Vegan Risotto and Courgette ‘Lasagne’

Sometimes self-care is making a super yummy and healthy lunch. I thought I would share this awesomely yummy and good for you, Vegan Risotto and courgette ‘lasagne’.

risotto-lasagne

You will need:

  • Arborio risotto rice
  • 2 vegetable knorr stock pots
  • Two big o’ handfuls of spinach
  • Courgette lasagne sheets (I got mine from Sainsburys) or sliced lasagne
  • Free from dairy pesto
  • 1 microwave steam veggie pack
  • 1 litre of boiled water
  • Vegan butter
  • frying pan
  • lasagne dish
  1. Steam your veggies in the microwave as instructed on pack
  2. Add boiling water to knorr stock pots in a pouring jug and stir until mixed.
  3. Fry your arborio rice in vegan butter for two minutes in a medium heated frying pan.
  4. Add a small amount of stock at a time to the rice until it is absorbed fully. Stir continuously until cooked
  5. add washed spinach till fully wilted
  6. spread half of the rice out on the lasagne dish
  7. place your courgette strips on top
  8. add three big spoonfuls of pesto till the layer of courgette is covered.
  9. add your pre steamed veggies
  10. add the second layer of courgette strips
  11. then add the final layer of risotto
  12. cook in 180C oven for 25 minutes or until the top is crispy and the courgette is soft.
  13. serve and enjoy

The Cost of Being Borderline

When I talk about the cost of being borderline, I don’t mean metaphorically; I mean “how much does it cost to have borderline personality disorder (BPD)?”. Often when discussing mental illness we talk about how emotions affect a person or their family and friends but rarely is money discussed when it comes to being mentally ill.

At the moment I’m struggling with my mental illness so badly that I’m unable to keep a job. The reality of this means I’m not in receipt of a decent living income. I live month to month with money which can be very difficult for the average person never mind someone suffering from a mental illness such as BPD.

My impulsivity regularly causes me to spend money I don’t have on things I don’t need. It doesn’t feel that way, in the moment. I often feel like I HAVE to buy these things to ensure my happiness. This is not an uncommon reality. Many people that have BPD suffer from compulsive spending. Not only this but they can suffer from a range of addictions that can be very costly. From alcohol and drug addictions to food addictions. It can be costly trying to keep these addictions satisfied and often there are extra costs associated with these addictions that you wouldn’t realise. Such as with food addiction, this can cause health problems as well as buying larger clothes. These addictions can mean having to spend money on private treatments because, depending on where you live, treatment may not be paid for by the government.

Often self-destructive coping mechanisms like binge spending can be triggered by emotional pain, which is usually regular for those suffering with BPD. Someone who is usually frugal with money may max out a credit card after an argument with a loved one. Even though we might be aware of the fact it is going to impact us negatively in the long term, it is very difficult for us to get past the comfort it provides us in the moment.

BPD itself requires treatments and medications that aren’t always covered by the government. At the moment, although I’m not working, I’m still paying for one on one therapy which is not provided by the NHS. People like me often have to rely on charities to help with treatment because the NHS can’t keep up with the demand for treatments for the mentally ill. It also can be quite expensive having to attend these appointments with little income. It is very costly running a car so having to rely on alternatives is a necessity. It can also be very daunting to those suffering from mental illness to use public transport. For example, because of anxiety, I often have to rely on expensive taxis to get me to appointments, which is difficult to afford on a low income.

One symptom of BPD according to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) can be to have an unstable sense of self. This, for me, often means almost changing my style completely on a regular basis. This means new clothes, new shoes, new accessories, new makeup, new hairstyles. This all costs money and depending on what style I choose can end up being very pricey. It also means new hobbies. I’m constantly flitting from one hobby to another. Some are free and easy to do, such as meditation, but then there are things such as candle making which can end up being quite expensive.

The biggest cost, though, someone’s life. According to LiveScience * a human life is worth approximately $5million. One in ten people with BPD commit suicide, so when your loved one with BPD asks for help please listen.

* “the value of a statistical life turns out to be around $5 million” – http://www.livescience.com/15855-dollar-human-life.html

 

If they need immediate help or are in the process of attempting suicide, take them to your nearest ED in order to help them. Take any suicide threat seriously. If you have BPD or you know a loved one who has BPD and need a person to talk to about situations, please call your local suicide hotline or Samaritans. They are there 24hrs in order to help people going through a crisis, those with thoughts of self-harm and suicide, or someone who is going through a tough time in their lives.  

Preparing for the new year

  • One good thing to start with when preparing for the new year is to put old things to
    bed. Got any gifts you haven’t sent? Any bills you haven’t paid? I’ve sent packages that needed sending, caught up with everyone that I need to.
  • Get prepared for being organised. I’ve ordered this new years planner and I’ve vowed not to be ambitious with it. I’ve gone for a cheaper option because I also want to work on my finances.Start using this method a few days before so you can get used to it and tweak.
  • Set your goals for the next year and be realistic. For example, I want to start making my food more often but if I can’t do that then I won’t feel too bad about it.
  • Don’t set too many goals at once. Remember you can add goals to work on throughout the year too! You don’t want to overwhelm yourself.
  • Practice my spirituality. I plan on setting intentions for the new year and bottling it with herbs to remind myself and encourage my goals.

 

planner

 

This year I plan to:

-Take my written driving test

-Take my practical driving test

-Start and finish my second module of Uni

-Have an online article published

-Publish my own poetry book

-Sell and create more candles

-Spend less

-Make food more

-Spend the year single

Getting back into old habits… hopefully

I want to start getting back into some old habits that seem to have dropped off of my radar. I hate that BPD makes me feel like i’ve lost my identity and that i’m constantly creating new ones, so i need to get back into habits of my past which should hopefully help me feel more consistent. Like blogging and ‘planning’ in my diary… i mean we’ll see how long this lasts. But i still want to keep up with my new interests like my new found spirituality and hopefully candle making. Maybe also go back to some jewellery making while i’m there. I’m sick of these identity issues and Planning was actually a super helpful habit. I would also like to start writing more poetry and actually finish the book i started creating. That would be great, but maybe i’m putting too much on myself at once, on a time when i’m really struggling? I can only try and see what happens then not beat myself up if i fail.

Too Perfect?

So, literally about ten minutes ago, I came to a shocking discovery… for the past couple of weeks I’ve really been unable to enjoy almost anything which I might usually find pleasure in. You may jump up and say, like many have, ‘it’s because you’re depressed’. But this is the thing, I don’t always feel depressed. In fact, there are many occasions in which I’ve been manically happy, and yet, I cannot for the life of me bring myself to take part in any of my usual hobbies, nevermind pushing myself to do things like housework.  I’m pretty sure now that I have discovered why this is… I am putting too much pressure on myself to do everything perfectly.Photo 30-06-2016, 19 17 20.jpg

I have a whole three shelves of books in my house and about half of them consist of self-help books, the majority of which I haven’t even begun to read. Like most perfectionists, I want to find any way in which I can improve to become the ‘perfect’ person. But I’m always scared that I won’t read the information correctly, that I will forget important points and that I will be unable to change any behaviours.

Today Joss reached for the book ‘Too Perfect- when being in control gets out of control’ and told me that I might find it in some way helpful. I am lacking the energy today to do something physical so I might as well read. The book is old, the pages have yellowed and I imagine he has probably bought it second hand from somewhere but that doesn’t make what I have read from it any less helpful and useful. I read about 5 or 6 pages before I realised that the problem i am having is that I am putting too much pressure on myself to do all things with perfection.

I admit that i am a huge procrastinator, but I am also a perfectionist… these two can end up creating a horribly consistent pattern of behaviour. I don’t want to do something in case I do not do it perfectly, even gaming, even writing, even putting laundry on. When it leads you to a point of stalemate it becomes toxic, and it left me unable to function well. Just realising this has instantly made me aware that doing something imperfectly is better than doing nothing at all.

Now I’m sitting writing my blog, the laundry is on and i am excited about the possibility of what today has to offer.This blog post ISN’T perfect, but you know what? Nothing ever will be. It’s always important when you know your behaviour is toxic to look back and discover why. Be mindful of your emotions and always be curious.

Peace xoxo

MoonWink

I think I want to write more poetry.

she asked

How ‘Learned Helplessness’ stops us from achieving our goals…

So, as usual, I’ve started a project and not followed through. I’m talking about beginning to write my blog and getting disheartened almost immediately. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon thing with me. When looking as to why I often blame my low self-esteem, depression and fear of failure, which is partially correct. To look deeper into it I’ll discuss a concept my boyfriend and I talked about recently when reading the book ‘Complex PTSD’ by Pete Walker. This concept is Learned Helplessness

Now i’m gonna get into the learning, something you might hear about in a psychology class but i found it very eye opening.

Back in the day, when ethics surrounding psychological experiments were more lax, Seligman (1974) began to work with dogs and learned behaviours with electric shocks. He found that when the dogs perceived there as being no escape from the situation and efforts to improve the situation have not worked then they give up trying. His idea was that humans with depression or humans that have experienced abuse or ongoing traumas can experience learned helplessness. We give up very easily as soon as we begin finding it difficult.

Looking to see why we behave the way we do is the first step into changing our behaviour and this has definitely helped in that regard, although finding out how to learn a more healthy coping strategy is another problem entirely. I’ll get back to you guys on that one!

Peace out!

MoonWink xoox

learned helpless copy

Mindfulness Writing

In my Last Post, I talked about setting small attainable goals. My most recent being to write a little every day, which at first I found difficult. But in my creative writing class, I discovered mindfulness writing, in which I take a notebook and sit and write constantly for 5 minutes, about anything that pops into my head. No filter, no need, it’s definitely not something I would show to another person. It doesn’t need to be perfect, coherent or neat, and it is common to jump quickly from thought to thought as is natural in our brains.

2016-03-06 21.31.56If you’ve never heard of mindfulness it is a practice created from Buddhist roots which help a person focus on the moment at hand. Instead of the usual focus on the past or trying to look to the future which can lead to stress, anxiety or depression. It is often associated with meditation but there are many other ways to practice Mindfulness that are just as effective. Mindfulness writing can help you focus on the thoughts you’re having at that particular moment.

This made writing much easier and more enjoyable. I was writing for myself rather than to please anyone else and it helped give me the confidence to begin many pieces I was unwilling to attempt for fear that they would not turn out perfectly. It’s given me the confidence to start putting pen to paper, or in this case, finger to keyboard.

If you get a moment to practice Mindfulness writing I would love to hear how you found it and I hope it serves you well. Peace out!

MoonWink xoxo

You are NOT perfect and I’m not even sorry

I’m not going to be one of those inspirational posters that say ‘everyone is perfect just the way they are’ because it’s not true. No one is perfect and aspiring to be that way is just setting yourself up for failure. I say this as a perfectionist myself. After having almost a year of CBT, I have come to discover my low self-esteem is what hinders me more than anything and that all stems from my desire to be perfect, which it turns out is an impossible task. Setting standards that are too high for ourselves can pull us down even when the goals we create have been put there to raise us up.

However, I do admit that having goals is important. It’s true that we as people need to be constantly improving ourselves. It’s quite common to never be fully satisfied with what we have, thanks to our consumerist culture. But it’s important that these goals be attainable and set with smaller steps that will help you get there. For example saying ‘My house must be perfectly clean all the time’ is putting too much pressure on yourself and starting slowly is where you are going to go right.

Begin smaller, try with making sure the sink is clean before bed and once you’ve got that down add something else into the mix. If you’re struggling then there is no shame in going back a step.

Living with a mental illness like depression can make even the simplest tasks seem incredibly difficult when you can’t motivate yourself and I hope this advice helps in some way. But it is also there for people who aren’t suffering, that have a goal in mind.

MoonWink xoxo

I hate those Stars

I hate those stupid, little glow in the dark stars,

I used to love them you know,

Knowing we hung each one from the ceiling together,

Placed carefully,

Each spot chosen with care

I would see them and think ‘these stars are just for us,

Our own little Galaxy’,

Now whenever I look up at them I notice the empty side of the bed,

And realise that they shined brighter for me.

Photo 04-03-2016, 03 00 14