Document Your Life: October 2017

In which I go to the cat shelter, visit contemporary & modern art museum Voorlinden, have internet friend Ainsley visit, and go to the cat café. It’s basically just a cat documentary.

Joshua Hyslop – I Wish I Was (iTunes – Spotify)


2018 Goals and Resolutions

I bet you weren’t expecting a new year’s resolutions blog post 4 weeks into the new year! I feel like I’m running behind on pretty much everything in my life at the moment, but I really wanted to get this post up anyway. Better late than never!

I didn’t feel like making resolutions at all this year because I don’t have a clear idea of what the year is going to look like yet. The plan is to start therapy again (mental health waiting lists are my mortal enemy) and get my service puppy, but I don’t know when each thing is going to happen. When the schedule is vague like this, I find it difficult to set any goals. I’m afraid that I won’t achieve them if I’m focusing on therapy or dog training… so I’ve set some very specific, measurable goals that are a bit more manageable than previous years’ goals.

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Autism Mental Health

Learning to be Okay With Antidepressants

I’ve slowly been lowering the dosage of my antidepressants for over a year now because I no longer wanted to be dependent on medication. I no longer wanted the struggle of making sure I took the right brand of apple juice with me to wherever I had dinner so I could mix the 20 drops of escitalopram with the strong taste of Appelsientje. I no longer wanted to have to take it late in the evening — when my IBS is at its worst — because I forgot to take it during dinner, when I’m supposed to.
But most of all, I wanted to see whether after 4 years of taking this same antidepressant it actually made a difference.

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Document Your Life: September 2017

In which I go for a walk in the forest with family & my favorite dog friend and visit my best friend in Sheffield where we go to the cat cafe and the botanical gardens, and play What Do You Meme.

Sea Wolf – Dear Fellow Traveler (iTunes)

Bullet Journal

My Weird 2017 ‘Bullet Journal’


In December of 2016, I started getting into bullet journal videos on YouTube. Back then, I thought it wasn’t ‘for me’, so I just enjoyed the videos and went on with my day. To me, bullet journaling seemed more like creative procrastination than productive planning.

I wasn’t really into the hand lettering, collages, washi tapes, and drawing that I saw other people do in their bujos, and I think a lot of people still believe this misconception that that is what bullet journaling is. Sure, for some people it is largely about washi tape and hand lettering, but there are plenty of people who prefer the simplistic style that the creator of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll, uses. They call them ‘minimalist(ic) bullet journals’, if you want to know what to search for.

In the video below, Ryder Carroll explains the basic bullet journal system:

So, it was December: time to buy a new planner for the upcoming year. I was curious about trying out a bullet journal but didn’t feel ready for it yet. So I bought the usual: a black softcover weekly Moleskine planner.

In January of 2017, I was starting to regret that decision. The more journaling videos I watched, the more excited I got about starting a bullet journal.

I didn’t want to buy an entirely new journal and let that brand new Moleskine planner go to waste, so I decided to just try out ‘bullet journaling’ in my weekly planner. If I ended up liking it, I’d do it properly the next year.

Looking back, I think this way of journaling can work very well for some people. If you don’t have the time or energy to make every page layout yourself, but still want to try out some bullet journal techniques or implement a daily journaling habit, this could be the way to do it.

I took the basic bullet journal system and modified it to what I needed it to be. I needed weekly tasks (because spoon levels are unpredictable), short sections for daily journaling, and a pre-made layout. In my next journal I will do things differently, but for 2017, this worked.

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Autumn Book Reviews

This post includes affiliate links.

As some of you may know, I used to write a book blog called Lauren Reads YA. I decided to quit book blogging in the beginning of 2017 because I wanted to focus on service dog training, but when my first attempt failed (second attempt is in the works — not giving up yet!), I was right back where I started: at home with nothing to do, having given up one of my most time-consuming activities.

I made this new blog a personal/’lifestyle’ one because I didn’t want to be restricted to just writing about books, but I also didn’t want to quit book blogging entirely. So I hope those of you who followed my book blog will continue to follow my bookish posts (and others!) on here.

At the moment, I read less than I did when my book blog was at its peak: then 70-100 books a year, now 52 (one for every week of the year — that’s the idea).

My taste has also dramatically changed: I read less young adult fiction because I feel like I’m — for lack of a better phrase — ‘growing out of it’. I’m currently on a non-fiction kick, especially reading lots about autism because I got my official diagnosis this year and want to get to know myself as best as I can. Fiction-wise, I haven’t really figured out what I’m into at the moment so I haven’t been reading much, but I’m hoping to add some more fiction to my 2018 reading list.

I have a weird relationship with book reviews as they sometimes disclose too much about the contents of the book. In most cases, all I need to know is if the book is ‘for me’. And that’s what I want to give you in this post — and upcoming posts in winter, spring, and summer. These will not in-depth reviews, just some thoughts on the book and whether I would recommend it.

Please let me know if you have read any of these books and what you thought about it! I’d love to discuss.

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Document Your Life: August 2017

In which I go to the Deventer Boekenmarkt (biggest book market of Europe), hang out with friends in Amsterdam, take my cat to the vet (don’t worry — he’s okay), and more.

The Oh Hellos – Hello My Old Heart (iTunes)

Autism Mental Health

My Eating Disorder

I have an eating disorder.

No, it’s not anorexia, or bulimia, or binge eating disorder. You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s called avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. ARFID for short. Also known as Selective Eating Disorder. It was first recognized in the DSM-5, the most recent edition, which came out in 2013.

ARFID makes me unwillingly restrict the types of food I can eat, based on the food’s appearance, smell, taste, texture, brand, presentation, or a past negative experience with that particular food. You could say I’m ‘a picky eater’. You could also think of it as a food phobia. It has nothing to do with body image and everything to do with anxiety and sensory sensitivity.

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Autism Mental Health Service Dog

Service Dog Update

A simplified version of this post was originally posted on Service Dog Nugget on November 12th, 2017.

As most of you know, I’ve been working on getting a service dog. Unfortunately my first attempt didn’t exactly go as I’d expected & hoped…

You may have already noticed a change: I stopped talking about training, I temporarily closed Nugget’s blog, and I included an emotional montage in my March + April + May 2017 Document Your Life video. I didn’t want to keep quiet, but I needed time to process things.

The Nugget you know from photos & videos has been rejected as a service dog and no longer belongs to me. Some dogs just aren’t fit to be service dogs. It was extremely difficult for me to let her go, but I’m finally at the point that I can live with it and focus on the future again.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten the diagnosis Autism Spectrum Disorder, which has luckily opened a lot of doors for me. I now have an autism coach who helps me with a lot of things I struggle with. I’m on a waiting list at an autism center for therapy.
Autism can’t be cured but there is a lot I can still learn, like learning to deal with sensory overload and meltdowns.

I started looking for a service dog organization specializing in autism service dogs, so I know for sure that they can take into account the difficulties of autism. I am now in contact with an organization to see if it’s possible to start working with them.

Your donations are safe & sound on Nugget’s bank account and will be spent only on the purpose you donated for: a dog and my mental health.

Thank you,