CBT – 2

I have had my 2 week review this week (yesterday) and it was positive woohoo! In these past two weeks I have felt so much better in myself and with my situation. Finally back on a road.. a less bumpy one I think.

Marcia said I’d done really well but I didn’t actually realise until I listed my past few weeks for her so I may as well list them here! She said I’ve come a long way but I didn’t realise I had so…

  • I started my dissertation (finally)!
  • I applied and got granted extended deadlines.
  • Today I started bootcamp – she didn’t mind that I’d not been to the gym thank god but I really enjoyed bootcamp today and it has inspired me so much to get back to where I want to be! Thank you to Amy Stringfellow.
  • I went to uni quite a bit.
  • I got through to an assessment for a graduate programme – obviously I need my degree first so that’s where I am going with that. My uni tutor was so buzzing for me, she was like a Cheshire cat.
  • Booked honeymoon to Sri Lanka – this isn’t really an achievement but I just wanted to tell you.
  • I went to Ali’s rugby Prop Idol with people I had never met (officially) and you know what I het myself up about it soooo much beforehand and you know what when I walked in, I sat so quiet talking to nobody because I was that anxious but after a few pints I was talking to everyone without Ali having to hold my hand. Like I said in my last post, letting go of reassurance is not easy but I think I am getting there and doing things to push myself for me! I absolutely loved the night. We also went to a wedding fayre the day after with another two couples from rugby and I’d never thought I would be able to do that a few weeks ago.
  • I am going back to work tomorrow after being off sick for 4 weeks. Shitting it but I can do this!

I think thats about it but apparently thats a good start. I think I am getting somewhere and I know that these are little things to some people but to me right now they are not.

CBT is definitely about realising that the baby steps are the biggest and I have taken them and found my motivation and determination again. Sometimes you just need a little time out and figure out which path you need to be on. I think I am getting my mojo back. Yasssss. 

We went through the worry tree in CBT this week which is about in my words ‘situational’ worry – is it something that you can change? Yes – change it. I worry too much about what other people think and need to get out of this habit which I am starting to change a little bit at a time.

In other news, I now enjoy watching rugby- its such a social event!

Not sure this post has even been that good but I’ve written it anyway.

Over and out

Abs. xo 


CBT – 1

Before I start anything else, I am going to thank Erin – a lovely person I met on my last placement. She inspired me to share my journey as she has started sharing hers although in video form. I am sure at some point I will have much more to do with Erin and she may feature more on my blog too.

On a side note here, I am not going to write whats going off. I may write a few bits so you get the gist of my shit but there will probably be no direct reasons. I ain’t ready for that and I’m not going to plaster stuff all over here for nosy people. If you cared, you’d ask me personally. Sorry – that needed to be said!

SO today I started my CBT journey and I am hopefully going to post about it every session I have and how I am moving forward.

SO I went to my GP about several different things on my plate at the moment.. work, family, third year blues, my weight, my weight… my weight. Evidently these things have been on top of me for a while and I have been trying to deal with them on my own. Not ideal for anyone that is trying to deal with writing a dissertation and so many assignments on top of life and work stuff. SO that’s where it started and today I went to see the PWP, the very lovely Marcia, at my GP clinic.

FIRST, we did some questionnaires to determine what was going off that needs to be dealt with, BABY STEPS AT A TIME. Not all or nothing and everything at once like I seem to think I can do. I want everything now.. no, breathe. Essentially, Marcia is trying to equip me with some coping mechanisms BUT she’s not doing it for me which I totally agree with because who’d take advice from someone else right? HAHA!

We don’t all fit in a square box. 

She was quite frank with me and my answers.. questioning me constantly and slowing me down when I needed to. It was odd because yesterday on my CPD at coaching, it felt the same approach as I would use to teach. Like let them control. Not going to lie, I didn’t enjoy that control in that situation. She asked me what fight or flight meant and of course I know it but I am so scared of getting things wrong sometimes that I clammed up, nah not today. A few sharp prompts later and I told her, well done. She went into a little depth and there we go, moving forward. We looked at this model of stress and my god it makes sense again cycle and looking at feelings that you know and see and things that you recognise happen to you. My massive one is lack of sleep.. I just worry loads about everything to the extent I can’t sleep.

SO what happened then, was she went through this really good model and I need start understanding how to put it into practice instead of critically analysing everything like I would for a uni assignment. Admittedly, it didn’t help that she put it right in front of me like a uni hand out. Okay. I did note the year of the paper 2009 and the author began with a T. We went through this model and it was a ship and I had to tick the things I was doing and be proper honest. I was proper honest and you know what we identified.. I am putting barriers in front of me because I am scared and worried and anxious about these things but you know what we (I wrote we then, I actually mean I alongside the support of Marcia), can deal with.

The main thing we identified is that I need to do more about my physical health and diet. I understand this totally. Improving that will improve everything within my mental state because as was explained at the minute I am using adrenaline to fuel my anxiety and stress but not burning it off. The gym will help. My first steps are to eat better and go to the gym or even just a brisk walk everyday. Therefore, because my physical health is slooooowly going to pot, my ship is sinking. It’s so true, I feel want about my weight so my confidence is suffering. I’m struggling to want to go out with my mates because I see myself as huge and feel ashamed but I’m doing fuck all about it and until I do, it’s not gonna change.

Also, Marcia gave me this brilliant booklet.. I think it was from CPED or something like that and it’s about being active and stuff. It’s got diaries in it and you can write and see the gaps in it and where you can fit stuff in so I’m going to do that.

Although, I did give myself brownie points because I asked if a diary was a good idea before she even mentioned it. TICK TICK.

Reassurance, is something I look for and apparently this isn’t good and because I look for it in absolutely everything. She said what would you do.. and I said I would ask Ali. It’s not okay to look for reassurance in everything. I need to gain some control back and decisions.

Despite this, I know the areas I am most confident in are my work and how I can help other people. I am most confident doing what I do best and that is being there for others. Need some me time in my personal life like.

The hard bit was when she was asking me how it impacts others around me and you know what I know it does. It can’t be easy watching me essentially destroys myself and be stuck in a rut.

Learning and moving forward, I am going to go to the gym when this ear infection fucks off and start taking baby steps, ticking things off one by one. I hope everything falls back into place.

If you wanna follow my journey then feel free, if you don’t I also don’t really care. This is for mostly my benefit but the benefit of everyone else who is going through stuff too. It’s to break down the stigma and make people aware that everyone has a story and just because on face value they may be okay, it isn’t always the case.

Lastly, it’s okay not to be okay.

OH AND maybe once in a while, ask if people are okay. Just a simple ‘Are you okay?’ might be the question someone needs to feel cared about.

Dunno if any of that made sense but I’ve written it anyway. Cheers guys.

Over and Out.

Abs xo 

Tanzania (P10) -Echo 7, Mass Arguments, Stars and Yellow.

28th July

Not sure why I haven’t been writing in here when I’m bored all the time! Well most of it. I’ll talk about the significant events of the week so far as it’s Thursday.

Even though it was last Saturday we went to see echo 7 and I had no idea what girls were in it. So we turned up after the bumpiest ride in a taxi ever and stood there was Keisha! Never jumped out the back of a car so fast in my life. Missed that girl so much. I wrote her a letter on training and she wrote me one back and it said we would be life long friends which is amazing. She’s such a sound girl and we have the best banter. Can’t wait to see her and Nicole at mid phase (only 3 days to wait!) because it’ll be so much fun. And I have to ask Nicole about the Issa situ.

That day at echo 7 I had an argument with a shop keeper for charging me too much. She gave me some money back but still not the right amount. Think it was because I was a new white person in the village. Life goes on. Everything is cheap enough out here anyway. It was such a long day and went to bed at 8 once I got home!

Monday we took the letter to the school to ask if we could go teach and they said yes! Me, Lucie, Daniel and Gerald sat in this nice headteachers office with nice sofas waiting for an answer.

Tuesday was an interesting day. We were having a daily afternoon meeting and Issa was getting slightly het up telling people to listen in Swahili so I literally just said ‘DOn’t be so fucking rude’. Didn’t think much of it until he was talking loudly to Novah (Gerald in between) pointing to me so clearly bitching. So we called him out on it because it was in front of everyone and made me look like a mug seeing as all the Tanzanians  could understand him. Instead it could have been a personal discussion. But then everyone got really aggressive towards me and those defending me and turned very personally directed. It was all shouting and balling and even Novah showed a very nasty streak. It was dealt with in such a horrible way and that was the argument again. At this point I was starting to cry so walked off and into the church and sobbed to Ella.

It really made me want to go home because in a home situation I could have the choice not to surround myself with that sort of person. Here, I have no choice.

We got called out for something but I just sat and heard more arguments escalate. One about bananas and racism and one about UKV’s being lazy.

Thing is I could have happily flipped but I just took myself away from it which I’m proud of. Maybe I shouldn’t have said what I did but thats me, and now I’ve never been so sure of who I am. I am not being put in a box, especially here when we are so restricted.

Eventually, I snapped out of it and Joe was helpful as he said not to let it and someone ruin this experience for me. It was just frustrating as I don’t cry over nothing and thats when I knew it has gotten to me.

Me and Issa spoke for the first time today on the way home where I got a lecture for giving Juma a hard time about ‘the relationship’. I was trying to explain that I have feelings for someone in the UK. I also spoke to Juma on the phone and he asked me out again! It”s easier to handle now because I have things to say.

Yesterday was an absoulety  (oops) absolutely incredible day. Definitely one of the best. This morning, I can’t even tell you what I did but after lunch, where I got 2 good pieces of meat and a bit of Kieran and Connors left over chicken, we went to the primary school to teach.

In my group was me, Lucie, Kieran, Issa and Daniel and we worked so well together teaching 3 huge groups of children (enthusiastic children) head, shoulders, knees and toes and days of the week (in song to adam’s family tune) and numbers! In English that is. To be fair, most of them knew them, not the songs, already. And I learnt how to say: Louder, be careful and something else which I’ve clearly forgotten in Swahili. It was really amazing to see the children so excited and willing. Not to mention me.  My cheeks were hurting from smiling so much. We halved one of the groups and made them have a competition to see who was louder and I physically had to step back as they started as they were so loud! Such an experience. We are going every Wednesday now. Yay!

Joe and Novah and the Tanzanians cooked for us. Chicken, chips, omelette and salad and it was so good. The only thing was that at one point we saw the woman with a live chicken and then Issa come grab a knife from in front of us to go kill it. Kieran said he could kill a chicken but didn’t even though he had the opportunity as he believes something to do with being able to know where our meat comes from and what happens. Blah.

It was dark when we finished and we all started walking home. Anna realised she had Novah’s flip flops on and ran back to change.

While she did, we all looked at the stars which are so many and crystal clear here. We had a group hug, minus Ella and TZV’s and I started singing Coldplay ‘Yellow’ and they joined in. Literally one of the most euphoric, emotional and best times in my life and it will be remembered and treasured forever.



Tanzania (P9) – Attenborough, Girlfriend and Ginge.

20th July

Today I’ve come back in an amazing mood and just genuinely happy.

This morning me and Isa went into town and got 3 more, maybe 4 more mentors which is amazing. We were sat in the hair dressers and on TV was a David Attenborough documentary and there would be a nice, calm English bit then as a translation a booming Swahili which was funny but so loud. It was like cartwheeling baboons but then I hid from that animal I hate. I never remember what it’s called. It begins with A though.

This afternoon we went to Joe’s and all the UKV’s had a right bonding session talking about bad first dates, sex stories, drinking, fruit, like everything! I really enjoyed it.

I genuinely have time for everyone in the group even though we are all such different people.

Just starting to bop to Trap Queen as I’m writing! Miss town right now.

Anyway, I had the usual walk home with Juma asking me to be his girlfriend. I have great skills in avoiding the questions. I don’t let it phase me anymore. He’s so lovely though bless him!

Last night I found out Isa goes out with my friend Nicole too!

Today, I turned on my phone to a cute message from Ali saying that he’s so happy at the minute and he’s not even seen me. It’s so weird like I feel the same. He makes me feel on top of the world. just hope it lasts. It makes it so much easier to do this knowing in just over 6 weeks I hopefully have my little ginge to come home to. As much as I would kill to see him, I know it’s gonna be so worth the wait. He also appreciated his post card which I’m happy about; I wasn’t sure how well he would take it but it was well received (?).

Clocks just came on how fitting. Nearly cried, I love good music.

Not much else to say apart from lunch was shit as usual so over and out.

Tanzania (P8) -Continued, Football, Rats and Bullshit.

18th July.

Yesterday – Saturday – it was lunch time. I think I was going to write about about the football match so it was us against the actual village football team who had a kit and everything. I was the only girl playing but I retired after 5 mins because they were so brutal! Fun though.

When I sat down with the others we were actually surrounded by kids, quite scary. There were so many people watching, which was amazing. We drew 3-3.

The little girl in front got hit by the ball and literally just silently sobbed for a minute and was fine; a kid in the UK would ball for an hour!

It was such a good day but then the walk home killed us off.

I forgot to mention, the little bit of dancing after lunch, the last song was Diamonds by Rihanna (?) just for us white people.

Yesterday, we went to Joe’s after clothes washing – I sort of just rinsed and then Isa washed a pair of shorts for me, and 2 tops, because I couldn’t get them clean.

Lunch was gross, I got the bit of meat that looked like fur so Ana swapped me!

We watched Shrek 4 at Joe’s, it’s shit. I had a good time though, even just chilling.

Lucie was emotional because the rats in her house are really bad. She paid for some cement for the family to sort it as it’s not in Raleigh’s budget.

I got home and there was no electric so we ate by torch light. It was awful and made me realise how poles apart my life at home is. I literally ate and then went to bed.

I also made chapatis Saturday night, from scratch and we didn’t eat them all for breakfast this morning so I took them to training!

After training, the UKV’s and Juma and Gerald went to the VEO office and had a few games of bullshit which was proper fun. Lucie didn’t come though!

Tanzania (P7) – Action Day, Adele and Blagged Speech.

17th July

It’s been a full week since I wrote but that’s probably because we haven’t done much up until yesterday.

Yesterday was our first action day.

Right now Adele Hello is on the radio! Insane!

We had music in the field outside the church with these huge speakers and microphones which Isa and Juma commanded. And kept shouting Abi when I was dancing. At one point I was the only UKV there. There were loads of people watching and a few joining in! So crazy. Then we had a few speeches and I forgot to prepare so I just blagged mine. After lunch of chips and chips mayaye – chip omelette we had a

Tanzania (P6) -Day Off, Snail, Travelling.

10th July

So today is our day off and so far I’ve washed my clothes and got dirtier than they started. Later, we’re all going for a walk but surprise, surprise Ana isn’t coming.

We had an argument last night because she wanted to go a different way home even though we’d never been that way and it was getting dark. She was prepared to leave me on my own as well which is such a dick move. I’d already waited like 2 hours for her to have a medical because she wanted biscuits!

Luckily, I got my way but I ‘stormed’ off at normal pace and she proceeded to walk like a snail.

She said I didn’t know where I was going. Bullshit. She didn’t speak to me until this morning.

Yesterday I had chips and a chip omelette for lunch, followed by pepsi, a lolly and sweets.

Last night I managed like a 40min WhatsApp call with Ali which is genuinely just what I needed. I don’t think he realises how much he keeps me going sometimes. I hope one day we get together, I like him a hell of a lot to keep talking like we do and it not come to anything. He keeps saying he wants to go travelling which would be incredible, I’d get to share the world with someone I truly care about which would honestly complete me. Just hope it sticks until I get home and I don’t get fucked over, it would hurt me so much. But then again we’re not together so.

Just have to wait and see.

Tanzania (P5) – Tired and Lost.

8th July. Morning.

So last night I was interrupted and after I was too tired to carry on writing.

Me, Kieran, Maddy and Ella got lost on the way back to my homestay last night and everyone came searching. We were ages and then two guys stopped next to us on a bike, think they were drunk but thankfully it was John and Isa’s baba and he knew my name and said they were following us as they knew we were lost. They then walked us to my house. I literally pounced on my mama when I saw her.

So I’d settled down and then Daniel turned up looking for Kieran who had left.

Then this morning I also found out that Joe was also looking for us too! Shit! Oh well, we’ve learnt where we went wrong, straight on at the big tree instead of right.

Last night was the first time I missed home properly but cute texts in a morning keep me going.

8 weeks today and I’ll be in the UK.

Tanzania (P4) – Entrepeneurship and Relationship.

7th July.

Today was a good day, evening pretty interesting. So it started by giving a speech about what an entrepreneur is which Isa and Juma translated for me to a group of Tanzanians. It was pretty inspiring that they listened to me despite not knowing a word of English, I felt slightly empowered.

Then we did a bit of waiting around, as per, but I had some insightful conversations and a lot of sunbathing until I got too hot! At one point I had taken my flip flops off and they ended up in the middle of a group talk but being bare foot for a while was good.

I then learnt that my phone screen had been smashed somehow and now my selfie camera doesn’t work – first world problems.

Also, gossip of the day is that ginger, white, Irish John is in a relationship with bongo, Tanzanian Grace! Ooooo. Lets see how long it lasts.

We then all watched Kung Fu Panda 3, well most of it until the laptop cut out. Oh before that we went into town to do more surveys and I bought some material and it’s being made into a top and skirt for me. I get it tomorrow and it cost me a whole £6 equivalent!

Me, Kieran,


Tanzania (P3) – Mum’s Birthday, Shitting, Cold Nights

6th July

So as you can see I got interrupted at the end/middle of that entry. Today is mums birthday and I’ve managed to speak to her a bit, just wish the pictures she sent to me would download. Wish I was there but it’s just one of those things. This is hard to write when I have the Sam Smith album on and engaged in! Yeah, as I was saying. I’m trying not to sing out loud too. Alongside, not letting my snot dribble as I’m bent over writing this.

Today we got assigned stalls for the awareness raising tomorrow and I got Raleigh and took it upon myself to do the “What is an entrepreneur?” bit. I brought my pens and got on with a poster. I felt like the two others, both Tanzanians, were just pissing about and doing nothing so at one point it got a little bit heated. I realised how fiesta I can be but at the end of the day it works. I don’t want to look stupid tomorrow. Just frustrating when one of them was kicking up such a fuss about it, then proceeds to do nothing.

I felt proactive today for once which was good. We went into town and did some surveys in Swahili, so I felt useless but we found the tailors so I’m thinking about getting a kanga made. The material was beautiful and I held the baby. It was so cute and smiley!!

Now I’m singing out loud as Ana has gone to shower. I miss singing all the time.

The situation with Ali is so surreal at the moment when he tells me he misses me and wants to go travelling and stuff. It’s so good but I just hope it carries on and not just words because he means so much to me and we left in such a good place.

I’m also going to write this into my blog when I get home which will be great but not as good as writing watching the sun set out the door.

Sam Smith – Latch. Feels so appropriate right now. So does Make It To Me!

More 6th July – sorry about the mismatch in colour pens. I’ve just showered, by that I mean a bucket and cup to pour it over myself. I used my sarong for the first time and felt like a proper Tanzanian because I think that’s what they do!

Having a shit by torch light down a hole makes this feel so real but in an odd way still so surreal too. I’m just taking in the whole experience.

I’m not really missing home either because it’s such a different life and environment. If I was at home I would be doing nothing so that’s why I feel I can manage to immerse myself into it easier. And I’m motivated to make a difference.

Another weird thing is that I’m wearing more clothes to bed than I do at home. Like long pyjamas top and bottom, bed socks and a jumper. And then I’m in my 2-3 season sleeping bag and liner and I’m sharing a bed too. How crazy!

I’m so tired but I have tea still to have and find my Raleigh top for tomorrow. We can’t be an hour and half late tomorrow like we were today either! Beyond Bongo time. And no, Bongo out here isn’t racist, it’s what they call themselves.

My Mama is such a nice lady too, she likes me because I’m not fussy with food. She’s a good cook of rice and peas and the other day chunks of pig as they call it! Although, she thinks porridge is a drink which is so funny!

I feel like I’m writing just to fill this page right to the bottom even though there is so much I could write.

Here I don’t have to worry about home which is good like I don’t have a job when I get home and I could have failed second year but I can deal with that then, when needed to.

Right now I am absolutely living for the moment which is such an incredible feeling and I’m grateful for.

Thank you Government.