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I spent the first half of 2017 in bed, crying. 

I have had severe anxiety and a panic disorder ever since I was five years old. I have violent panic attacks, often losing consciousness at the first sign of fear. Here are just a few situations I’ve fainted during - midway through a flight reading Gut, talking to a jeweller about a piercing, getting acupuncture, being yelled at by a family member, anticipating an argument with a client, feeling abandoned in a social situation, at a spine clinic, at a lecture, during pranic healing.

I’m agoraphobic and depending on how bad my anxiety is, it can take me hours, even days to leave the house even to do something basic like buy fruit, even if I'm already dressed. (Blogging, which I’ve been doing some form of since 2001, and my freelance work have therefore been a way to seek out experiences when I’d rather be at home, by myself. )

I’m also a depressive. I have had visiting bouts of depression throughout my life. I take anti-depressants. Over the last few years, depression made my short term memory so bad, I couldn’t remember people I've met, names I've learned, things I've seen or heard, and sometimes even things I've written down so I kept putting them on paper over and over. I couldn’t concentrate on work. During the first half of 2017, I turned down half a dozen amazing work opportunities because I couldn’t focus. Once it took me four days to write a single email. 

I live with chronic illness. My body has hurt since I was a teenager when I was misdiagnosed with rheumatic fever. I have ME/CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome, which feels like life imprisonment. To the outside world it is largely an invisible illness. But live in my house and you’ll find me oscillating between sleep and complaining about being crippled with body pain. It truly sucks ass.

I also have severe food allergies. (Fuck u gluten)

I spent the second half of 2017 taking care of myself.

Once I launched LOVER (in 2016), this blog kinda died because I was able to do there what I once did here. But in 2018, I’m bringing this blog back. (Shoutout to Richa for introducing me to blogs beyond the fabulous lifestyle realm.) Last year I started a private mental health blog to record things that have helped me with my anxiety and depression but I’m ready to have a public one now. 

Welcome to my self care manual.