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I know it is seen as a bit of a cliche but I feel this month has rushed by so fast. This is most probably due to being ever so busy. January was full of organisation, a bit of stress and sadness, and progress.

The start of the month consisted of exams and looming essay deadlines. Until around June, this is highly unlikely to change, but what with this being my final year of university i find myself both used to and embracing this. Now for the long impatient wait to find out my results. *Crosses Fingers*

On the health front, a lot of progress has been made also, about 8lbs worth of progress over the past few weeks actually. I've tried to make small changes like eating breakfast, cutting excess fat of off meat such as bacon, as well as bigger changes such as going to the gym four times a week. I've found myself really enjoying the gym, even if a little problematic trying to fit it around my uni work. Sadly my enthusiasm for dieting is really not the same. I find myself dreaming about crisps and still indulging in the (very) occasional cheeseburger. I keep reminding myself that little rewards are needed to keep up my motivation. I hope salad becomes far more appealing to me next month. I've also started making more 'slimmed down' and healthier versions of food I love, such as curries and I might start posting a few of those recipes on here (if i remember!).

When younger I used to swim every week, and I loved it! I used to ask my mum why it was that I couldn't live in the water, and i'm pretty sure my first ever career aspiration was due to my love of water, however my phobia of touching a fish quickly shot down my marine biologist aspirations. However this month saw the start of me going swimming again for the first time in years. I would be lying if I didn't say it terrified me. In fact I actually sat in the changing rooms for about 10 minutes crying because I was so scared of going outside in a swimming costume. As soon as I gave myself the harsh pep talk I needed I was all set and I was so proud of myself for facing my fears, as I REALLY loved it. Much like riding a bike (poor example as I can barely ride a bike!) I hadn't forgot how to swim and I was off and away. I spent the rest of the day telling everyone I knew how chuffed I was but I don't think anyone really understood as much as I did.

On the moving house front not much progress has been made really, but there's about five months to go, so that's really nothing to panic about. I did inquire about sofas at a well known (MASSIVE AND ALWAYS HAS A 'SALE' ON) sofa company who informed me that most sofas take 16 weeks to be delivered. This means that a choice of sofa would quickly need to be made. So even if we won't have a house, the end of February will see us with our sofas ordered. How scary!

This month marks a year since my Grandad passed away too. I really thought the extreme sadness I felt about this, combined with the stress of exams would really push the way I felt mentally into a low this month. Despite having a few down days and a 'I don't want tablets anymore' blip, i'm otherwise pretty good. My enthusiasm for 2014 being a good year and changes happening are still going strong. February will consist of meeting uni deadlines, maintaining my happy state, going to more gigs, keeping up with the dieting/exercise and a lot more swimming. I might even try and make a quick trip back home to see my family!

Here's to another month of resolution keeping, happiness and progress.
Today marks a year since I lost someone close to me. My grandad. He was always quick witted, full of intelligence and had the patience of a saint, most of the time. His death was unexpected and sudden and I think this adds to the difficulty I have coming to terms with it. He was fit and far more healthy than most and even on the night before his passing  he was out all night with his friends. There was nothing to suggest a final goodbye was near, but alas it was. My final words to him still haunt me, along with the questions I’ll never get to ask, words I will never get to say and the events he’ll never get to see.

Losing him really was the start of the spiral of depression I fell into. The pain of the week’s spent going back home to help arrange the funeral, register his death, explaining  to his friends what happened and attending his funeral will always stay vivid in my mind. I know many deal with loss but coping and dealing with it really hasn’t come easy for me. 

 “Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves ebbing and following. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim”

I found this quote online not so long ago and I really could relate to it. Losing a loved one is unlikely to ever become easy, but often I focus on the good times and how I am grateful he did not suffer.  Yet days like today, birthdays and Christmas often feel like I’m drowning in my grief with no constructive way to let it out. These days really are a struggle, and they make me wish I could change so much, and say so much more. I often failed to act or say things I should to those I love. I always assumed  there would be so many more tomorrows to come in which it could be done. My grandad was the first close relative I had to face losing, and I guess it made me realise that 'tomorrow' is not always guaranteed. 

No matter how many days pass, I will always miss my Grandad; his tales from his days of being a teacher, my childhood ‘sweetie’ Saturdays full of Smarties, trips to our local pub for lunch and days out to London tourist sights.   Sleep tight Grandad Peter, I miss you.
Nothing disgruntled me more than the influx of facebook status’ and tweets about two weeks ago, where it felt half the nation was proclaiming ‘new year, new me’. Now, don’t get me wrong, a new year can provide a fresh start and is an excellent opportunity to kick-start a change. However, a simple change of date on a calendar will not equal change. Proper change needs to be worked towards, and i find it important to focus on realistic change.
So, to achieve all I want to this year I’ve tried to make some realistic resolutions, with steps towards how I’ll get there.
Firstly, I want to drink a lot more water. To achieve this I want to take my Bobble water bottle everywhere. It really is amazing as I was an avid tap water hater until I found this godsend. It’s a water bottle with a filter attachment lid, so you fill it up with tap water and get filtered water on the go! I want to aim to drink at least four of these a day as I barely drank any water last year if I’m honest. My main source of fluids was diet pepsi and red bull. Awful, I know.
Secondly, I want to end the year at a lower weight than I am now. Preferably by a large amount, the greater the weight loss the better. However, I do not want to set myself a target because any progress is good progress and I’d rather take things slow and steady then rush away with fad diets and make the weight loss unhealthy. To achieve this I’m going to get to grips with portion control, eat less crisps (my weakness!) and join the gym (and go, twice-four times a week, uni work depending!).
Next is an aim I am most excited for. I plan to move in with my boyfriend. I’m super excited for this, to the point words fail to sum it up! Actively looking for house and attempting to save as much as possible is how I plan do to this.

Finally, although not last in importance by any means, I plan to come to terms and cope with my depression and anxiety. After a terrible 2013, I really want to come to terms with getting better, getting out more, exercising more and feeling both physically and emotionally great. Hopefully taking medication prescribed and attending sessions I’m guided towards will help me achieve this. 
Starting a blog with my plans for the year twelve days into the year already feels like I’ve failed slightly. However, I've had deadlines and exams the past few days and my whole plan this year is to get back on track with things, so sticking to essay plans and revising was the most productive thing I could do with my time.

Although 2013 did have some highs, such as turning twenty-one and moving into a lovely new house with two of the most wonderful friends I could ask for, it also came with many lows. Right from the start it proved difficult. I  lost my granddad in January. Along with coping with losing someone very close to me,  I study 300 miles from home and that really made coming to terms with the loss and the grief a lot harder.  This sort of lead to several very difficult months. Looking back on it now, I spent the next nine months pushing away everyone I cared about and was close to. I wasn't a very nice person to be around to say the least, and all the things I once loved no longer made me happy. Nothing did. I heard someone describe it once as feeling like you’re drowning while watching everyone around you swimming and unable to notice.  That describes how I felt better than any words I’ve tried. I was worrying about all manner of things, the most simple of tasks, like how peppers were cut for dinner and it was making the lives of all those around me difficult and no longer just my own. Going outside and being social also started to prove a problem. It was actually this that made me realise I need to change, but I’ll talk about that another time. 

The important thing was I realised I needed to change. I’d spent nine months unable to cope, no matter how much I wished to feel better, I clearly wasn’t going to get there alone, so I done something which I really did not want to do, I went to go see my doctor to ask for help.  I really did not want to see a doctor as I felt I was going to be judged and I was terrified of admitting I wasn’t coping but I can honestly say looking back now, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Seeking help was the best thing I did. The doctor and nurses at the surgery were lovely, in fact everyone I’ve encountered (for the most part) have been lovely. I ‘m not best pleased with the fact I’m having to take medication, but I was given a choice, and I did choose to.

 I feel I’m actually able to take control of things now and hopefully after counselling, possibly CBT, addressing parts of my life I’m unhappy with, and also venting the jumble in my mind through this, my life will hopefully be far better this year.  I truly am glad I went to my doctors, and would strongly advise anyone feeling low to do it, don’t put it off as talking to just one person about it can help change the rest of your life.  That said, I do not want to be on medication any longer than necessary, so hopefully this time next year I’ll be well, coping, and happy, just like I am today, but without the tablets.