My 5 Meditations for 2021.

“Beauty in simplicity.”

I’m back!

I know it’s been an odd start to the year for many. We’re locked down again and the world outside is seemingly going crazy, but regardless, I wish you a happy new year.

This is still a time for me to set goals and envision exactly where and what I want to be.

To do this, I set my meditations. These are what I focus my mind on for the year, in order to achieve the state of mind necessary to achieve my goals.

I know that many of you may be struggling right now, just remember that you are not alone. Reach out. Drop me a message if you ever want to chat.

Love to you all.

#HappyNewYear2021 #meditation #writer #author #goals #lifecoach #mentalhealth #stoicism #philosophy #stoic

Insanely Capable.

This is my interpretation of a Jordan Peterson quote, and I feel that is needed now, more so than ever. Many of us are struggling in this time of uncertainty and sudden imposed restriction of the pandemic. Importantly, it’s very normal that we are struggling. We are creatures of habit and routine, and when taken out of those habits and routines, we can feel lost, or even pressured to find some kind of meaning in it. 

My advice is simple; find what works for you. Don’t compare yourself to how anyone else is dealing with this situation. Feel like waking up and dancing? Turn that music up loud and dance. Feel like doing nothing? Do nothing with pride… and plenty of snacks.

Have to go to work? Make sure that your employer is doing everything within their power to keep you safe. Make full use of the interactions with your colleagues, and make sure that they are okay. Place whatever focus you can muster on the tasks at hand. 

Some of us may be dealing with this by being hyper productive. That’s great, just don’t burn yourself out. Take time to rest. And, importantly, don’t discourage others that may be dealing with this in a different way.

I have personally found a balance of all things mentioned here, because that works for me. (And no… I can’t dance very well…)

Whatever you are doing, just know that you are capable. Look to all of those past experiences of being capable, because I know that there are many. Write them down. Remember them. You are capable. You are not alone. We will get through this together.

Book Review: Diversion To Urasha by Laura Hopgood.

“Want some YA Sci-fi action that will keep you turning page after page, chapter after chapter, until you’ve realised that time has somehow disappeared? Then you should pick up this book, NOW.

Like a combination of Valerian and Avatar, with a sprinkle of Star Wars, Diversion to Urasha will take you on a wondrous journey, filled with adventure and peril. Meet a diverse group of well written personalities, as they travel through the mysterious landscapes of Urasha. As they move towards their goal of finding an all-powerful artefact, you will become captivated as the characters progress the story through self-discovery, strength and courage.

Laura Hopgood brings this story to life with her brilliant writing ability, immense imagination and entertaining style of narration. Diversion to Urasha is a thoroughly thought-out Sci-Fi adventure with an ending that will leave you immediately wanting to return for more!”


I wrote this review for an older edition of this book, and my opinion has remained much the same for this updated version. I think that the one thing that I didn’t pick up on before was the elements of fantasy that have been masterfully woven into this epic piece. It has dragon-like creatures and an alien race that, in hindsight, remind me of the Dark elves of my D&D days. With sword fights and powerful warriors and deadly monsters, this book truly has it all!  And, even more exciting, book 2 is now released, so I can carry on with this thoroughly enthralling journey. 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. I, once again, give Diversion to Urasha 5/5 stars.   

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buy here!

Book Review: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.

After reading Happy by Derren Brown, I was eager to learn more of the philosophy of Stoicism, in which he spoke so much about. After some research, I found The Daily Stoic to be the starting point of many a new Stoic. Within its pages are 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living, in the form of analysed quotes from great Stoics, such as Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius.


Although this book is written to be read one page per day (the pages are dated), I found myself reading three to five (or more) and meditating on each. I think I actually managed to finish it in two months! I will be returning to this book next year, to read a page a day, in aid of keeping my mind focused the wisdom of the Stoics.


I found this book to be a great way to start my day, with a coffee, silence, and a meditation to reflect upon. I feel that The Daily Stoic is a great introduction to this useful and thought-provoking philosophy. 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.


For its great and diverse selection of quotes, and well written analysis of each, I give this book 5/5, and would recommend it to anyone interested in philosophy or self-help literature.     

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buy here!

Of me and 2020.

So, I haven’t been here for a while. I hope you’re all okay and have endured the chaos of this year. It’s been challenging, hasn’t it?

I feel that this year has changed me… that’s a bold statement to make early in this piece, but let’s make that its focus. It was easy to change because I felt so lost. I was something easy to mould because my life and soul had lost its form. I think I became lost because I had lost sight of my purpose. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and see that goal and dream fade into the distance. But let’s look at this year in a different light. Let’s see through the darkness and see what it truly was.

The events of this year were time granted for myself to stop and reflect, to breathe and plan. I began to spiral at the beginning of this year… I was falling to a place so hollow and dark, cold and alone. I needed that pause of reality, to find who I was once again. I became lost in that chaos of me, but quickly found how to apply the pressures of my learning. I found love and lust, and quickly learned how to lose it. I discovered health and strength and wisdom. I found philosophy. I found purpose. I gained experience.

We are quick to dismiss the experiences that bring us down, aren’t we? I know I was. I spent years being low and self-hating. “I’ve wasted years of my life,” I told myself, repeatedly. It became a habit. A spiral. Then, I realised how much I had learned during those years. I realised how strong they made me. I realised how resilient I had become. I think I began to forget those things again before I was forced to pause and stop and look deep within myself. You see, experiences make us who we are. They are not moments to dwell upon, but ultimately to learn from. Know this. Remember it. In your darkest times, you will always find yourself. It’s inevitable… it can just take time.

But what has changed? What did I learn? How will I make sure that I am less likely to spiral?

I did find Philosophy.

After becoming thoroughly engrossed by the book Happy by Derren brown, I found within its contents something that called to me. This was a philosophy in the form of Stoicism. The Stoics focused on a life of virtue. Their teachings were that of wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance. They taught the mastery of the mind, and Amor Fati… the love and acceptance of fate. All of these elements spoke to me in a way that nothing has before, and it’s a philosophy of life that I have been falling into since going through therapy. I do wish to become more resilient to the chaos of life and learn to accept whatever falls to my path. The Stoics were masters of this. They believed in a focus of only that which is in our control; our mind and our actions. I am still learning, but I will learn. I will find my mastery.     

I became Vegan.

So, for the past two years, I have been mostly vegan. By that, I mean that only one meal a day (if that), wasn’t plant based. This was a diet that I followed in order to reach a higher fitness level and obtain a body that I was happy with. Then it occurred to me, that I may as well transition fully to a vegan diet. I’m not one to force views on anyone, and I never will, but I don’t agree with the way animals are treated for our benefit. I know that I can’t change the world by becoming vegan, but I would rather be part of the solution. Besides those views, I am finding it to be an exciting experience! I’m enjoying discovering new foods, new tastes, and new ways of cooking meals! I feel amazing, healthy and my conscience is a little less heavy. Most of all, I think, I feel that I have more control over what I am putting into my body.  

I found a new purpose and focus.

I am a writer, and I always will be… but this year has made me hungry for more. I want to make a difference. I want impact those around me. I want to be remembered (not that I’m going anywhere). I want to use everything that I have learned and experienced, the good and the bad, and turn it into something entirely positive. So, with that said, I am training to be a life coach and writing a self-help book. Along with this, I am studying introductory Philosophy and Psychology. It’s going to be a long and hard journey, I know, but I also know that it will be a rewarding one. I am hoping that, with my insight and learning, I will be able to help others out of their darkness, and aid in their discovery of purpose and meaning. I have always had a passion for people and connection… and this feels like a natural progression for myself. But do not fear, I have not stopped writing fiction! Fiction and poetry will be something that I will always write. It was my vent, and the light when everything seemed dark. You will still be getting more novels from me, they will just take slightly longer than anticipated, and I will always be posting here!    

And so, that’s me. I am a little different now… I can feel it. I feel it as I walk through crowds, with my head held high. I feel it before I sleep, with a mind that is content and at peace. I feel it when I awaken, energised and ready to face any challenge. I feel more me than I ever have, and I know that this is a new spiral… only this one isn’t a descent.

My chaotic mind- Self-care and 2020.

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I speak a lot about how well and motivated I am at the moment, but I don’t think I’ve ever truly broken down the facts of how I got to this vastly improved state of mind and general being. I will do that right here, and hope you find it useful, but first let me take you back to where I was. I’ve always struggled with my mental health, depression and anxiety being the longest remaining difficulties that I’ve had to endure. Then just over eleven years ago, an incident triggered PTSD and OCD within me. I was on and off a number of medications and therapies to help cope, but nothing really stuck… that was until two years ago. Something in me ignited, and I pushed to better myself and get help. It was then, and only then, that the therapy stuck with me and worked. I think we all have those moments though, eventually. Those moments where the universe tells us to get the fuck up and do something. Along with therapy, and enforced by therapy, I took it upon myself to make improvements to my everyday life. These made a significant difference and got me to where I am today. Here is what I practised and dedicated myself to, in order to improve;

Exercise– I cannot stress how important exercise is to your state of mind. I think it’s a common misconception that the physical cannot help the mental, but from experience, I can confirm that it can. The body is a thing that needs to be trained and exercised just as much as the mind. I began training my body with a simple set of weights (that I picked up cheaply) and have used them for about six years. This was alongside a routine set of exercises (sit ups, press-ups, air boxing) and walking everywhere possible. Getting enough exercise is easy, and the costs some people relate to it are just an excuse. You need to push yourself sometimes, but it’s worth it. Do what you can. I have never been at the fitness level I’m at now, and it feels amazing.

Be around nature– Nature has always helped me in a way that I struggle to explain. I am always drawn to it when I feel lost or unhappy. It’s the air. The beauty. The colour. The life. The mystery. The absolute magic of this world, or the closest to it we will ever perceive. Maybe a part of it is the way that humanity has come to live. We aren’t supposed to be surrounded by all of this concrete and material possession. We are just creatures, after all. We are supposed to be around nature, and that is why it calls to us sometimes. Take a walk among the trees. Stare deeply into the ocean. Look up to the stars. This world is incredible and full of inspiration, you just need to start seeing it.

Meditation– Meditation was key to my recovery. It allowed me to search deep within myself and discover the issues with my thought processes. It allowed me to come to terms with the negative and enforce the positive. It gave me direction. Many people think that meditation is just about clearing the mind, but an empty mind is the result of practiced meditation. You must first let every thought in and focus on what you want to do with that thought. We are absolutely in control of our minds and what they do, we just need to keep them in check sometimes. It takes practice, but the effort can make a huge impact.

Writing– Writing has always helped me. I’ve written things down for as long as I can remember, from thoughts and feelings, to ideas and dreams. It helps me to visualise my thoughts and put them down in a way that I can return to them when I need to. A thought, especially a negative one, can initially be daunting. So daunting that we don’t know how to deal with it when it emerges. I think it’s these moments that writing has helped me the most. I often put these thoughts down in the form of fiction, but that is the way that I have trained myself to cope. My creativity has always been my solace and sanctuary.

Reading– Reading is the ultimate distraction for many of us. By focusing on words, we can lose ourselves from reality and exercise those brilliant minds of ours. My two main passions in life have always been fiction and knowledge… through countless books, I have my ultimate escape always at hand. Through books we can lose ourselves and what’s around us, even if it’s just for a moment, but sometimes a moment to escape is all we need.

Make time for yourself– Always make time for yourself when you need it. Life is busy and we are always on the move, but realistically, we can’t keep it up. We need time to recharge and re-energise. We are beings of limited fuel and energy, remember that. Take a walk among nature. See a friend. Talk to a family member. Be alone. Do something you absolutely love more than anything. Have all of the YOU time you need.

Learn to speak up and ask for help when you’re struggling– One of my biggest flaws in life has always been bottling up my thoughts and feelings. Even with a therapy that focused on this, I’m still guilty of it now… but I’m getting better at it. I think many of us need to learn that we are not as alone as we sometimes feel. We need to learn that it’s okay to show weakness, because in learning to show and target that vulnerability, we can learn to become stronger. We need to ultimately learn that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s modern society that is to blame for this imposed suppression of feeling and the ‘keep calm and carry on’ approach. Social media loaded with false smile and fake life. Emotion turned into emoji. We all have issues, we are just now more afraid than ever to expose them. This is something we need to break out of, and we can learn to… as with everything, it just takes practice.

So, there it is; things that I practised to learn more about myself and take a step closer to becoming a happier me. That would have been the end of this written form of thought, would it have been a week ago, but alas, fate would have it be more. The beginning of my year would have my heart unexpectedly broken. I feel that this is completely relevant to this piece, so will delve more into my thoughts to add a current state of mind.

I’m okay. It was cold and sudden, but I’m okay. It wasn’t the start to the year that I had expected, but I guess it was something that had to be. Everything happens for a reason, or so everybody keeps telling me… and perhaps they are right. I have been here before… more times than I’ll care to admit, but evidence of experience tells me that everything will be okay. Maybe I’m supposed to hurt, in order to learn. Maybe I’m supposed to be alone, in order to excel. It feels weird at the moment. Different. Not ultimately bad, just different. I’m keeping myself distracted with everything that I’ve mentioned here, and it is helping immensely. My practices have helped me through much worse, and for that, and the people that have helped enforce them, I am ever grateful. From evidence, I know that I am stronger and more resilient than I feel right now. I am okay, but will be better… perhaps better than ever before.

New year, new energy

“New year. New Energy. I have never felt like this. I have never felt such an abundance of determination. I have never felt so powerful. The creature within me stirs, my wolf spirit has returned. Last year I achieved everything that I needed to. I achieved focus. I achieved fitness. I defeated my demons. I am now ready for anything this universe can throw at me. This year I thrive and revel in the chaos.”

I posted that the day before it happened. I guess the universe was giving me what I needed to endure… and strangely, the idea for this article came at exactly the right moment too. This life really is strange. It works in ways that we cannot comprehend or fathom. Everything truly does happen for a reason. Life is an ebb and flow of the good and the bad, the dark and the light, we need only go with it… there is always a reason.

My Chaotic Mind- Back To My Old Self.

(Trigger Warning: This post contains mention of mental illness. If you think that you may be triggered by such topics, please do not read on. But, please know that, it’s okay to not be okay. I’m here if you need to talk. Contact me at Authorleea@outlook.com)

Something strange is happening with me recently.

I have lost, but I have gained.

I am busy, yet feel I have more time.

I feel like I stand taller, but haven’t grown.

I am far more active, yet feel I have more energy.

I feel stronger.

Faster.

Wiser.

I feel determined and capable.

It is strange, but it is much welcomed.

I think the these feelings are odd because I haven’t experienced them in a long time. They were hidden somewhere beneath thick skin and inside a hollowed chest. Somewhere dark and secure, but somewhere within, all the same. I feel different. I am me, but different. I am truer to both the person that I want to be and person that I feel I am supposed to be.

I guess I should tune out of my writer brain for a moment to say hey to you all, and maybe explain exactly what this is about. Those of you that have followed my blog for while know of my struggles with my mental wellbeing. In fact, I blogged about my experience with therapy right here. I like to be open about what I went through, in a hope to aid those going through the same thing. Well, this month marks a year of completing therapy. I guess this post is a follow up from that, to let you all know how I’m doing now. As you can probably tell, I’m doing great. As you can probably gather from the title, I feel back to my old self. But what exactly was my old self?

Before my struggles, I felt everything that I feel now. Confident. Strong. Happy. It’s freeing to be able to say that I feel those things again. Back then, around ten years ago, I could lead and inspire. I could speak without feeling self conscious. I could be among crowds of people without feeling the need to hide the true me. All these things were taken away from me after my PTSD, anxiety and depression was triggered. But that was then, it is the now that matters. They are gone. I labelled my struggles as demons and monsters, and like all demons and monsters in every good tale, they have been slain. Every moment was a battle. It was long and arduous, but in the end, I stand victorious. I won the war within my mind.

I’ve been busy recently. Really busy. In addition to working on numerous writing projects, I started a new job about six months ago. It was a job that I took in order to test and build upon my newly reformed confidence and ability. It was uncomfortable at first. It was a challenge to not crawl back into old coping mechanisms, but I didn’t. “You’ve faced worst. You’ve faced the edge of darkness and still came out victorious. You’ve got this.” I kept telling myself. I was right. I had faced worse. And you know what, only six months on into my new job, and I’m up for promotion. I am to lead and inspire as I did before. I am back to where I was before, but I am far more than I had ever anticipated. It took ten years to get here, but I’m finally here, and that’s what matters.

It’s crazy to think of how damaged I felt when I walked into the therapist’s office, in comparison to how I feel know. It’s crazy to think how far I’ve come and what I’ve had to endure, but I have come this far and I have endured. I guess the message that I want to convey here is, no matter how bad things seem, they can get better. No matter how scary the recovery process might seem, you can endure, and you can become everything that you want to be. Decide for yourself exactly who you want to be, and make that your goal. Fight for it… and don’t stop fighting until you have it in your grasp.

– Lee A. Vockins.

Relapse Prevention And Closing Thoughts. (Mental Health Awareness part- 4)

(Trigger warning and disclaimer: In the following blog post I will be discussing mental health in a variety of forms. If you feel like you may be triggered in any way, please do not read the article below. I understand completely. If you don’t wish to read on, but would like to talk to me about my experience with therapy or mental health in general, please do not hesitate to contact me at: Authorleea@outlook.com

Now for the disclaimer part. I am in no way a professional on the subject of mental health. The views expressed here are entirely from my own experience and my opinions based on those experiences. Mental illness manifests itself in many ways that can be different based on the individual. Do not take my experience as fact. If you are struggling, please seek help from a professional.)

*****

Previous: (Part-1)(Part-2)(Part-3)

With my cognitive behavioural therapy and post traumatic stress disorder therapy over, I was honestly in a great place. I felt better than I had in very long time. I felt confident in myself and my abilities. I felt happy and capable. I had clawed myself from that dark place in my mind. But there still two things that concerned me; Breaking from the routine of therapy and relapsing. I was worried that without the weekly therapy, I would forget everything that I had learned and begin to once again fall into that dark place. That place where I feel unhappy, unconfident and alone. And so, after a quick discussion about my concerns in one of my final sessions, myself and my therapist decided to spend the very last session going over relapse prevention.

The relapse prevention session began with the creation of a blueprint. This blueprint was not only to remind me of exactly what I had learned in therapy, but also to identify my personal signs of relapse. Through doing this, there would be a greater chance of me catching a problem early and give me a way to deal with it before it gets worse. You see, mental illness is a hard thing to see, even for the person experiencing. This is especially in the early phases. If we can identify the exact behaviours and feelings of when we are beginning to slide into that dark place, we can prevent it. The earlier we do this, the easier it is. For me personally, these behaviours and emotions were the following:

  • Avoiding people and social events entirely.
  • Isolating myself just to cry.
  • Being unusually irritable.
  • Feeling sad and useless for no obvious reason.
  • Feeling like there was no hope.

These, of course, aren’t easy things to feel, and they are far from healthy. But a combination of all these things is how I am when my mind is in that dark place. However, with these things identified, I can recognise them early and take steps to combat them. But this isn’t an easy fight. Luckily for me, I now have the tools and weapons that I need for an edge in this battle. (Metaphorical tools and weapons, of course. I’m rolling with the combat scenario.) These tools and weapons take the form of everything that I have learned from my therapy sessions. They are the following:

  • Live in the present and not ruminate on the past or worry about the future.
  • Question negative thoughts and their plausibility by searching for evidence of their truth.
  • Force myself into social situations and use my support network to voice my worries.
  • Stop over analysing and attempting to pre-script scenarios.
  • Remember that it is okay to be different because everyone is.

And so far, these things have worked. It’s been almost four weeks now since my last therapy session and I still feel great. I still look at my blueprint now and again, just to keep what I had learned fresh on my mind. I even add new beliefs and methods to my blueprint as I attempt the next chapter in my life. As far as relapse prevention goes, I believe that this is a great method. With everything written and organised in one place, I can go back to it and refresh my mind whenever I need to. I can remind my self of how possible it is for me to feel good. I can remind myself that I am capable of being in control of my mind and my life.

As for the breaking of the routine of therapy, I’m okay. The first week after was difficult. I felt somewhat lost without that sanctuary. Without that person to ramble my concerns to. But every week after gets easier. I have reminded myself that this is a new chapter and I now have what I need to succeed. Therapy was a difficult chapter, but it was a much needed one. This new chapter is going to be positive, as long as I remain positive and use everything that I learned through therapy about myself.

So, that brings my recollection of therapy to a close. I just wanted to finish this mental health awareness series with some final thoughts on my journey and tell you of some of my plans for my future.

I’m going to start this with probably the most important thought; I’m glad that I decided to get help. The support from my therapist had made a huge impact on my life. Therapy has helped me to see my world differently. I no longer feel the need to ruminate on the past, I look to the future and not worry about what it holds. My mind is no longer cluttered with negative thoughts about myself. I once again believe in myself. Before my first session of therapy, I never thought that this new state of mind was achievable. Even the concept of feeling happy for more than the odd one day a week, felt entirely out of my reach. I honestly almost didn’t go to my first session, but something within pushed me, and I’m grateful that it did. To anyone reading this that is struggling with their mental health and in doubt of therapy, please just push yourself to that first session. You won’t regret it.

I felt that there is one important thing that I forgot to mention about my PTSD therapy. I learned a very important lesson. That lesson is that I own my thoughts and memories and am free to change them at my will. Just because something traumatic happened, it doesn’t mean that I needed to remember it that way. And so, I practiced this. Now when I remember being attacked by that group, I am ten-foot-tall and indestructible. By changing the memory this way, I have become immune to the emotions attached. I remember the first time my therapist told my to do this. I probably looked at her like she was crazy. But I trusted her and did it anyway, and it honestly works for me.

Another interesting thing, that I left out, was when I told my therapist that I could still feel every punch when I listened back to the recording. I wasn’t exaggerating either. Every time that I listened to that thing, my stomach and chest would tighten, and my ribs would ache. To resolve this, my therapist asked me to go back to the worst moment in the trauma. I had to imagine those punches once more. But as I did, I was guided to feel them less and less, until they were no more. And while I was in that moment, we brought closure to the event. She asked me to imagine myself looking down upon the version of my that was being attacked.

“What would you say to the Lee that’s laying on the ground?” She asked.

“I would let him know that he survives this moment.” I said. “I would him know that it will soon be over and he will become stronger because of it.”

“And if the you now could intervene in that moment, what would you do?”

A flash of red appeared to overtake my vision as I briefly imagine tearing my opponents apart. But, after a moments thought, I realised the point of the whole thing. If I changed a thing about that moment, I might not be the person that I am today. And so, I replied. “I would do nothing. That event happened for a reason. That event crafted me into the person that I am today.”

*****

And that, brings my mental health awareness series to a close… for now. I will of course keep everyone updated if anything changes, but right now, I feel great. I have a new set of self-beliefs and feel that I have what it takes to get through. This of course wasn’t achieved with the use of some sorcery or magic. This was achieved with guidance, willing and determination. As I keep saying, it was hard work, but it was worth it. Now a bit about the future. I feel like I owe a lot to the health professionals that helped me through this and I feel the need to help others that are suffering like I did. In the very near future, I plan on raising money for various mental health charities through out the U.K. I plan on doing this through my writing and donating full royalties. I haven’t quite decided on what exactly I’m doing yet, but it will be a project that I will keep you updated on.

Thank you all so much for your support on this series, it really means the world to me. These posts have felt like closure on that chapter of my life, I’m now ready to move onto the next and show people what I can do with my new-found confidence. Be ready for lots more fiction news, videos and general updates.

Thank you again,

Lee A. Vockins.