I’m a Secret Bullet Journal Keeper

I’ve been known to watch the odd 18 bullet journal videos on YouTube before falling asleep at 3am.

It’s an addiction that started about eighteen months ago when I learned about keeping a bujo, as they call them.

2020 was my first attempt, and it failed as the pandemic succeeded. I’m using the rest of that journal to write blogging notes and ideas.

This year I’m doing a better job of keeping up with my bujo, which doesn’t mean I’m filling it in every single day.

I’m having some tough days, so the gratitude page has a lot of missing lines. The ‘how I was kind to myself today’ is pretty empty as well. I’m keeping good records on blogging and sharing my blogs on social media, so there’s that.

I’ve done no house or garden renovations yet, so that page is pretty thin, but as the weather cools I’ll probably be more enthusiastic about getting things done. I hate the heat.

Next month I’m doing a red hearts theme in my bujo, along with my usual plant doodles. I’m looking forward to the brighter colours.

February will probably be even hotter, so I’d better plan to finish the renovations to my nice, air conditioned bedroom, to have something to record on that page. Mind you, all my journaling things are in my room as well, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to be distracted.

Keto, Mental Illness and Truth Bombs

The keto diet can clear your mind and give you unexpected extra energy. This has been my personal experience and I’m here to warn you to take care how you use these new magical powers.

I have thyroid disease, hidradenitis supperativa, type two diabetes, coeliac disease, and a number of mental illnesses that I prefer not to name because of the stigma often applied to people who suffer with them.

As you might imagine, I’ve suffered low energy and a muddled head, among other problems, for years. Trying to beat back the symptoms and live my best life has been a huge struggle.

Within the first week of trying the keto diet, I felt different in myself.

Keto Energy

I was talking a lot more, bringing up subjects with my family and really having a good conversation with them. Before, I’d have been taking big breaths to find some energy to engage with other people, answering their questions and feeling dizzy if I talked too much.

Not so now.

When I see something in the house that needs doing, I just start doing it. No thinking, overthinking, beating myself up, berating myself for not being able to do more, just getting it done.

The keto diet is not a cure for my illnesses, but it has given me a strength that I never had before.

Low Carb and Energy

I still have low carb days where I have less energy, I suffer pain, or my mind decides not to cooperate. But those days I can live with.

I still have extra strength social phobia, which limits what I can do.

Keto Side Effects

But today I’m writing to warn you about a side-effect I’ve experienced due to my newfound awakening. An unexpected problem that makes me wary and careful of my words.

This new alertness I’m enjoying has made me very conscious of the way I think and feel about the people in my life. Especially the people I have had unexpressed issues with for years.

Twice in two weeks I’ve told people what I really think of them, and both times there have been unexpected casualties.

In hindsight of course I can see that the way I blurted out my feelings was over the top and not even entirely accurate.

Of course, in the past I’ve opened my big mouth and said the wrong thing to someone. We all do that. But this was different. This was me, in a moment of anger and frustration thinking of the exact right thing I wanted to say to take the other person down a notch and then bam, saying it.

It didn’t turn out well. Either time.

I’ve burned bridges, unfortunately.

Note to self: write it out in your journal before you decide in the moment to ignite a word bomb.

I’m very grateful for the clarity and energy the keto diet has given me. I just need to learn to use my powers for good and not evil.

I urge you to beware the empowered self, take care in case you lob a grenade and take out an entire roomful of people, instead of having an argument with someone where you feel one is due.

Leaving The House Can Be Terrifying When You Have a Mental Illness

Today, I have plans with family I love who live about an hour away. I’ve been looking forward to seeing them ever since I made the plans.

Now the day is here and I’m dizzy, taking short breaths and I have to keep reminding myself not to grind my teeth.

My brain doesn’t let me access the positive emotions I’ve experienced in the past while visiting this part of my family. That’s a horrible part of my own personal mental illness circus.

Why am I so anxious? Is it the thought of seeing them? Nope. Is it the car trip? Yes, somewhat. Is it the thought of being away from my home, my nest, for hours at a a time? Yes it is.

Leaving the house is one of the hardest things in the world for me. It doesn’t matter how much I know I’ll love time with family or friends, it doesn’t matter that I love my car, it doesn’t matter that my fiancé will be with me the whole time. I am very anxious.

What does it feel like? Imagine standing at the edge of a very high cliff and leaning as far forward as you can until you’re on your toes. Unless you’re a lover of high places, you can imagine this would conjure feelings of sheer panic, terror and a sickness in your stomach.

That’s what it’s like to have a serious mental illness where part of it is social phobia, anxiety and a panic disorder.

I’ll put on make-up, a nice dress, get in my car and we’ll be there in no time. I’ll enjoy catching up with everyone, I’m almost sure. Later, on our way home, I’ll berate my stupid self for being anxious about the visit. I’ll beat up on myself and tell myself that next time I’ll be better. Next time I’ll be fine.

That’s part of the circus, the pretending that it’s all a choice.

Keto Diet, Better Health and Writing

Keto Diet

My low carb, keto diet is still helping me to lose weight. It’s a slow process, but I hope that by Christmas 2021 I’ll be an entirely different shape and loving it.

Since I started keto I’ve lost all of the inflammation I’d suffered with for a long time. I’m still overweight and I have a lot to lose, but the excess weight isn’t choking me, bloating me, making me feel exhausted every minute. Which is wonderful.

I have more energy than before, my head is clearer, and I’m able to write again. I’ve been writing every single day for weeks now. That hasn’t happened for years and I’ve tried many times to get my writing mojo back. It turned out I needed the keto lifestyle to clear my head.

I know that sounds unlikely, and I wouldn’t have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me. I started keto for health reasons, but I didn’t know just how much it would change in me.

Novel Writing

My novel, The Naked Ladies Writing Group, is growing every week on my website www.thenakedladieswritinggroup.com. I now have thousands of words there, some of it story, some of it about writing and some character development.

It’s so exciting, writing this book at last. The title came to me years ago and finally creating the world of those women makes me happy every day.

Some of the characters are nice and some not as nice, and I love writing about all of them. I find it a little bit tougher to write nasty characters and I want to explain their lives, why they act the way they do. Sometimes I write that in my journal, so I can avoid diluting the real nature of my character in the story itself.

We writers like to include life experiences in our work, adding details that are familiar and heart felt. It is fun to write a character who is just as lovely as an old best friend, or as wicked as a person from your childhood.

Instagram

I discovered Instagram in 2020. Well, of course I’ve known about it for a long time but I’m finally having a good go at it using my writer name RachelGraceWrites.

As I write my book, I take breaks to play on PicCollage making visuals for Instagram posts and stories to hopefully bring people to my websites.

Getting Married

We would have been married last year, but the pandemic messed up our plans. We are hoping that this year will be the year we get to have our wedding.

Now that I’m losing weight, it’s really tempting to wait until late 2021 when I’ll be smaller so I can feel even better in a nice dress. This sounds great, except we want a winter wedding. Maybe we’ll wait until winter 2022 instead? Or maybe by winter 2021 I’ll be happy enough with my shape.

Do I Change The Name Of My Blog?

After I get married, I plan to change my surname, so I guess I’ll want to change the name of my blog. I might just add a domain with my married name and keep this Rachel Keerie one as well, so people can find me by searching either one.

I hope your 2021 is better than your 2020.

Keto, Writing, Reading and Renovations

The house is completely silent. A currawong is singing in the trees behind my house. Everyone has gone back to work for the year and I’m ready to write.

There are chicken breasts in the fridge and the makings of a low carb, keto, Mexican dinner in the pantry. So I don’t have to think about what’s for tea.

Last night, as I was reading in bed, an idea came to me that solves a big problem in my story. (The Naked Ladies Writing Group and you can read it here)

It’s so great when ideas come out of the blue like that, when you’re not even thinking about the problem. When I’m folding laundry or showering, doing some mindless task, my unconscious is free to work on those nagging thoughts that hound a writer.

This will be a year of writing, reading, yoga, low carb and keto, house renovations, gardening and magic.

Right now, it’s time to write; fix the problem in my story. The rest will have to wait for another day.

Keto Coffee, Yoga and Vacuum Cleaner Servicing

My first keto coffee of the day is taken in bed, like a grand lady from an old English movie. I don’t eat breakfast because I do Intermittent Fasting, so coffee is my friend.

When I wake up I’m almost always drowsy for the first hour at least. Most people wake up like this, and I find that it’s the perfect time to check up on social media, see who has contacted me, and who liked my posts on Instagram and Facebook.

A lot of people say you shouldn’t check your social media when you wake up, and instead spend time offline at the start of the day. This doesn’t work for me.

You really don’t need to be clear-headed to check your accounts, which means that first thing in the morning is a great time to get that out of the way. Later in the day I go back to any questions or messages and reply or comment.

I make my bed and take a shower and I’m ready for the day. I’ve already checked my socials, so I can now get started with what I want to achieve that day.

This morning I did yoga, which is a new thing I’ve added to every day in 2021.

I climbed down onto the floor to do yoga and noticed that the rug was really dirty, even though I vacuumed yesterday. Yuck.

My vacuum cleaner needs its yearly service, obviously. I looked up how to pull a Dyson vacuum cleaner apart a few years ago, when something got stuck inside it.

It was a great find, that instructional video. My husband, who passed away, used to call these kinds of videos the university of YouTube.

So, servicing the vacuum cleaner is something I’ll add to my task list today. Nobody likes a dirty rug. But first, it’s time for another keto coffee, because nobody likes a dopey Rachel either.

Keto Coffee and Emptying My Head

My head is buzzing and I can’t write until I empty it.

My house needs a clean and tidy, I don’t know what’s for dinner tonight, I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping and I haven’t posted the few Christmas cards I want to send.

I’ll do these things and then I’ll get writing:

  • Vacuum the lounge-room floor
  • Tidy the dining table
  • Wash the ensuite bathroom floor
  • Decide what to make for dinner
  • Make and write the few cards I want to send

I feel lighter already. Bring on the writing!

Is Halloween Scary if You Have a Mental Illness?

Halloween 2020

What could be scarier than mental illness paired with a whole day and night of people trying to frighten the life out of each other?

What is scary about Halloween if you have a Mental Illness?

For some people with a mental illness, Halloween will be an opportunity to hide behind a costume and a mask and maybe feel a sense of relief at being able to be completely anonymous.

Some will enjoy the irony of other people getting their anxiety tested as the most adventurous ones celebrate the holiday by giving and receiving a real fright.

For some though, even being surprised and frightened in fun can raise anxiety levels so high it becomes difficult to function.

It’s not that the act of frightening these people that is the truly scary thing, it’s that when you have an anxiety disorder, one that treatment, therapy and medication does not lessen, you become one big human shock button.

That shock, the horror of a big fright, is so much fun for so many people. If you have an anxiety disorder or some other mental illnesses, and someone shocks you, it can trigger an anxiety attack/panic attack that will write off Halloween and possibly a few days that follow.

Halloween Ideas

If you know someone with a mental illness and you want to celebrate Halloween while being sensitive to ways your friend might struggle this month, do one simple thing and reach out and ask them. Here are some questions to ask your friend or family member with mental illness, at Halloween:

– How are you with Halloween?

– How can we celebrate Halloween 2020 in a way that you’ll have as much fun as everyone else?

– Are there Halloween decorations, Halloween treats and Halloween ideas you love and find easy to enjoy?

– If we hold a Halloween party, what can we do so that everyone feels comfortable?

– Would you mind being in charge of the scare-factor of our family and friends Halloween celebrations? Can you keep it to a level where everyone will be happy?

– Is Halloween something you’d like to skip this year? We can do lunch another day and catch up without all the chaos if you prefer?

A Better Halloween This Year

I guarantee your friend or family member with a mental illness will be grateful that you caring enough to include them in the planning of Halloween. If you love to get the bejeezus scared out of you, there are plenty of places to go and things you can do. Maybe stop a moment the next time your heart is in your throat with shock, and remember that some people with mental illness feel this sensation on a regular basis, and it isn’t much fun.

Be a good friend, have fun, and enjoy Halloween!

I Made Keto Cauliflower Mash

Chicken thighs roasted in satay sauce and cauliflower mash

I made keto cauliflower mash and it was a waste of perfectly delicious cauliflower. I followed the instructions from a few different recipes; steaming the cauliflower, adding salt and pepper, butter and cream cheese, blending it with a hand stick blender, and it looked great, most importantly not runny. Runny is apparently the devil of cauliflower mash.

Doesn’t the food in the photo look great? I mean apart from that piece of chicken at the top looking like a choc chip cookie, it looks like a potentially delicious meal.

My family liked it and I got requests to add it to the rotation, as we say in my family, but I found it mealy, grainy, and the flavour wasn’t cheesy and it wasn’t like cauliflower. It was a disappointment to me.

Maybe next time I make the mash, I’ll put it in my bullet blender. I don’t want to end up with a puddle of mash, though. These are the trials of the keto diet; grainy mash or a puddle of mash.

I’m fussy about my food, I know that, and being on a keto diet and intermittent fasting, I try to make sure that both of my meals each day are delicious. One unhappy dinner does not derail me, though.

Tonight I’m making lamb chops with peas and it’s hard to go wrong with that.

If you like reading books online, check out my other blog at www.rachelgracewrites.com where I’m writing my novel The Naked Ladies Writing Group, one post at a time.

I’m Under 100kgs Thankyou Keto

This morning I weighed in at exactly ninety-nine kilo’s and I’m pretty damn pleased with myself.

I cannot believe I’m saying this but I’m under a hundred kilos. I’d given up on losing weight, because of my thyroid disease and meds I take for mental illness that tend to block weight loss. Apparently keto is king, and will not be beaten.

Having absolutely no appetite is what makes this diet so easy to do, for me. I’m fasting from after dinner one day to lunch the next day, eating under 30 carbs a day, doing some walking about three times a week and doing absolute beginner yoga each morning. That’s it.

I’m not doing clean keto, which is all about wild-caught salmon and organic meats, dairy and produce. I mostly eat meat, dairy, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Yep, that’s about it. The only processed food I’m eating is a little Denada Ice Cream after dinner, which is absolutely delicious. I like the chocolate and the caramel with chocolate chips flavours best. I drink water, coffee with full fat cream, green tea, black tea with a splash of milk, Coke No Sugar, Solo No Sugar and mint tea.

On Monday, I went to a shopping centre and I decided to cheat and have a donut, I love donuts so much. I went to Donut King and scoped the range and nope, nothing called to me. Not one of those creamy, custard-filled, frosted beauties made me want to eat them. This is still incredibly weird to me. I am a lifelong foodie, which I guess I now reframe as a carb and sugar addict, and before keto I could eat all the donuts, all of them. Now I honestly couldn’t be bothered and anyway it would make me feel like crap emotionally and probably physically as well.

Before keto I ate what I wanted, and I ate a lot. I ate McDonalds, Hungry Jacks or KFC once a week. I ate huge platefuls of food and I often had seconds. Since keto, I haven’t eaten any take-away food at all, I eat a smaller amount of food and feel completely satisfied after every meal. Since starting intermittent fasting I’ve only eaten twice a day, lunch and dinner and I’m rarely hungry. I don’t get hangry any more, which is nice for my family.

If you’ve tried everything except a keto diet like me, I recommend you give keto a go. Do what’s right for you, and see your doctor before you do anything like this, but also, give it a go and I hope you get under a hundred kg’s like me.

Check out my other blog, where I’m writing my novel, at: www.rachelgracewrites.com