An Open Letter to Lifeline

CW: chronic pain, suicide

Other Australians may have seen an advert by Lifeline cropping up on our bus shelters, billboards and other media over the past few months.  I have a big problem with this advert.

This is it:

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A blue image of an adult’s hand holding a child’s hand.  The text reads  “Hold On Pain Ends.  We’re here for you.  Call: 13 11 14 lifeline.org.au”.

I think my issue with this as a sufferer of chronic pain should be fairly self-explanatory, but if it isn’t, please see the letter I have written to Lifeline below.

Dear Lifeline

I have recently noticed a number of adverts for Lifeline with the slogan “HOPE: Hold on, pain ends.”  This was also posted to your facebook page on 5 March 2019. I want to ask that you reconsider this slogan.

Whilst I am certain that your intention is good and that these words are important to many people considering suicide, I wonder if you have fully considered the potential impact of these words on the portion of the population for whom pain doesn’t end – those of us with chronic illness, disability or chronic pain.

In 2018 a study was done in the US examining the impact of chronic pain as a factor in suicides.  It showed that chronic pain was a factor in 9% of suicides.  Australian doctors have linked an increase in suicides amongst young women to chronic pelvic pain diseases such as endometriosis.

I am chronically ill and live with daily pain.  One of my diseases is endometriosis.  My illnesses are likely to impact me for the rest of my life, unless I have major surgery that comes with its own raft of difficult side-effects.  As long as I have these diseases, I am likely to continue to experience daily pain.  Every time I walk past your advert, I am reminded of this fact.  My pain won’t end.  It’s a further twist of the knife that is the reality of being chronically ill.  Every time I see your ad, I feel a stab of bitterness, sadness and despair.

I wonder if it might not be even worse for someone with chronic pain who is suicidal.  They might see your sign and think, “If pain ending is a reason not to commit suicide, perhaps the fact that my pain won’t end is a reason I should.”

Your advert fails to acknowledge those of us living in daily physical pain.  At best, it ignores the risk of suicide amongst the chronic pain community.  At worst, it suggests that lives with unending pain aren’t worth living.

I know from discussions with others in the community that I am not the only person who feels this way.  On a personal level, I don’t know how many more times I can bear to walk past your advert without bursting into tears.  There is one right outside my work – I see it several times a day and it doesn’t get any less hurtful.

I know that it wasn’t Lifeline’s intention to exclude or hurt anyone, but that is the practical effect of this advert and that is why I am writing to beg you to remove that slogan as soon as possible.  Please consider the impact it has on disabled and chronically ill people.  We are often forgotten and excluded in so many little ways that add up to a culture of discrimination and inaccessibility.  Please don’t contribute to that.

Kind regards

Some people might suggest that I’m overreacting.  Poo to you, I say.  Poo to you.  Words matter.  Words can hurt.  These words do.

Some might say, “Well, of course Lifeline didn’t mean that it applies to you.”  That’s the point!  They don’t say that!  They just make a blanket statement that completely excludes the chronically ill.

If you share my feelings about this advert I would strongly encourage you to also write to Lifeline and ask them to change this advert and ensure that it is replaced with something with a better, more inclusive message.  Please feel free to use my letter as a template.

I have requested a response.  I’ll let you know if I get one.

More Quotable Quotes

A while ago I did a post on 10 quotes that really summed up some of the experiences we have with endometriosis/chronic illness.  Recently, a lot of similar quotes have been popping up in my Pinterest feed, so I thought this might be a good time to do another one of those posts.

1)  “When I finally find a pain-free position…but then I have to pee.”  

All the damn time!

The quote is superimposed on an image of James Van Der Beek ugly-crying.

This one doesn’t really need an explanation, but boy, is it true (and frustrating).

2)  “Fake it til you make it doesn’t work with chronic illness”

MS, Fibro, Lupus, and the list goes on and on.... Chronic Debilitating Painful Illnesses

Image is a tumblr post by thatchronicfeeling.  It reads:

“‘Fake it till you make it’ dosen’t work with chronic illness.

Instead, the options are:

‘Fake it till you are so ill you can’t get out of bed’

‘Fake it till you have a flare’

‘Fake it till you have a flare, continue to fake it till you’re hospitalised’

OR

‘Accept that you have one or more chronic illnesses, adapt accordingly and look after yourself.'”  

I suspect most of us are guilty of trying to fake it til we make it far too many times, largely because there are enormous societal and economic pressures to do so, even though we know it doesn’t work and isn’t conducive to long-term health.

3) The Most Annoying Thing

Indeed, I still try though. Now and then, PIZZA!!!

Image reads: “The thing that kills me about chronic illness is that you can do everything right and still be sick.  You can be on the best medications, eat the best food, exercise seven days a week, sleep eight hours every night, and still be sick.  You can follow every rule, do everything your [sic] supposed to, and still be sick.”

You’re telling me.  I flew halfway around the planet to get the best surgery currently available only to discover I have another underlying condition that the surgery can’t treat.  I sleep ten or twelve hours some days and I’m still fatigued beyond enduring.

On the other hand, I did go to my Bangladeshi friend’s house the other night and eat all the high-FODMAP food, but honestly, if you could taste her mum’s dahl, you’d eat it if it killed you.

4) Of Mice and Men

Quote, 'Of Mice and Men'

Image is a quote from Of Mice and Men: “It’s just a constant battle: me against my body; my passions and my dreams and what I want to do with my life, against what I’m physically able to do.”

This really hits home.  As I write I’m supposed to be at beautiful Pearl Beach catching up with a dear friend whom I don’t see nearly enough.  Instead, I’m at home in my pjs because I couldn’t handle the journey.

5) I want to be enough

Chronically ill person

Image reads: As a chronically ill person, I don’t want to be told I can do anything if I put my mind to it.  I want to know that what I can do is enough.”

Absolutely.  It doesn’t matter how determined I am to be a prima ballerina when I can barely make it to the gym twice a week through fatigue and pain.  Rather than being told “you can do anything!”, which kind of rubs it in our faces that we can’t, tell us that we are doing really well as we are (because we are).  

6) Surprise!

Funny because it’s true

Meme of a cat face on a background partitioned into six shades of blue.  Texts reads:

“Me: so what are we going to do with my life?

Body: It’s a surprise!”

It sure it, body.  It sure is.

7)  Waste of spoons

Said every person who is chronically ill.

Image reads: Why waste spoons on shaving your legs?

I’ve had many a day in between laser sessions where I have thrown out my skirt or dress plans in favour of trousers because shaving requires far, far too many spoons.

If you can’t bear the sensation of leg hair want to know more about removal options, have a squiz at this post where I evaluate the pros and cons of a few different choices.

8) Competing Desires

yes

Image reads: I am a person who wants to do a lot of things trapped in a body of a person who wants to sleep a lot.

Never a truer word was said.

9) A Fully Functioning Body

Image result for funny chronic illness memes

Image is a tumblr post by thefairiegirl.  It is a picture of a shocked lego-person in glasses with the text:

“When I see someone with a fully functioning body:”

and the lego person says, “I’ve always wanted one of those.”

Wouldn’t it be nice?

10) Fatigue

"You don't know what fatigue is until you've had to rest after taking a shower." Life with chronic illness. Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Lyme Disease.

Image is from someecards.  A vintage image of a lady in a bathtub on a blue background, with text that reads: “You don’t know what fatigue is until you’ve had to rest after taking a shower.”

I mostly take baths now for that exact reason, and I still have to rest afterwards.

What quote resonates with you the most?

If you enjoyed this post and want to see more of these quotes, follow me at https://www.pinterest.com.au/bubblesinthebrain/ and look for my Endometriosis board.

Happy Christmas!

Whatever my dear readers are celebrating at this time of year, I wish you all the happiest of days with no pain or stress.

For my fellow Christians, this may not be the exact anniversary of Jesus’ birth, but remembering that awesome event is of such importance. His birth is a symbol of hope, and hope is one thing us sickies will always need.

Merry Christmas to all! 🎄

Hello from Hospital

Hello, dear readers. I’m so sorry I’ve not been posting; I’ve been fully immersed in holidaying, seeing family, and, of course, preparing for my operation.

Said operation occurred this morning UK time, and I am now recovering.

Once I’m discharged I’ll do a post about the experience, including the differences between the UK and Australian approach. Right now, though, I can hear sleep calling my name again (she won’t leave me alone!) so I’ll say TTFN and give you all a proper update when I’ll less drugged up.

Wish me well, internet friends.

Flying with Endometriosis Part 4: Things to Consider

For many people, flying is already a nightmare.  For people with endometriosis, there’s an added layer of difficulty.  In this multi-part series, “Flying with Endometriosis”, I want to talk about some of things we can do to make travel a bit easier.

Sorry about my recent absence! My computer is utterly broken and I’m still adjusting to the app so there has been a bit of a break. I’ll try and return to more regular posting now, noting I’ll jet-setting off this very day, but expect posts to have a slightly funny format whilst I familiarise myself with the WordPress app.

Ok, we’ve gone through our pre-flight checklist, packed our carry-ons for maximum comfort, and dressed to impress our endo bellies. What else do we need to do?

This is less a post and more a list of things to consider for your trip that didn’t really fit into my previous three articles, but are still really important. I’ve divided them up into topics below.

Luggage

Is your carry-on manageable, or will it put pressure on sore joints if you have a flare-up? Think about the type of bag that is most comfortable for you. Although I’ve gone for a messenger bag for its capacity and great storage, it’s probably not the best choice if I start to end up in pain as the weight is not easily distributed across my body. A backpack or small wheeled case (although I often find I’m too tall to manage these comfortably) would be the more sensible option.

Is your main luggage easy to manoeuvre? I prefer a suitcase with four wheels to the traditional two. Firstly, it is easier for my tall self to handle without it running into my heels, and secondly, it trundles along happily next to me with minimal effort – great if my pain starts to flare. A large rucksack/hiking pack is not so great for me as it presses on my lower back and requires me to bear a fair amount of weight, which my battered bod doesn’t love.

Have you packed it for best weight distribution? Remember, heavy stuff near the wheels, light stuff at the other end. I find packing cubes invaluable for organising everything inside the suitcase.

Arrival

Is your hotel close by? After a long flight, it isn’t always a good idea to jump straight into sightseeing. You want to dump your luggage and explore in freedom, and possibly get a bath or shower to help relax your pelvis and work out any knots. Make sure that your hotel is either possible for you to walk to without inducing a flare-up, or that you can easily acquire transport there.

Have you scouted out local food options? If you are on the endo diet, low FODMAP diet or similar, you may want to know in advance where you can safely eat to prevent you having to go traipsing round the city in search of options when you are exhausted from your flight. A lot of travel bloggers and the like will turn up their nose at people who aren’t prepared to try all the wildest local cuisine, but it isn’t always practical when you have dietary restrictions. Don’t feel bad if you can’t or just don’t want to – food is not the only part of travel and you are not a “bad” tourist if you can’t handle the local food.

Are you near a doctor or chemist? Make a point of knowing the closest one to your hotel. Most chronically ill people are going to be pretty well-prepared to manage their conditions on the go, but things can go unexpectedly wrong, luggage can get lost or stolen, and medications can get confiscated by unsympathetic security staff. You never know when you will need a bit of medical assistance so better safe than sorry.

Tourism

Are you confident you can manage the activities you have scheduled? Make sure you know the refund policies of any booked activities just in case, and make sure you know your limits. I love guided tours as a good way to familiarise myself with a new city, but many involve a lot of walking. If you think it will be too much, consider a tour that involves transport such as a car, bus, bicycle, rickshaw, boat or tuk tuk.

Have you scoped out wheelchair hire? Many people with endo won’t need to fall back on a wheelchair, but I often do. Knowing where I can pick one up offers me far more flexibility than I would otherwise have.

If you do need a chair, are the places you want to see wheelchair-friendly, and will getting there in a chair be an option? You want to make sure that the chair helps you, not limits you. Using it as much as possible in accessible locations will ensure that you have the energy and spoons to get around less accessible locations on other days.

Do you have a couple of catch-phrases in the local language? Being able to say “help” and “I don’t speak X, do you speak English?” may just make the difference between being alone and in pain and being able to get the help you need. You don’t need to memorise the phrase book, but a couple of sentences can be so useful.

Do you have a map, either physical or on your phone? When I get a flare and have serious pain, my ability to think, plan and act is totally compromised. Being able to access the map function on my phone and have it tell me where to go is so useful. All I have to do is push through and follow instructions rather than try and navigate my way back to bed through an unfamiliar city.

What other steps would you take, endo-havers? Anything you always try to think about in your travels? Let me know in the comments!

Error: Blog Not Found

Hi all

I’m having some technical difficulties here at Bubbles central but I have some great posts coming. The travel series will continue and I’ll take you on another little trip with a Review of two of the ACT’s October festivals. New content coming…as soon as my computer remembers how to computer. 😩

Various Announcements

Look at all these cheerful people announcing things!  Stock pictures are great.

I want to announce a couple of exciting changes.

  1. I have added some menus and an “about” page.  If you go to the home page and take a peek at the right-hand side, you should see my posts about endometriosis collated in one menu, and my posts for tips and tricks on living with endo collated just beneath that.  I’m hoping this will make these posts more accessible, particularly given that they are the primary point of this blog.
  2. I’m dropping my frequency of posting from daily to every second day for now.  I think I’ve built up a decent amount of content now that should keep new readers entertained for a while.  As I’m getting better at the moment thanks to being in false menopause (post on that coming soon!) I’m back at work and have less time to write posts, so generating seven over the weekend for the coming week is a bit of a challenge.  I haven’t lost my drive to maintain this blog, but I am now much more lacking in time than when I was home sick three-five days each week.  Reducing my posts to every other day will let me produce better quality content as I’ll have more time and energy to devote to it, and stop me having to do those apology posts that I’ve been doing recently (sorry!).
  3. I’m travelling to the UK next month, so that may also affect my ability to post.  I will try and prepare a bunch to release whilst I’m away but I may not have as many as I’d like, and I want to spend my time in the UK with my family, so for three weeks this blog will take a backseat.  It will be up and running again as normal in November, though!  Expect some posts on travelling with endometriosis and travelling generally, including packing lists and must-see places in the UK.
  4. Finally and most excitingly, my surgery has been confirmed!  Dr Edi-Osagie will start with an exploratory operation, and if he confirms the presence of endometriosis he will perform a total pelvic peritoneal excision.  I’m terrified but full of hope.  I’ll do a more fulsome post on this as well in the near future.

So, these are the exciting things going on in my life right now.  Big changes, hopefully for the better.

I just want to finish on a quote I heard in the current audiobook I’m listening to (I use Audible and I cannot recommend it enough), which is Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson.  It says this:

Accept the pain, but do not accept that it is your fault.

That really resonated with me, for fairly obvious reasons, and I keep coming back to it.  Accepting the pain that is part of our lives is so important, and feeling guilty for having it is an incredibly important trap to fall into, but it is something we need to fight against.  This quote just reminds me of that.

Are there any things you would like to see posts on in the coming months?  I’m still working on a Christmas giveaway or competition as well, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on a good prize and whether a giveaway or competition is preferable.  Let me know in the comments!

A Day of Gratitude

It’s the first day of spring!  My mood has been slowly creeping towards the positive with the fresh smell in the air and the gradual increase in temperature, and now spring is finally here!  I’m celebrating it by making resolutions I probably won’t keep, but also by following on from last month and starting September in a positive way, with a gratitude post!  I want to kick this month off with a list of ten things that I am grateful for.  I challenge you to do the same thing, whether in your diary, here in the comments or on your own blog or facebook page.

Without any further ado, today I am grateful for:

1) Spring!

Yes, I know I kind of said this already, but I love spring.  It fills me with hope and a yearning to be outdoors.  In my mind it’s all flowers and lazy bees and warm days that aren’t too hot yet.

IMG_5707.JPG
Look at these happy little bees buzzing around in my rosemary.  

2) Work

I may not get there every day and it can be stressful as all heck, but I adore my colleagues and the work I do can be really fulfilling.  It can also be silly and trivial and you wonder why some people think that they need a lawyer to sort it out, but the feeling when a terrified women walks out of court with a piece of legal protection she didn’t have before, or a confused man who had no understanding of what he could do suddenly has a clear pathway to follow, and you gave it to them?  That’s pretty good.  It’s those moments that really make it for me, when people are staring at this confusing, tangled legal pathway and you can just go, “Here’s what you do,” and they suddenly have a clear path to follow.

3) Dr Edi-Osagi

I mentioned last week that I had an appointment with the good doctor via Skype.  More recently I received his reporting letter about the appointment, and I nearly cried.  He included every detail I told him about my pain, laid out a clear treatment plan, and noted that my quality of life is low.  I’ve never had a doctor do that for me before in such detail, or draw such a conclusion.  I didn’t even tell him I thought I had a low quality of life; he examined what I told him and drew that conclusion for himself.  It was the most validating experience and I have never felt so listened to or supported by a medical professional before, even if it turns out down the track that he won’t be able to assist me.

4) My animals

They are such a constant source of joy for me.  Every morning when Pearl comes out of her bedroom (the laundry) she does a little butt-wiggling stretch and then shoves her head into my chest for a cuddle.  When we get home from work, she dances around us with her silly little corgi paws all over the place, doing that thing dogs do where they really want cuddles but are too excited to stand still for them.

IMG_5997.JPG
Basking in the sunshine. 10/10 good dog.

Every day Max jumps up on the sofa to sit with me or on me and looks at me with that perfect ginger face, and purrs like a little steam train.  Each morning when I get up he throws himself dramatically down at my feet and rolls around on his back for tummy scratches.  He’s impossibly cute and I love him.

IMG_5887.JPG
As a lawyer, can confirm: it would be illegal not to kiss that little face.

5) My mum

Pretty much as soon as she got back from her overseas trip she was right back into the swing of supporting and helping me in every way she could.  From walking me and the dog to bringing me my microwave (which had been living with her) and just straight up emotional support, she is pretty much the bestest.

6) My husband

He works so hard and still finds the emotional energy to support and help me and the physical energy to walk the dog, do the bulk of the housework and keep fit and healthy.  He’s superman.  I don’t know how he does it.  He also makes the most amazing meals.

7) Small luxuries

This morning I had fresh berries on my cereal.  Tomorrow night I’m going to have a long relaxing bath with a face mask.  Yesterday I burnt my coconut Dusk candle and basked in its tropical smell as I made a really cool calendar page for September in my bullet journal.  This morning my dress has this little bit of tulle just at the base of the skirt and it feels so fancy.

Image result for review alouette dress
My fancy dress (Review’s Alouette Dress) as modelled on the Iconic by this stunning lady

8) Snails having baths

Just google it.  It’s adorable.  It made my heart sing this morning.

9) The Llandor Trilogy

My sister and I read this series of books about fifteen years ago, but over time we forgot what they were called.  We couldn’t even really remember the plot, just random elements; a boy and a girl get sucked into a fantasy world.  The girl wants to be a hairdresser.  The boy wants to work in IT.  They had adventures including a banshee in an underground cave, rock giants, and a black mage that the girl accidentally killed by shoving him off a cliff, except maybe he didn’t die because he could turn into some sort of bird of prey (but we couldn’t remember what).  We tried every google combination we could think of over many years, asked facebook friends, tried Yahoo Answers, and eventually, exactly one year ago today, we finally hit on the right google combination and discovered that the books were the Llandor Trilogy (and that there were actually three children, not two).  It was quite possibly the single most cathartic experience of my entire life.

I’m going to celebrate by reading the series again, starting today.

10) This blog and you, my lovely readers

I never actually thought anyone would read this blog.  I thought I’d write for a while with maybe 2 followers, then get bored and stop.  Instead, 2 months after starting it I have 41 followers.  It may not be many in the grand scheme of internet pages, but I am incredibly grateful for each and every one of you and you are the reason I will continue writing.  It tells me that there are people who are interested in endometriosis and that it is worth writing about.  So thank you, my wonderful people.  I hereby commit to a giveaway of some sort when we reach 100.  I’m working on ideas (but feel free to drop some more in the comments).

 

So what are you grateful for today?  What little things have made your heart sing?  Are you excited for September?

 

Bullet Journalling for Beginners

Have you heard of bullet journalling?  Originally I thought it was just some mad hipster trend (maybe it is) but I’m pretty well hooked.  I want to talk today about the basics of bullet journalling, and tomorrow I’ll go into more detail about how it can help with endometriosis.

I’m a naturally chaotic person.  I forget things that aren’t written down.  I find setting reminders in my phone to be clunky and awkward, and I never check it when I do, so I’m always surprised to see a notification popping up and leaving me no time to prepare.  I need a diary, a planner.  At the same time, though, I want an actual journal with room to write down thoughts and feelings as well as my to-dos and events.  I want blank space to doodle if I’m feeling creative or want to plan out a new layout for my fish tank.

Enter the bullet journal, a system that serves as all of the above.

The Symbols

The way a bullet journal works is through the use of coded symbols to denote what is what.  It uses six main symbols.  I’ll show you an example of how a weekly schedule could look:-

Monday

  • Call doctor

< Pick up dry cleaning

Tuesday

O French class, 7pm

>  Call Anna

Wednesday

  • Pick up dry cleaning

–  Had coffee with Daniel, talked about trip next week

X Call Anna

From that example you can see we have the symbols:

X

>

<

O

Each of them signifies a different type of thing that you are putting in the journal.

  • A task that needs to be completed

X  A task that has been completed

>  A task that I didn’t complete today, so I’m shifting it to tomorrow to try again (aka “migrating”, in the official bullet journal parlance)

< A task that I can’t to today, so I am scheduling to do on a particular date in the future when I know I’ll get to it

O  An event

–  A note

In my own journal, I’ve added in a heart for things I’m grateful for and a star for things I’ve achieved.  The idea is that you write out all these symbols in a key in the front of your journal so you can always check what’s what.  You may find you don’t use all of them.  Personally I almost never use the “schedule” symbol because I just end up migrating stuff to the next day to see if I can do it then.

The Pages

In addition to your key, your standard bullet journal needs a couple of other pages to make it super useful.  First is the future log.  This is an overview of the entire year.  Here you can jot down dates that you know will be coming up, such as birthdays, anniversaries, public holidays, or events that get planned months in advance.

Next is the monthly log.  It’s basically the same as the future log, but only for one month, and can be more detailed.  I find that writing something in the future log at the beginning of the year and then checking it and re-writing things in my monthly log also helps remind me that they are coming up.

Then, you have the daily log, where you put your tasks, notes and events for that day go.

Last (although I perhaps should have mentioned it first) is the index.  It typically goes at the front of the journal and you fill it in as you go.  For instance, your future log may be on pages 5-9.  Wack that in.  You can put in whatever pages you want to be able to find quickly and list them in your index.

In a nutshell, that’s the original bullet journal concept.  However, the great thing about this journal is that you can turn it into whatever you want.

The Style

Want your daily logs to be prepared and only take up a certain amount of room per day?  Can do.  Prefer more of a go-with-the-flow approach and are happy to let days spill over as little or as much space as they need?  It’s your journal and you can make it how you like.

Prefer your monthlies to take a calendar format?  Here you are.  Would rather just a list?  That’s fine too.

Enjoy hugely elaborate spreads?  Boy, has Pinterest got some suggestions for you.

Dobby Weekly by Raphaela Winterhalter, elas_bullet_journey.jpg
Incredibly themed weekly spread by Raphaela Winterhalter.  For more of these incredible designs follow @elas_bullet_journey on instagram.  This gorgeous spread let its creator do a bit of art, demonstrate a love of Harry Potter, and still have room for daily tasks and events.  Used with permission.

Prefer a minimalist approach?  Pinterest and Instagram has you covered for those too.

Weekly Spread Rocio Muniz minimalistbujoist.jpg
Rocio Munez’s pretty spread is probably much more within the realms of possibility for most of us, utilising cute succulent stickers and some highlighters to get a neat, functional but still attractive layout.  Follow Rocio on instagram: @minimalbujoist

Many journallers will also use their bullet journal to track things – periods, sleep, weather, their moods, their habits, their spending, how much they’ve paid off their bills, their weight or measurements, their schedule for chores, or their school, uni or work timetables.  You can list what books you want to read this year, and what movies you aim to see.  You can summarise your year or your month, keep a gratitude log, set goals for yourself, or even just use it as a traditional diary and journal about your thoughts and feelings.  It is whatever you want to make it.

I’ve played around a fair bit with mine.  I started keeping one in January 2017, and used only black and green ink (green for headings, black for everything else).  I stuck to a very basic format and didn’t lay out my weeks in advance.

This year I’ve been a lot more experimental and included a lot more pages.  I’ve gone wild with colour.  Unfortunately, I’ve found I don’t have the time to keep up with elaborate spreads and have moved back to more basic ones.  However, I do like laying out my week in advance as it lets me schedule tasks better, and I can keep a separate page at the end of each month for journalling.

The equipment

What do you actually need to make a bullet journal?  Really, just a journal and a pen.  Dotted journals are the most used and are what were intended to go along with the original idea.  My favourites are the Leuchtturm 1917, but Scribbles That Matter and Moleskine are also very popular.  I’d also get a pencil, eraser and ruler to help map things out before you commit it to pen.

If you want to get a bit fancier, have a look at brush pens, calligraphy pens, stamps, washi tape and stencils.  All of these can jazz up a page, and thankfully stamps and stencils require literally no skill to use.  AliExpress is a source of cheap bullet journal accessories, but you are probably more assured of an ethical buy from independent shops such as those on Etsy.  I like Stampin’ Up for inks and stamps, but they do tend to suck you in with their gorgeous matchy colour schemes so you feel like you need all of them.

Super cute bookshelf washi tape from Washi Wednesday on Etsy.    This would be perfect to decorate a list of books to read for the year.

That covers the basics of bullet journalling (the very basics).  For more information I recommend the original Bullet Journal site or this Buzzfeed post.  If you are looking for inspiration, Pinterest and Instagram have heaps, but don’t be put off by the picture-perfect journal spreads on there – most of us have far more mundane, less instagrammable journals.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how bullet journalling can be useful for people with endo specifically.  In the meantime, do you keep a journal?  Have you tried bullet journalling?  What’s your style?  Share your pictures in the comments.