Meribee Me Subscription Box Review- A Monthly Gift Box For those with Chronic Conditions

Disclaimer – The items were gifted

Two weeks ago I had endometriosis laparoscopy excision surgery (I know, what a mouthful!). So it was perfect timing to receive the Meribee Me Subscription Box which is designed to cheer up people with chronic conditions.

In an interesting turn, it arrived the day of my birthday, coincidence? I think not! 😉 So when I opened it I filmed the unboxing and posted it on my Instagram feed.

So What Was in the Box?

Sleeping Mask RRP £10 – such a cute sleeping mask it was in the shape of a llama. Lovely and furry on the outside and silky on the inside (sensory win!). 

Chocolate Bar RRP £1 (estimated) – Dark chocolate (my favourite) with hazelnuts and very tasty!

Little Clock RRP £3.50 – Now as a person with ADHD having extra clocks is always a good thing but as a person with Aspergers I can’t cope with ticking clocks because I can’t filter the noise out, I prefer digital only in my house. Saying this, it is a charming little clock and I’m sure I can find a non-autistic friend who will enjoy it.

Travel Mug RRP £9 – The caption on this is perfect for my personality and actually when I previewed the box this was the item I was looking forward to receiving the most. 

Coffee pin RRP £7.99 (estimated) – Every month the pin is different this month it was in the shape of a coffee mug and said Fulled By Coffee. Very charming!

Monthly Activity Set – DIY Coasters RRP £12.99 – When you have no choice but to lye in bed and watch tv while getting my strength back, it’s useful to have something to keep my mind busy. These very charming woodlands creature themed coasters are a great activity to take your mind off the pain. This was one of my favourite ideas for the box and I’m hoping one month might be a colouring set. It also came with very easy to follow instructions.

Cat Shaped Nail File RRP £1 – Very handy for on the go and extra cute that it’s in the shape of a cat.

Sheep Socks RRP £3.50 – Adorable sheep socks for days your feeling a bit funky. Kept my feet warm in bed. 

How Much Is The Box?

Price £24-264 depending on the plan you choose. You can pay month to month, 3 months, 6 months or 12 months in advance.

Overall Review

Charming little box with products that are great value for money. The lama mask and the coffee mug suited my personality so well, so they were my favourites. I like the idea of a different pin every month. I can’t wait to see what she puts in the box next month.

I like having sneak teasers about what is upcoming in the next box but I love the element of surprise, so if you guys agree, comment below and let Meribee Me know. As this was her first box, to get the crowd interested I believe this is why she shared a preview of all the items in the box. 

Go to Meribee website to subscribe and find out more. Use my code SPOONFUL to get a free gift with your second box when you sign up to the 3 months or more packages. 

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20 Ignorant Things People Say When You Tell Them You’re on the Autistic Spectrum

All these are real examples from adults on the Autistic Spectrum – mainly Aspergers Syndrome. Also, I have inserted my own humour/sarcasm after the quotes. I’m pointing this out because sometimes ASD people don’t pick up on this. We aren’t good at recognising tones of voices. 

Today is World Autism Awareness Day and with that in mind, I thought it was time for another autistic themed blog post.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be a confusing condition to understand and as it’s a hidden condition, it’s not something you can immediately see on a person. This makes it regularly misunderstood. Most people have heard of autism and already have their own idea of what it is from their encounters with autistic people. What they don’t understand is it as spectrum and it affects all of us differently. 

That being said nothing makes us want to pull our hair out more than the responses we get to it. So sit back, laugh and groan at all these relatable reactions we get when we have told someone that we are on the Autistic Spectrum.

“You seem normal to me.” – What is normal? And how did I qualify? I never took the normal person test.

“But you’re so pretty!” – What so you have to be ugly to have autism?! Autism has nothing to do with appearances!

“My daughter has mild autism.” – There is no mild autism…you either have it or you don’t.

“Oh that explains it.” – Groan.

You don’t look autistic.”  – This classic remark again…now tell me what does an autistic person look like?!

“You can’t have aspergers because you a ‘insert job title here.’” – Yes autistic people can hold down good jobs. Surprise, surprise!

“Ahhh…that makes sense.” – What? Did my blue scaly skin tip you off? No so what was it?

“You’ve always been a bit strange.” – And you’ve always been an asshole but what’s new?

“Everyone’s a bit autistic.” – Don’t minimize my condition please.

“Does that mean you’re a retard?” – No that kind of slur is outdated and offensive, so just no.

“I don’t think you are.” – Are you a psychologist? No!

“But you can talk and do not flap your arms and spin around!” – A can also swear…want to see?

“You can’t be autistic, my child is autistic and you are nothing like him.” – That’s why it’s called a spectrum!!

“Are you sure?” – YES I AM so is my well-trained, expensive psychologist who diagnosed me!

“Oh, so you must be high functioning.” – Well, technically aspergers has also been called high functioning autism but believe us we aren’t functioning.  We are just about functioning. 

“So are you smart like these famous people with autism” – I don’t know but I’m not about to do your taxes for you.

“That explains a lot.” – Explains what??? Now I’m paranoid!

“How did you go to college?” – The same way as you….I applied and got in.

“Are you just saying that to make me feel better?” – Yes, I got diagnosed just for the sake of this conversation…

“So are you like Rain Man?” – Yes he’s my cousin… No..not really.

Now for some harmless things people say:

“That must have been a shock.”

“I didn’t notice.”

“We figured.”

“I would never have known.”

And Finally A Relateable Video on This Topic by Autistamatic

Can you relate? Have you heard something that isn’t on the list? Let me know in the comments.

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Disclaimer: The people in the photos are models from a stock image.

Angry face: Andre Hunter 

People photo: Eliott Reyna

#AbledsAreWeird: People with Disabilities ​Who Share Frustrating ​and Weird Experiences

What Is An Abled?

Abled is an able-bodied person who isn’t disabled.

What Is The Hashtag #AbledsAreWeird About?

It’s a topic started on Twitter to point out the things people who aren’t disabled do to disabled people without realising how weird, intrusive or offensive they are being.

Who Started This Hashtag?

The hashtag was started by Imani Barbarin, also known as Twitter user Crutches&Spice. She started the hashtag, she told Aj Plus, “Because I was reflecting on some of the weird experiences that I’ve had as a disabled person. I just remember feeling off put by some of the behaviour able-bodied people had towards me.” “There’s a lot of disrespect of disabled people’s autonomy under the guise of ‘oh, I’m just trying to help’ And it allows people to believe that disabled people cant consent to what they want for their bodies.”

“You should be respecting disabled people’s bodies. You should be respecting their voices and you should be making yourself ally rather than a hindrance to disabled people’s lives.”

Other Twitter Users Joined In With The Hashtag:

Finally, I contributed to the hashtag as well:

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Disabled parking photo by disabilities

Instagram’s Controversial Censorship of Mental Health Hashtags

Trigger warning: discussion of self-harm

The following popular hashtags have recently been censored: Mentalhealth, selfharm, depression, suicide, anxiety, eatingdisorder, anorexia, anxorexiarecovery, bulimia, ocd, bpd, depressionmemes, mentalhealthmemes, suicideawareness, and possibly others that I haven’t come across.

The risks of using these hashtags are: you will see not as much engagement with your post, as your potential followers aren’t finding you via hashtags. The other risk is a temporary Shadowban, so proceed with caution. 

Instagram will not show you recent posts with these forbidden hashtags. They will only show you a short page of the trending results for that hashtag after showing a warning notice first (which I show an example of later in this post).

Why Has Instagram Censored These Hashtags?

It is believed that some people are promoting distressing images or people seeing them get triggered to feel worst.  In the case of an eating disorder and self-harm it is thought that there are posts on Instagram encouraging people to do it.  They are concerned about the impressionable younger generation who use Instagram a lot. 

While I understand why this has happened, to me as a mental health blogger and advocate, I am now unable to reach more potential new followers. Not just myself, but also charities that help mental health are affected also. As well as this, I have seen a lot of mental health bloggers who are upset about the ban, mainly with #mentalhealth being caught up in this. 

I Carried Out Some Research

For the sake of research I looked into the self-harm hashtag and the results were mixed. The images were quite graphic, with scars all over people’s arms and one drawing of blood dripping down an arm with an inspirational saying encouraging people not to self-harm. There was a picture of an arm with scars all over it, but next to it were the words ‘3 months clean’, meaning the person had gone 3 months without self-harming. The comments were all supportive. There are photos of before and after tattoos, where the before picture is an arm with healed scars all over it and the next photo is the new tattoo that covers it.

 I also saw an upsetting photo of an arm with the words ‘I Hate Myself’ cut into it. Another photo was of scissors and a knife with the words ‘when these become your best friends when everyone else left you alone’. So as you can see there is a valid reason for trying to censor the results for this hashtag, especially with vulnerable teenagers who regularly use Instagram.

What Support Is Instagram Offering?

If you search or click the hashtags you will now be redirected to a window that asks if Instagram can help. It offers support through 3 different ways. 

If you press ‘get support’ you will see this screen:

  1. Talk to a friend

2. Talk to a helpline volunteer

As I’m in the UK and seeing UK based charities, I presume if you are in another country you will see charities to contact in your own area.

3. Tips and support to help yourself

As you can see, Instagram is making positive steps to help those who might be feeling down.

Finally, If You Are Looking for Examples of Hashtags That Aren’t Banned:

Example list for Eating Disorder hashtags that are allowed. They feature people recovering from the condition, recipes and positive selfies: edrecovery, eatingdisorderrecovery , edwarrior , edfighter

Examples list for mental health that are allowed: Mentalhealthawarness, mentalhealthmatters, depressionhelp, mentalillnessawareness, mentalhealthasvocate, anxietysucks, endthestigma, mentalhealthsupport, mentalhealthrecovery, ocdawareness, thereforyou, youmatter, postivementalhealth, anxietyattacks, mentalhealthisreal, mentalhealthcommunity.

What do you think of Instagram censoring hashtags? Let me know in the comments.

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Phone photo by Freestocks

Instagram icon design by Freepik.com

Anticipation Anxiety – Negative and Racing Thoughts Before an Event and Tips to Help

The more time we have before the event the more scenarios we can imagine. These events can be anything from a job interview to a first date. Maybe it’s the travelling before the holiday or social arrangement you made weeks ago.  It could be a concert you booked a while back or family wedding you have to attend or maybe it’s an impending exam.  Maybe it’s as small as someone you know has asked to go out for drinks. Lots of events can trigger this anticipation anxiety.

My Experience:

When I was younger, in school, I used to commit to performing main roles in plays. I loved the adrenaline and I was good at it. Now I’m too scared to commit to anything like that in advance. I now know the suffering and pain of having anxious racing thoughts when saying yes to an event.

I personally have a hard time planning for future events. Because of having a chronic illness (endometriosis) and suffering from anxiety, it’s hard to know in advance if my body will be up to dealing with the committed event. Over the years I am getting better and I’ve been using CBT therapy tried to commit to more things to conquer this. But usually, I plan my social arrangements a few days before or on the day. This can lead me to feel like I’m missing out and it’s something I’m trying to work on.

Catastrophising 

What are some of my thoughts when someone asks me to commit?

I start thinking of the worst-case scenarios and catastrophise:

  • What if it’s really awkward?
  • What happens if I feel ill and want to leave? Do I have to stay? Will they think I’m rude for needing to leave?
  • What if I want to cancel will they think I’m flaky and get annoyed?
  • What happens if I think I’m ill but really it’s just nerves?
  • What if I think it’s just nerves but I end up getting really ill so far away from my house? How will I get home? Will the journey back feel like hell?
  • What happens if I get overwhelmed, where will I go?
  • Remember that time that awful thing happened, what if it happens again?
  • Remember that time you were sitting around in a group of people but you didn’t feel like you were present or knew what to say?
  • Remember that feeling like you were on the outside looking in?

What Usually Happens Next for Me

All these thoughts run through my head without even being aware that I go through the same process each time and 9 out 10 times the outing goes ok. This is when someone I confided in will usually tell me to “Stop worrying! You’ve done it before. You’re usually ok” which isn’t entirely true, nor do I find this kind of dismissive reaction helpful. The more helpful people around me remind me I have good coping methods and I’m stronger than I give myself credit for, they also remind me I’m only human and human’s get ill so of course I can cancel. 

One of the only ways I cope with committing is it’s easier if the person is a close friend and knows about my anxiety and chronic illness, I feel better falling ill around them or I don’t feel they will end our friendship if I have to cancel. 

Anxiety Symptoms

Thoughts can go round and round your head and it uses up a lot of effort to silence them.  You might feel tightness in your chest and shortness of breath when you think about it. You may even start to sweat with worry. You could be up at night stressing about it.  Your heart might race. You could have trouble concentrating in school or at work.  These are all symptoms of anxiety. And it’s ok, not everyone can recognise when this is happening or have in place a healthy coping method to fix it.

How Can You Reduce Your Anxiety?

  • Talk to someone who you trust, talk over what you are worried is going to happen and how you feel. They should reassure you.
  • If you don’t have anyone you feel you can trust to talk to: ring a helpline like The Samaritans, join a Facebook support group for anxiety or if you’re in therapy bring this up. 
  • Remember that you are stronger than you think and you will get through it
  • Remember about all the times it went right or even something amazing happened.  
  • Distract yourself – spend time with someone you get on with like friends or family. Offer to help someone else because doing something for someone else will give you something good to focus on and you’ll feel needed.
  • Self Care- run a relaxing bath, watch a feel-good film, go for a walk, practise yoga.
  • Exercise- all that pent up stress can be released through a good workout, it will give you endorphins which will make you feel better and also the feel-good high you get from accomplishing something good for you doesn’t hurt either.
  • Preparation – some preparation can make you feel better but you must be mindful to not get obsessive and overplan. But the right amount of planning can be helpful. So take your in-case-of-emergency-kit. If I was going on a long trip my kit would include: a charged tablet, good downloaded films, magazines, music playlist, podcasts. I would also take with me some chocolate as a treat to make myself feel good. As well as this I take my travel mug with my favourite herbal tea in it. All these positive associations can work wonders and you often look forward instead to having time to listen to a good podcast or watch a film. Another way to plan is to choose safe topics to talk about at social events, this helps with awkward silences or changing the subject when discussing a topic you don’t like.
  • Write it down- Sometimes just putting pen to paper can help you work out how you really feel. I’ve often journaled when I’m anxious and managed to process the worry in a healthy way. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

I hope this post has helped reduce some of your worries. Let me know in the comments what events make you sick with worry. 

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Planner photo by Eric Rothermel

Many clocks photo by Jon Tyson