed up for a beginners tarot reading course at an esoteric bookshop in London. I've always been interested in all things spiritual and divination, and wanted to take up a hobby to try to distract myself from worrying about work. I absolutely loved the course and have gone on to read the cards to a more advanced level, practicing on family, friends and anyone else willing! Tarot is my other main hobby aside from beauty blogging. It's relaxing, exciting, interesting and life changing. You can read all about it here if you're interested! I primarily read via email, and although it may sound strange, it really does 'work'. I'm thankful I discovered tarot as it has given me a good focus through difficult times and I know it will always be a part of my life. I'm in the process of setting up a tarot reading website, which is super exciting. I'm also keen to take a Reiki healing course and qualify as a Reiki practitioner. Perhaps my 'career path' has actually been unfolding all along...

Alongside beauty blogging and tarot (and job hunting) I'm also studying for an English Literature degree with The Open University. Studying via distance learning has been fab and I really don't want it to end :( I have one more course left (hello, Shakespeare) and then I'll graduate. I started in 2009 and I think it's taken me so long because I've always dreaded finishing. What will I do next? The time has come, though, and I'm looking forward to starting my course in October and graduating next June. I'm a total geek and have always loved studying, so I'm wondering if I'll end up doing some sort of postgraduate course... But, alas, these things cost money. I've also spent a lot of time throughout the past twelve months on, researching my family tree. Genealogy is totally addictive and one census record is never enough! I've written quite a lot about my family history research on my other blog in case you're interested. 

All of which brings me back to beauty blogging, and why I've recently kick-started my beauty blog again. Writing gives me a focus and helps me channel my energy and passion into something visible and tangible. During uncertain times it gives me something to do and something to share with others. I love reading through blogs, chatting to people about beauty and I love reviewing and writing about products I've used. It's fun! It's fun and it gives me a great focus, and as I've always been obsessed with beauty it makes sense. I don't think any of my friends are surprised! I've always been the Boots and Superdrug obsessive, and I still am. I can't help it! Of course it's nice to think that maybe someone will read my blog and enjoy it, but even if no-one stopped by for a look I'd keep on writing because it's what I love to do and I think best through my pen (or, rather, keyboard) Writing, whether it's about beauty, or tarot, or crafting a poem or short story, is what makes me feel alive and what keeps me going on good and bad days. There is always something to write about, and so there's always a reason to get up, switch on the laptop, and tap away. 

So, that's pretty much my past year in a blog post, give or take a few other events and details. I feel relieved if not a little raw. Thanks for reading if you've made it this far!

Imogen x 


  1. I had an awful time with anxiety, much like you. I had to quit jobs and I honestly thought it would feel like that forever. My anxiety has been in 'remission' for at least 5 yrs and I stopped all beta blockers etc many years ago. No panic attacks or anything since. I always worry it will come back and I always know it is there but it's a distant thought that doesn't affect my life at all. I'm 30 and honestly, it can go!

  2. Also, breathing exercises massively help. Have a read up about it x


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