A Journey For Mind: A Challenge Complete.

On the 17th of June I began an optimistic journey. I’d set myself a challenge to walk one and a half million steps in ninety days for a charity close to my heart – Mind. I’d been used to walking, often setting upon long hikes to spend time in nature, but this was different. To do my once-a-week hike almost every day for ninety days was quite the challenge I had set myself… and after my first week of doing it, I was feeling it.

There’s a mental barrier we have to break through when setting upon any physical challenge. The body can only comfortably do what it’s used to, but pushing through this barrier is how we improve endurance and strength. It takes willpower to push through, and that I have in abundance. I remember likening this barrier to how I was feeling while recovering from PTSD. There was a barrier there that took me a while to break through.

“I can’t do this.”

“There’s no hope”  

“If I feel like I can’t do it, I should give up, right?”

Thoughts the majority of us have had while doing something challenging. The mind leans to the negative, often to protect us from the feeling of failure. Quit while you’re ahead – I believe the saying is. But what happens when you ignore these thoughts? What happens when you realise that you are capable? Greatness truly is on the other side of that barrier – it’s in the challenge and in those things that we’re afraid to do.

I broke through that barrier the same way that I did with PTSD – I focused and charged at it headfirst. I leant into the pain and pushed myself further. These things are easy to do when the cause is great enough. I had to recover from my mental illness, because it got to a point where there was no other option. I had to do it for those that loved me. As such, that’s how I carried on walking. The cause was greater than the strain on my body, which I would only endure and become stronger. The money I would raise would help those that once felt like me, and that was a cause greater than any.

I got off to a strong start with one of my favourite walks, Greenham Common. The bunker scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was actually filmed there, Millennium Falcon and everything!

Day two, I met a knight, just on his morning stroll in chainmail armour. Of course, I had to spark up a conversion and try on his gauntlet.

I spent much time at the local castle ruins and writing poetry while wandering the forests. 

I saw many a sunset on evening walks, releasing how serene and beautiful this world truly is.

And to finish my epic journey, I completed the challenge on the cliffs of Cornwall, while also visiting Tintagel castle, the birthplace of King Arthur.

My final result of the challenge-

Total steps walked: 1,501,172 / 1,500,000.

Total raised for Mind: £282 / my target of £200.

And that concludes my journey for Mind, and it certainly was a journey. I’m proud of myself for what I achieved. I know the money that I raised will go toward helping people that are struggling in the way I once did, and for that, I am grateful. Mind also helped me in a time that I was in need of guidance. If it wasn’t for them, I may have never got the help that I needed to recover. It’s in those moments that we’re at our lowest that we need someone to reach out to. It’s in those moments that sometimes it’s difficult to talk to those we know, and so we don’t receive the support we need – that’s why organisations like Mind are so important. They provide that first step to recovery and raise awareness to make these services more accessible.

For more information on Mind, check out their website: https://www.mind.org.uk

And you can see more about the challenge here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mychaoticmind

Book Review: The Missed Kiss by Nicola Lowe.

Honestly, this is not my usual genre to read, but I was pleasantly surprised by how this book gripped me. The Missed Kiss is a beautiful tale of love and friendship, full of twists and turns that will keep you reading until the end. The characters are superbly crafted, lovable and relatable.

I quickly found myself immersed in this world that Nicola created, with the pacing of the story and the character development being perfect.   

The Missed Kiss is a well written and fun read, that will leave you wanting more. If you’re after a rollercoaster of emotion, grab this book – it won’t disappoint.

(Side note – if you’re a guy thinking about giving this a read, you should certainly give it a try. As I said, romance isn’t my usual genre, but this was so well written that I couldn’t stop reading.)

Conclusion- You can feel the love and emotion that went into this book’s creation. It’s sweet, with a modern edge. Truly a brilliant and beautiful debut novel.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buy here!

Walking for Mind – Update 1.

Walking for @mind –

Day 14 of 90.

I have managed to walk a total 250,954 steps in 14 days… Two weeks into the challenge, and I’m still going strong.
I’m so close to hitting my sponsor target already, which is incredible to me. Huge thank you to everyone that’s donated, thus far. All money goes directly to Mind, and is probably helping somebody right now.

Lee Vockins is fundraising for Mind (justgiving.com)

Why I’m supporting Mind – “We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect,” is their mission statement. I don’t think there’s much more that needs to be said. The majority of us, throughout our lives, will experience a problem with mental health, whether it’s directly or through a loved one. It’s unfortunately part of being human, and that’s an important thing to remember.

There’s still a huge amount of stigma and ignorance surrounding the subject. This toxic positivity and “smile and carry on” attitude is harming generations. It’s stopping people get the help and support they need.

We need to raise as much awareness as possible, and let those people know that there’s hope. There’s help out there. They need to know that they won’t be judged or let down, because speaking from experience, that’s a very real fear. Mind could be that first step to someone’s recovery – that’s why I’m supporting them.


Total steps walked: 250,954 / 1,500,000

Money raised: £162 (+£20 to add) out of a goal of £200.  

Walking For Mind.

So I’m about to take on this challenge. Most of you over here know about my struggles with mental illness and my recovery. I actually started my blog because of it. It’s been a journey, but I’m here, and I’m well.

Mind were the catalyst of my recovery, so what I am about to set out to do, is a cause that’s close to my heart.

I hope you’ll follow me on this journey and my progress, whether you can sponsor or not. I’ll appreciate any support and encouragement.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate contact me. 😊

Lee Vockins is fundraising for Mind (justgiving.com)

Thank you.

5 Things that You May Not Know About Me.

I’ve been here for a while now. There’s a fair few of you following my ramblings, so for that, I want to say a big thank you. When I began my journey here, I wasn’t sure how long it would last, but then I guess I didn’t have much confidence in my ability. You have all given me the confidence I need to write and ramble here.

That brings me to the point of today’s post. I like to be open here, and for you all to know who I am. I like to think that perhaps you’ll find something useful, or something to gain inspiration or motivation from. So, here are 5 things that you may not know about me:

  • Probably one of the main reasons that I started this blog was for a distraction. I used to struggle with my mind to a point of being unable to cope. This was mostly due to ten years of PTSD. I blogged my recovery progress, although compared to my writing ability today, it’s not very well written. This became a place for me to vent and grow comfortable with sharing my struggles. I have to say, it absolutely worked. I am free of all those things that stopped me from being me.
  • Adding to my struggles with mental health, I have OCD. It’s easy to manage these days, but one thing you may have noticed in my fiction is a theme of “four”. Four is the number of times that I compulsively check something. Locking doors and checking doorhandles is the worst. My mind doesn’t seem to believe something is done, until it’s checked four times. This can obviously make writing a long process… and somehow, those spelling mistakes still creep through.
  • I’m vegan. This is a fairly new journey for me, but I thought I’d add it here, for people that purely follow my blog. I became vegan around six months ago, mainly because of personal beliefs, but am also amazed at how different I am feeling physically and mentally. I also love cooking, so that added challenge of making my favourite meals vegan has been an enjoyable process. I’ve also developed a better eating routine and a meal plan that free’s up a load of my time. It’s really been a huge and positive change for me. My weight stays optimal. I have loads of energy. I can think clearly. I’m calmer, and as a result, I can handle anxiety more easily. Good nutrition is a powerful thing.  
  • Whilst growing up, I had always wanted to be a guitarist in a band (I had long black hair and everything). I got my first guitar when I was sixteen, and have played on and off ever since. I can play to a decent level. My idol was Matt Heafy from Trivium, and the first song I learned to play was Like Light to the Flies. I also wrote songs and lyrics. This is probably where my creativity started, and it was another distraction for my mental health issues. Playing guitar, especially an electric, is a great release for anger and frustration, and teaches focus. I even got a letter published in Total Guitar magazine, during my teens. That was certainly a highlight of my angsty youth.
  •  I had learning difficulties when I was young. I was very slow to read and developed my writing ability later in life than most. I had never been diagnosed with dyslexia, but I needed a lot of extra help. Even at thirteen, I was yet to read a book. I remember it being frustrating times, and of course, I was singled out because of it. Believe it or not, but breaking out of the struggle all came down to teaching myself. The first book I read was Troy by Adele Geras, then I went on to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R Tolkein. I skipped school to read these, and went to the library instead… I was also quite a rebellious and stubborn teen, but it worked out for me… and trust me, I haven’t changed much.

Hope you found this post somewhat interesting. It’s still crazy to me that people follow my work and read my craziness. I love and appreciate you all.

(Also, if you haven’t had a look at my other project site yet, it’s right here: http://www.redefined-media.com.)

The Power in Being Single.

This is a very different type of post from me, I know, but one that I feel is important for me to write. This is my first Valentines day being single in a very long time. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, even though I haven’t been in a steady relationship for a while now.

In a word, I’m happy. I have been happy for a while now. There are benefits to a single life that I hadn’t foreseen. I feel that I have more freedom. I can do things in own time. I don’t have to worry or put certain pressures on myself. I can enjoy being alone without feeling guilty. I can enjoy long walks without worrying about limitations or write for hours without interruptions. There’s a lot of power in being alone, and learning to be happy with being alone. There’s a strength in not needing anyone around you.   

I’ve always felt trapped. I guess it can be argued that it was the relationships I was in, perhaps? Was it the result of becoming stagnant or complacent? I easily get restless. I’m agitated when I get too close. I’m prone to self-sabotage, especially when something feels too good to be real. I guess it can be said that I haven’t found the right one, but then what does that mean? What would the significance be when I am already happy with what I have?  

I was afraid of being alone at first, and I think it is that same fear that keeps so many people bound in toxic relationships. That’s probably why I’m writing this, just in case anyone needs to hear it. There’s a happy ending here. There’s no shame in that fear, we’re social creatures after all. We need people and contact and love, but trust me when I say that sometimes, from some of the people in our lives, it’s not worth it. Some people hold you back. Some people can put you down, without you realising. Some people aren’t worth your time or energy or love.

My most prominent realisation from being single; there are now fewer people in my life that I need to concern myself with. The result is having more energy and love for my passions. I have more energy and love for those people around me, my family and friends, and I can put my all into my goals. And I don’t have to worry if the other person in my life doesn’t agree with something that I want to do, or dislikes the people that I want to spend time with. It’s not that I have ever felt controlled – I haven’t. I have just forgone that extra cognition of “is this okay?”.

And now, with this new strength, I am content with whatever the future will bring. I am not afraid of being alone, so I will not seek for that one person. I already have that one love in my life, and that person is me. If someone would one day stumble upon me, then I will take my time to know their soul… because that is all that truly matters. I know my soul now, and it craves for nothing other than happiness. I have learned that I can be content in my existence and I can be happy in being perfectly imperfect. I have learned the power in being single.      

2021 Goal Setting.

Last year was shit, right? It was crazy and unpredictable. It was chaotic and stressful. It was the kind of year that I want to forget… mostly. You see, it wasn’t just the events of 2020 that I need to learn from, it was the mistakes I made when I got caught up in the chaos. And I did learn a lot. The lockdown gave me time to stop and think. It gave me time to reflect and learn about myself.  

I’d like to say that I spent last year writing and planning, but unfortunately, I didn’t. It took me a while to figure out what I was doing, and eventually, through all the chaos, I did. Perhaps 2021 won’t be much different, but it will be for me. I have a new perspective that I cannot be shaken from. This isn’t a “new year, new me” post, because it’s taken more than a brief time of reflection to get to this state of mind… this has been about 10 years in the making.

They say not to reveal what you’re working until it’s done, as outside energy can influence progress. I say that it’s outside energy that allows me to work hard at everything I do. So, I want to tell you a bit about what I’m doing this year, what I’m hoping to achieve, and how you can join me.

What I’m doing this year.

Importantly, I’m still writing– I still write a lot. Although I have begun to write in a wider range of formats, like reviews and articles, I’m still writing creatively. I have been working on three projects that I am really excited about, one of which will be released this year (see below). I am still working on The Hunter rewrite, but it has evolved into something bigger than I first anticipated and I need it to be perfect before it is released. You’ll also notice that I have removed all of my short stories from here; this is because I am working on editing them all up to my current level of ability and will be releasing them in the form of a collection.

A Saga from Within: Beneath the Ice, Beyond Us– I’ve been playing around with ideas for this for what seems like forever, but have finally cracked where I wanted to take it. This is a fiction piece that will be released as a novella. Although fiction, it’s a story that has come from somewhere within me that needed to be expressed. Here’s a sneak peek:

“The end of them arrived in snow,

blankets of cold white covering sheets of ice.

An infinite aurora encapsulated in glittering void.

Green and blue, black and the purest of white, this place is beautiful,

but it is a beauty that will remain so long after they have gone.

  Feeble, they are, but knowing.

Knowing, but unseeing, blind of their truth.

Gods of energy, weak, in tombs of flesh, hungry only for earthly gain.

I see a light in them, but it fades.

It fades beneath belief and ego,

it wavers in the face of the constructed.”

I’m studying to be a life coach– I feel like I have a responsibility to pass on what I have learned through my journey of mental health recovery, and so life coaching feels like the right path for me to take. I’ve gained a substantial amount of knowledge in the past 10 years or so, in the fields of psychology and philosophy. I’ve taken up spiritual practices and used other holistic methods. I have struggled, but I have conquered, and it was thanks to a combination of all of these elements. I want to pass all of this on to others that may be struggling. I believe that I can help others find their purpose, the way that I have, and help them conquer anything that may be preventing them from reaching their potential. I need a reason for going through what I did, and I think that I have found it. I finish my studies this year and will be setting up my practice in the near future.

Within: The Four Sides of Us– I’m working on a self-help book, that incorporates everything that I have learned from my own experience, education, and routine of self-care. My recovery was aided through a combination of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality, and so this book will combine those into an approachable practice. I personally believe that there is a connection between the subjects. My thesis is that there are four sides of our psyche that we should harness, or be aware of, and within that is an ultimate answer to finding balance, happiness and potential. As you can probably guess, my heart and soul are going into this book. I’m hoping to release this book as I set up my life coaching practice.

Further studying– And I’m not stopping there! I plan on furthering my studies by taking a course in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), the same therapy that began my recovery and helped me greatly. After this, with my practice set up, I will carry on studying in different fields of psychology. I will forever be in pursuit of the knowledge I need to help others, and I’m looking forward to the challenge it will provide. This is a subject close to my heart. A purpose that I will dedicate myself to.  

ReDefined Media– I’m joining forces with two fellow writers to release a new website! ReDefined Media will cover a diverse range of topics, from news and reviews, to the supernatural and fiction. Our aim is to create a place where writers can contribute, using their own voice, without the need to pander to rules and mainstream views. It will be a place for real expression, opinion, and creativity. We have so many ideas with this! There will be monthly competitions, podcasts, live streams, and charity events. Keep an eye out for a post on this soon; ReDefined Media is incoming.

( Actually, at the time of posting this, ReDefined Media is live! It’s something that I’m still working on, but if you’d like to check it out and show me some love over there, please do… http://www.redefined-media.com . )

And I think that just about does it. These are my goals for 2021, and with everything I am, I will achieve them. I haven’t felt this focused or determined in a long time. I feel like I have a direction now, and a means to achieve everything that I need to. I’ve wanted to follow a path that leads to helping people, and with this, I feel like I can. It’s been a while since I have felt this confident in what I am doing, and it’s thanks to the support that I receive from everyone that surrounds me. I can feel in my soul that 2021 is going to be the start of something great… I hope you’ll follow me in this journey, just like so many of you have so far. I’m here for you, the same way that you have been here for me.

Want updates on everything mentioned here? Follow me on:




My Top 5 Books of 2020.

2020 was certainly a year in which books were a huge part of my life, with that want for escape and learning being needed more than ever. With that said, here are the top 5 five books that helped me survive the odd year that was 2020.

Diversion to Urasha by Laura Hopgood.

Diversion to Urasha was the perfect escape into a captivating world of Sci-Fi adventure. I become lost in the beautifully crafted story last summer, and look forward to reading more this year.

“I recommend Laura’s work to anyone that wishes for an easy read and a quick escape from reality. She is a talented individual, that writes with emotion and heart.”

Hope Quest (Book 1): Blackbird by Melanie Ever Moore.

Another amazing escape, but this time into something much darker. This is another series that I look forward to returning to this year. 

“Hope Quest: Blackbird is stylish, darkly-elegant and beautifully delivered.”

Happy by Derren Brown.

I found this book at a difficult time last year. It helped me change my mind set completely, and put me on the path that I am now. Through it, I found my interest in philosophy. Books are powerful things…

“This book will have you questioning much about your life, but then if you picked it up for the reason I did, you have probably already begun questioning. It is through questioning ourselves about our situation and choice that we can make change, and this book is a perfect stepping stone to that longer journey of discovery.”

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.

…and this book fortified that interest in philosophy. Stoicism is not just an interesting philosophy, but a powerful state of mind that is applicable to everyday life. I am returning to The Daily Stoic this year, as well as picking up some more Ryan Holiday to read.

“If you heed its teachings, I believe that it has the potential to change the way you think about life and its challenges. It could make you stern and resolute in the face of any situation. It will help you find serenity and peace of mind in the chaos of this modern world. I will be re-reading this for years to come and will continue to use it for references and my morning meditations.”

Quiet by Susan Cain.

Wow. Just wow. This book empowered me to a whole other level. I’d always struggled with my difference, but Quiet brilliantly highlighted the strengths in those differences.

“Quiet is an incredible book. It was called the most important book published in a decade, and I completely agree. I say this book left me speechless, and it did at first, but after absorbing so much information, I find myself with a lot to say on the subject. Quiet is a book that spoke to me on many levels, and is a book that should be read by most.”

All of these books were worthy of a 5/5 rating from me. You should go check them out!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Review: Quiet by Susan Cain.

“It was called the most important book published in a decade, and I completely agree.”

I have always questioned why I felt different to the majority, until recently. I was always quiet. Thoughtful. I preferred the company of books to that of people, so my school life was rather difficult. For this reason, Quiet by Susan Cain resonated with me in a way that left me speechless. I don’t think I ever quite fathomed the amount of research that had gone into the world of introversion and extroversion. I always thought I was odd, and was often made to feel that way, but it turns out that I was just one among many.

Quiet explores the strengths of the introverted among us. Susan Cain delves into the subject, and without fear, questions how change can be made to schools and workplaces to cultivate those strengths. You see, we live in a world that has adapted to the extrovert. In school, we’re taught to work in groups and speak among crowds. At work, we’re expected to be able to make presentations and enjoy team building activities. In our personal lives, we’re expected to attend every social event we’re invited to or be in a perfectly adapted relationship. These are all extroverted ideals that have been popularised by those that speak the loudest, without thought for those that need the quiet.   

Cain’s research in this book is deep. From interviews with academics and professors, to personal views and experience, Cain has incorporated a vast amount of knowledge into Quiet. One of my favourite chapters was about the research done with how we grow to be introverted (or extroverted), and how it can be predicted from a very young age. It brings into question the nature versus nurture discussion. Is it biology or experience? Turns out, studies have shown, it’s a combination of both, but we can predict the probability of either. High-reactive children are more likely to be introverted, and low-reactive are more likely to be extroverted.

About the writing style; Cain’s ability is flawless as she switches between fact driven article and personal perspective. Despite it bearing a considerably heavy subject, Quiet is both easy to read and understand, and is thoroughly entertaining. I like how open Cain is about herself and her own experience. This adds much to the overall charm of the book. Cain is clear about her mission and what she wants to achieve through her research. She is a voice of reason among those that may not be willing to speak up.

And I know that many of you reading this can probably relate to Cain, and myself, so here are some strengths that you should consider, if you too are Quiet:

  • We may not speak as much, but we listen intently. This makes us great empaths and absorbers of spoken knowledge.
  • We read a lot. From this, we learn at an increased rate and have a greater ability for imagination.
  • From art, reading and writing, we have a learned focus, that we can apply to other elements of our lives.
  • We think a lot and have a greater ability to analyse and apply logic.
  • We are generally more creative.
  • We find joy from simpler things.
  • We’re not afraid to be alone.
  • When we do speak up, it’s for a reason, and we are listened to more intently.

These are just a few to consider and are inspired by the works of Cain and her research. Learn to lean into your strengths, and not fight against them. Realise your weaknesses, but don’t let them hold you back. This is something that I learned a few years ago and will never look back to who I was. In all my quietness, I have learned that I am a strong leader. I push myself because I am passionate about people and life. If you’re introverted, just be yourself. Find your passion and everything else will fall into place. If you’re extroverted, then remember that some of us just enjoy the quiet.

Quiet is an incredible book. It was called the most important book published in a decade, and I completely agree. I say this book left me speechless, and it did at first, but after absorbing so much information, I find myself with a lot to say on the subject. Quiet is a book that spoke to me on many levels, and is a book that should be read by most. Of course, without hesitation, I give Quiet 5/5.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buy here!

(Also published on http://www.redefined-media.com.)