The Journey Begins…

“You’ll be fine”,

“It’s just a phase”,

“Just do things that make you happy”.

Phrases we have heard too many times and we know all too well. Mental health is still stigmatised to this day and no matter how much society claims it is accepting of this, it undoubtedly remains one of our many taboos. The truth is, it is not just a phase. Sometimes you won’t be fine. And no matter how much you try, nothing can make you happy unless it involves self-loathing and crying until you feel that there are no tears left to drown yourself in.

But this is okay.

Mental health, believe it or not, can be experienced as a journey. You may feel like you will never get out of this deep, dark and dangerous hole which is your feelings, but by feeling these horrible emotions, it can help heal your body.

This is a chance for me to share my experiences with mental health and how it interfered with my life so severely and haunted me through my darkest moments.

I want people to share these experiences, to show people that this is normal, it is not something to be ashamed of and should not be something that is just brushed under the carpet.

I am in no way a counsellor or claiming to be someone that is qualified in life coaching but sometimes sharing and hearing stories of individuals that have walked the same path as you can be just as beneficial.

I am yet to find my way to the end of this path, but I have defeated so many tough obstacles along the way that I know someday I will find the end, and it will be the light at the end of this dark, dark tunnel.

‘Don’t be ashamed of your story. It will inspire others’ – Unknown

Positive Vibes

Be More Cat

One major factor of mental health issues is the loss of interest in things that matter most to us, more importantly, the things that usually contribute to our happiness and sanity.

Take this blog. It keeps me doing something, it helps me spread awareness, share my story, it gives me something to look forward too.

And I lost interest.

My posts have been slacking and my motivation has made up the structure of a downward spiral, heading toward the pit that is my own self-destruction.

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I would call this lack of determination a symptom of depression but I don’t like giving it the satisfaction of labelling it as a disease, like there is something horribly wrong with me. Sure, our head’s are pretty messed up but making me seem like I am a walking illness sure as hell does not make things better.

Rather, this lack of interest is just an effect of feeling shit. It makes sense too. Why would someone, who feels tired, sad, who lacks self-esteem, who can’t find any good in themselves or the world, want to sit down with a guitar and start singing about how great life is?

Why would someone, who feels like nobody understands them, then want to spend a night out feeling anxious and worrisome whilst these ignorant humans dance around because their lives are so great ?

Why would I want to do anything when all my head is telling me to do is stay in bed and convince myself that life is one big lie and at the end of the day, we are all just trapped in this thing we label as ‘life’ when all it is is us working at a job we grow to despise until we eventually lose our minds and die?

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And then the spiral has taken over. Everything you contemplate doing spins itself round and gives you a reason not to do it.

And the best way to overcome it?

Just do it.

No, I’m not a typing Nike advert.

It is the only way to beat the shame and guilt that wants to implode in you when you decide not to do anything. The hardest part is straddling over that hurdle stopping you from beginning your adventures. Even if that adventure is going downstairs and cleaning the toilet. Even if it is planning your next shopping trip. Even if it writing a blog…

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As I sit here writing this, the passion becomes apparent. This rage, this anger, this emotion inside of me about the expectations of those who suffer from mental health issues takes control of me far too easily and way too often.

My cats are sleeping peacefully at my feet, their paws interlinked and their heads resting upon one another. They love each other. They love their life. They sleep, eat, drink and play outside and that is enough for them. They make the most of what they are given.

I have sympathy for those who struggle to get out of bed in the morning, like myself. Not because their alarm has gone off and they want 5 more minutes, but because they don’t see the point. We get up, go to work, come home. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

One step at a time can change it. I still struggle with my mentality in certain aspects. I still contemplate how things would be if it all just stopped. I still put off plans because I just can’t face them. But this is okay. The first step is allowing yourself to feel this way.

One foot in front of the other, work towards something you have been putting off. Make the most of what you have and find the positives in it. Love yourself, love your family, love your life whatever you make of it.

Be happy in what you do. Be more cat.

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Me Time

Putting people first. Being selfless. It’s all something we aspire to do. It’s something we aspire to be. 

I don’t want to generalise but the community of those who are experiencing or have experienced mental health issues seem to all have the same thing in common. Helping others. So much to the point that they neglect their own self-care. Others happiness is put before their own happiness.

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I am one of these people. You probably are too. But now, I see things in a different light since seeing myself breakdown and witnessing myself lose interest in my own self-care.

There’s nothing wrong with being selfless. Don’t get me wrong. Don’t misinterpret what I am saying.

But there is a difference between helping others and helping others to the point that you do not help yourself.

I met a woman at work who was stressed with her job. She has anxiety, depression and is on anti-depressants. She explained to me that she feels the need to help others, and not herself.

She feels guilty if she has ‘me-time’. 

At first I thought “Wow. This lady is me”.

I explained to her how similar of a situation I was in. As I was giving her advice, I realised why do I not follow my own advice?

I advised her to carry on helping others if it made her happy, but for every two or three things she does for someone, take some time for herself.

The problem is not helping others, it’s the guilt we feel when we do something nice for ourselves. We are programmed as humans to feel bad when we treat ourselves.

This is how the cycle starts. We feel like we are restricted to being all work and no play. How can we help this?

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  1. Help others whilst helping yourself.
    It may be that a friend is in aid of some cheering up but you’ve already had a really stressful day and just want to relax. So, relax with them. Watch a film, go for dinner, paint your nails, go to the gym. Do something that will not only cheer them up, but will also contribute to helping yourself and your mentality.pexels-photo-919436.jpeg
  2. Work hard, play hard
    We hate having time to ourselves because we always feel like there’s some job that we should be doing. Work hard, get your jobs done in the day and leave the evening to relax. Earn your time. If you cannot sit there without thinking of something you should be doing, then treat it as a transaction. You’ve given your time in the day to be productive, your reward is relaxing. pexels-photo-544117.jpeg
  3. Say No
    This will be hard for some people. It is probably one of the hardest things for us to do. When we are overworked, stressed, or tired, we still feel like we have to keep going. Someone asks us to do something and we feel like we have to do it because we owe them as their friend. Sometimes this may be the case, and we want to help them, we may get a reward of feeling good after we have helped them. But when we just want to be by ourselves, this just feels impossible. Know that it is okay to say no when you don’t feel up to something. Just like you want to be a good friend to someone, if they are truly a good friend to you, they will understand if you are burned out and just not up to doing anything other than getting in bed with your favourite TV show. You need to remember that your mental health is just as important as others. We need to break this obsession with not allowing ourselves time to relax.

Never feel bad for putting yourself first.
Work hard, play hard, and love your life.

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Ball of Fluff, Ball of Happiness

3rd June. 

Meant to be the start of change, the start of a new life.

And it was.

For the wrong reasons.

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2nd June

I’d quit my job, with the support of my mum who would not let me work one more shift in case I imploded and left this life for good.

Tomorrow is my last day at work. I’ve been given meds. Things will be okay…

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We go home. Okay, let’s go the gym. I’ll see her after the gym and we will have cuddles tonight.

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Then there’s screams and tears and I run downstairs. 

And we don’t know what’s going on. And I panic. And I have a panic attack. And Mum tells me to stop it. 

If I could stop it I would. 

And I pick her up in my arms and I try to calm her down. 

And I carry her to the car. 

And she sits with me, lays down on my lap.

I have no emotions. This isn’t real. 

And we arrive. She is taken away. 

He says it will be fine, probably a broken leg. Worst comes to worst, it needs amputating. 

 

Oh god. Amputation. 

I would have taken that any day. 

 

And then we have to leave.

And I tell her I love her but it’s fine because I’ll see her tomorrow. 

So I give her a kiss and I leave. 

 

I would have done so much more if I knew. 

 

And she watches me walk away.

And her last memory of me is me walking away.  Leaving her.

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3rd June. 7am.

I wake up, emotionless, grey and dull. I pick up her blanket and give it to my mum.

“Give this to her so she feels better and can smell her home”

She nods and takes it. 

And I go to work. It’s my last shift. 

And I tell my co-workers what’s happened and they pout and ‘aw’.

And I keep thinking about seeing her after my shift. No more work.

Cuddles and bed with her. 

And the clock strikes 9am. I’ve only been there an hour and a half.

And my mum appears round the back.

And her eyes are red. Her face is grey. 

And I open the door. 

And she shakes her head.

And she cries.

and I cry.

and I breakdown.

And everyone surrounds me and everyone panics.

And I run to the car and I climb in.

And I panic again. 

We arrive home. 

And the door is opened for me.

And I run in.

There she is.

She is so peaceful and quiet. 

No longer in pain.

Her eyes are open and hazy.

Her paws are bloody and messy.

Her fur smells and is matted.

And I scream and I hug her and I kiss her and I beg her to wake up.

But she doesn’t.

And I cry until I have no tears left to shed anymore. 

If every tear I cried could bring her back, she would be so full of life and then some.

She is laying on the blanket I gave to her.

She never got to see me. She went all alone. No one was there.

Her last memory of me was me leaving. And now she doesn’t know I am here. 

And my world is gone.

and she was a cat. 

a cat.

Just a cat, right? 

but she was my baby.

my world.

And when your world is taken away from you just like that, you don’t feel like you can go on.

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And people share their ignorant and irrelevant points with me.

This post is not for pity. It is for those people who needs some tips. 

Don’t give your opinion to someone who doesn’t need it.

Don’t make someone feel like they are being stupid over something you have no idea about.

Don’t tell someone how to feel.

Keep your negative words to yourself. 

To you it is an animal. To me she was my baby. 

 

Never underestimate what someone goes through. 

Ever.

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Your best 5 minutes

A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference on personal growth. 

At first we all had the perception it would be a bunch of people giving motivational speeches about tactics and ways to be the best you can be and all that crap.

Because that doesn’t work. Not for us. Not for the people that have tried so very hard to fight their doubts and negative thoughts about themselves.

It is a lot harder than just ‘do your best’.

But this was different.

Jamie Edwards spoke to us. Rather, he spoke to me on a personal level.

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He was engaging and inspiringly positive. He has worked with footballers such as Joe Hart, and wants to expand to young women who suffer from confidence and mental health problems.

He brought up so many good points that everyone should take away with them, however I think these are essential for those who have mental health issues. The couple of points that really connected with me are below, and I want to share them on his behalf as well as everyone who suffers from confidence problems:

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STOP SHOULDING.

So many times we will look back with regret.

Get rid of the regret.

Never look back saying you should have done something.

Do it.

Make the most of every opportunity, even though it may seem so out of your comfort zone. Write yourself a list of all the things you have achieved. Think of this list when you are given an opportunity.

Add to that list.

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GIVE YOUR BEST FIVE MINUTES 

No matter what you are feeling, always give your best 5 minutes. This spoke to me a lot. A lot of the time I feel like I can’t do it, can’t be bothered, or have the mentality of ‘that will be enough’.

It’s never enough. No matter how long it is, always give your best-self each time you are put in this situation. It will reflect positively inside and out. Whether it be in your job, or your personal life, you will appear better and feel better.

My job contributes a huge amount to my mental health. Currently, I am in the mindset where I dread it and I stress but I am yet to put these points into motion.

No matter how you feel, just try. Show up, look good, try your very best.

It’s not forever. You are responsible for making changes in your job and work life. Make someones’s day, go the extra mile for a co-worker. Set goals to make your day go faster. Believe in yourself.

Check out Jamie Edwards for more information. 

 

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How to be happy.

So the title of this post may be a bit misleading…

In my opinion, there is no real way of being happy.

Personally, I don’t think anyone can always be happy. It’s impossible. There is not one person in this world that is constantly positive every minute of every day.

There is not one person who never thinks of giving up, even if it is for a split second.

There is not one person who wants to just stay in bed and feel sorry for themselves, even if they do end up going out.

It still crosses their mind.

Being happy, for me, is different than being positive. 

Thinking positively contributes to your state of happiness. Right now, I would not say I am happy. I still have days when I wake up feeling like absolute shit and bad thoughts cross my mind and I don’t want to do anything. To me, things like this do not scream happiness. But I can wake up, think all these things and still remain positive.

This then takes away the overcrowding negativity that is trying to creep in. I still would not describe myself as happy, but I am not letting these things control my life.

I used to be a pessimist. One bad thought, that’s it. The world’s over. Done.

Now? That’s changed. It’s crazy how much your mood can change just from changing your mindset. You are in control of your emotions and your thoughts.

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  1. THINK POSITIVELY
    I know how hard this seems, especially when the world is going to shit. But try it. Just give it a chance. Bad grade on a test? It’s a lesson, a chance to improve. It does not make you a failure. It is allowing you work on your skills to become more successful. Let’s try another. This time a bit deeper. The loss of a loved one. 2017 saw a huge amount of my loved ones be taken from me. This is the hardest thing in the world to try and remain positive about. How can you possibly find a way to make this a good thing? First things first, cry. It does not make you weak, nor does it take away from your capability to be ‘happy’. Cry and let your emotions out. Show your grief and your love for this special person. Then, instead of mourning the loss, celebrate their life. Make them a memorial garden, a memory box, write a song for them, whatever you want to do to honour and remember them. This way we are minimising the negativity of the situation and turning it into something inspiring and positive. Little things like this will really help improve your mood.pexels-photo-374101.jpeg
  2. WALK, RUN, DANCE
    It doesn’t matter if you’re walking at 0.1 mph, just do something. Get up and exercise. It will boost your endorphins, automatically improving your mood, and if you are working towards a goal, such as losing weight or gaining muscle, you will automatically feel more productive. Not only this but if you are starting to become fitter, you will see these improvements and therefore feel better about yourself anyway. There are so many positives that come out of physical activity, so get out of the house, or even off the sofa and do something.pexels-photo-257360.jpeg
  3. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND INTO NATURE
    I cannot explain the beauty of nature. It is mad how one view can change your mood. I have recently been leaving the house and getting outside, going for long walks and appreciating the environment around us. I am lucky enough to live in the Peak District, surrounded by gorgeous views and tranquil walks. Once you step foot outside, just keep going. Don’t stop. Stick your headphones in and walk. Walk away from everyone else, walk away from your problems. Once you find somewhere to sit and just take in the world around you, you will automatically relax. It is so peaceful. It is the only time I like to be alone with my thoughts. They become positive thoughts. It shows the world is good. The world is beautiful. Life can be beautiful.pexels-photo-89909.jpeg
  4. TAKE UP A HOBBY
    Work towards a goal! This cannot be emphasised enough! Pick up an instrument, learn a language, start doing Pilates, start baking. Whatever it is, working towards something greatly improves your mood. You will feel like you are accomplishing something, little by little everyday, proving to yourself that you are capable. It is also a great way to take your mind off any shit going on in your life. Check out this article on further help and ways to keep your goals.pexels-photo-922702.jpeg
  5. LAUGH AND SMILE
    Laughing is infectious. Smiling is infectious. Instead of deciding that you are feeling shit today, choose to be happy. Someone says something funny? Laugh. Someone says hi to you? Smile and say hi back. Say good morning to someone, be that lovely customer when you order a coffee. You never know what someone is going through, being happy on the outside not only makes their day, but you know that you have contributed to that. Faking a smile is different, and will probably make you feel worse. Try and find the authenticity in yourself, there is a smile waiting to spread, you just need to let it out.pexels-photo-433495.jpeg
  6. GIVE, GIVE, GIVE
    Donations, charity, volunteering, even a good morning text to an old friend. A little goes a long way. There are others going through so much, just like us. They may be feeling the same and need a little pick me up. I get such a buzz out of giving and helping others. I participated in Sober for October, and raised money for those suffering with cancer in honour of my auntie. I regularly travel up to Wood Green Animal Shelter to give donation boxes to the cats as they are short on supplies, I surprised my Dad coming home from university and then told him I am taking him to see Foo Fighters. The joy out of helping others is a feeling you cannot describe until you experience it yourself. I must say however, never do a good deed expecting it in return otherwise you defeat the point of even doing it. You will end up back at the start ‘I gave them a lift to their house but they never offer me one’. I used to have this mind frame before realising, don’t do something if you are expecting something in return. Otherwise you make yourself miserable overthinking about why they haven’t returned the favour. Do something good for the reward of feeling good.

As I said, we are always striving to be happy. It is a journey, not a destination. Make these steps different rest-stops during your journey of positivity and happiness.

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You’re depressed but you’ll be okay…

Easter; spring, sun, new beginnings, fresh starts.

It was a new beginning. It a new way of life that I now will never know any difference from. A fresh start in a completely different mind, different body, a new person. A new person with all these messed up issues from my past.

I felt alone, so, so alone. I would sit in my room during this 2 week Easter break and feel like I had no one. I didn’t want to do anything but I needed to do something to get my mind off this shit feeling.

I spoke to my dad about it, but the response was your typical dismissive one.

I don’t understand, there must a reason you feel down? Period?(that little diamond again), “Or maybe it’s just a phase because your friends are working, you’ll be okay”.

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My dread that I felt for work become uncontrollable to the point I would finish a shift and be counting down the hours until I had to go in next week. My mind would be circling whilst I lay in bed the night before, knowing I had to be up in 8 hours…now 7… now 6…

What if I get a rude customer? 

What if I fuck up?

What if

What if

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I’d be turning down extra shifts during holidays, I really did not care about the money- anything just not to put myself in that situation. It got to the point that I actually preferred going to college because it meant I didn’t have to deal with the pressure of the public, the pressure of other humans.

My auntie’s health began to decline due to her spreading cancer.

I was going through some shit with a schoolboy, letting him come in between my relationship, looking back it seems so pathetic, but this had a massive impact on my confidence and my emotions.

Then my confidence in my friendships began to deteriorate, I felt like my friends were just friends with me because they had to be, because they’d already known me and couldn’t ditch me this far into our relationship.

The paranoia was unreal.

Anyone who has been in these shows must know the absolute bitch that is paranoia. I would sit on the sofa at lunch wondering if my friends were even going to turn up, to be honest they took me for granted anyway, so this was just the cherry on top.

I would whack out my phone and start doing depression tests.

“Depression test”

“Depressions symptoms”

“Is depression real”

“Am I depressed?”

“Why am i sad all the time”

Familiar?

I would do these amateur tests and they would come out relatively bad, i.e. go get help because you seem pretty fucked up .

But I didn’t because nobody gets depression, remember? It’s just a phase isn’t it?.

 

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So I’d go home instead and play Ed Sheeran and curl up in bed and cry.

And that was my Easter from March through to early May.

Wake up, be sad, do some college work, cry, go to the gym, shower, eat, cry, sleep.

Repeat.

It changes. When you wake up. Something is different. You don’t want to be there. But it’s not your usual ‘5 more minutes please’.

You really do not want to be there. 

Your body does not let you get out of bed and when you do, you feel spaced, you feel like you have forgotten your routine, you feel as if you cannot make it through.

You want to give up.

You don’t want to be here.

You don’t want to die.

But you sure as hell do not want to be on this planet anymore.

I remember sitting on my bed playing The Sims 3. (another nostalgic element for me, it was the only thing calming me down).

My mum walks in.

I don’t remember what happened.

All I remember is her trying to talk to me about this situation.

She was being nice…?

And all of sudden,

I was back at the doctors.

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Happy to be drinking or drinking to be happy?

February through to March seem a blur to me.

The only real thing that seems to stand out is partying.

Everyone was turning 18.

Yay, let’s get drunk.

Yay!

Let’s drink and absorb this magical liquid that seems to improve my mood for about an hour before I wallow in self-pity, start arguments over nothing and end my night hating myself.

I began to feel blue everyday. Then it turned very dark each morning that I woke up until feeling ‘blue’ for me was actually an improvement compared to this dark, dull grey storm that was occurring in my head.

I hated waking up. I hated going to sleep.

I didn’t want to be. 

I didn’t want to do anything, I felt like I was just floating in space, kind of like an out of body experience.

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Each Saturday it was someone else’s 18th birthday party at the same place, same people, same music, same thing every week.

I struggled to make it through work, somehow I did. Now I look back I really do not know how I did.

Usual routine:

  • Eat carbs to line your stomach
  • Shower and tan
  • Off you go to your mates house feeling like Christmas has come early with the amount of sacks of make-up you have.
  • Get ready, pre-drink, take some bomb-ass selfies and go to the party.But for me, my usual routine became…muddled.

My intentions for pre-drinking  were no longer to spend less money later on that night.

The intention was to get absolutely smashed that I forgot about how shit I felt about my life and myself in general.

“You’re so funny when you’re drunk”

I love you when you’re drunk”

Positive reinforcement for drinking alcohol… and so it became a habit.

No one knew that my reason for consuming so much of this drug was to put a guard up, to make it even less obvious that something so worrying was going on inside of my brain.

My friends just saw me as the happy, silly girl having a good time.

What they didn’t see was the self-disgust I felt the next morning on why I let myself get so bad. 

What they didn’t see was this happy, silly girl curled up in her bed every night crying and wishing she was no longer walking on this planet.

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I was drinking every weekend, my liver was probably screaming but I was taking advantage of the fact I never got hangovers, and so I carried on.

In that moment I felt good, the music was good, I was having fun with my friends.

Then the party would end and it would hit me in the stomach and drag me back to Earth.

4 hours of fun does not make up for the way I have been feeling 24 hours a day.

Back to reality.

Wake up Sunday morning, grey skies both outside and inside of my mind.

Then you get this feeling of contemplation. You stand there and just think about life and question why you did any of the things you did.

 

Looking back, I do not regret drinking. I regret why I was drinking.

It wasn’t to have a good time, it was to drown out my emotions and make myself feel numb from the pain that was going on.

One thing, if anyone reading this was to take away from these posts, never try to numb your feelings.

You end up thinking things and doing things that are irrational, and do not help your situation.

Use alcohol as a way to relax, but never to drown yourself in.

It may seem like the best thing to do at the time, I have been there. And it sucks when someone tells you what to do, one thing I hate is how people tell me how to feel.

But one thing. One very important thing.

Feel your emotions. 

Hit rock bottom. 

Feel like the world is crashing down and going to shit. 

 

Because then you know what it feels like to be lifted back up.

Sometimes you have to feel so bad that you know you do not want to feel like this anymore. 

Don’t use alcohol to numb these feelings, it really does not help. Express your emotions.

Cry. Scream. Just feel.

When you are contemplating turning to a drink to forget the world, just think: is it worth it?

You will be back in that same situation tomorrow night, and the next, and the next.

You are going to have those days, we all will.

But we are strong

It is stronger of you to breakdown and face up to your emotions rather than washing them out with alcohol.

And when you rise back up, because you will rise back up, you will look back and realise that you are human.

You have emotions, and you will fall.

But depression, anxiety, bipolar, any mental health disorders do not control your life. 

You are in control.

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Bath, Spas and Cocktails

One thing I’ve learnt since coming to university is how to be more positive.

I surround myself with people that make me happy and ignore those that bring me down. And this really makes all the difference on your mood.

Once you get rid of negative people, you feel so much more free and in control of your life. You can start living your life for yourself and stop living it through someone else’s desires.

I visited Bath with my classmates and lecturers and it was honestly one of the most fun experiences I have ever been a part of. It was just like going on holiday with your friends for a week, not once did I stop and think I was on a university trip.

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I visited Macdonald Hotel Spa and Thermae Bath Spa, toured the Roman Baths, visited Bath’s most famous sites, somehow managed to spend hundreds of pounds in and around the millions of shops they have, as well as going for dinner and drinking cocktails every night.

It sounds unreal, right? Too good to be true.

When I say it out loud, yes, it sounds too good to be true.

But why can’t it be true? 

We have set ourselves up to expect the worse. Especially those of us who suffer from mental health issues.

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When something is going good, we are are so happy yet so scared at the same time. It’s like we cannot enjoy it because we feel like it is a dream, like someone is messing with us. Why would life let me be this happy for nothing?

But it was real. No catch. No unexpected turns.

I drank, I laughed, I socialised, I toured, I relaxed, I shopped, I was happy.

And it would not have been the same without the people I was with.

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I see everything I do now as a lesson, an experience.

Sure, Bath was like a holiday, it was fun and made me happy. But I view it as a way of showing me that good things can happen, you can have nice things for nothing, as long as you make it a positive experience.

I could have chosen to sit in my room all day but I didn’t.

I got out and explored. I decided to treat myself to that cake, I chose to add that extra pair of shoes to my basket, I wanted to go out with my friends, my lecturers, to meet new people.

Always say yes to new things, even if you do not feel up to it, or you’re scared. Sometimes it is okay to have time to yourself, but never miss an opportunity, it could be one of the best decisions you make.

Surround yourself with good people, make memories, take pictures, appreciate the views, admire old buildings, walk the ground that has been standing underneath your feet for so very long.

I am so very grateful I got to see such a historical and beautiful place, but even more so grateful that it has enhanced my view on positivity.

Bath has symbolised a way of living for me.

Go out. Explore. Laugh.

Positivity breeds positivity. 

Get rid of those negative people and start fresh with a new group that brings you up when you are a down and appreciates that life can be beautiful.

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Happiness?

February 11th.

On my way to Disneyland for 5 whole days but I wasn’t as excited as I thought.

 

No, I was so excited.

 

But I wasn’t.

It was weird.

It’s like I mentioned previously. I was sitting on the Eurostar knowing full well this time in five days I’d be sitting in this exact position on my way home and back to reality. I don’t know what got to me more, feeling this sadness or the fact that my brain wouldn’t let me control this feeling of sadness. Maybe if I knew I was in control, it wouldn’t have such an impact on me?

Just take a moment to imagine feeling so down and dark and trapped inside your own head, with your brain telling you all the worst things you think about yourself. Then imagine your brain telling you that all the people around you think them too. Then imagine this feeling of claustrophobia because you know  no matter what you are stuck with these thoughts forever and nothing can stop you from thinking them and no one will understand and

Then it started to hit me, I arrived at the station and heard the screaming kids, the fairy-tale music and saw the tip of the castle roof in the horizon.

Okay. I’m here. I’m here.

I am away from reality.

I am away from everyone and everything. 

One thing about me, I love to hold on to memories of the past. I have trouble with change and moving on. I am obsessed with Disney because it represents my childhood, no cares, no worries, no depression, no anxiety.

So now I’m here. In a land dedicated to childhood, to having no worries, to having no cares in the world.

I’ll never forget my boyfriend’s words.

“You’re like a completely different person here, I’ve never seen you so happy”

This was happiness. Wasn’t it?

I seemed happy to him, so did this mean I was? I mean, I was.

I was very, very happy. 

But it was a different happiness. I was happy in this moment, I was happy because I was here. I was happy because something good was happening.

Was it true happiness?

Happiness is defined as ‘the state of being happy‘. So yes, in that moment, I guess I had happiness.

But what about when I came home? I wasn’t. I wouldn’t say I have happiness in life because my day-to-day life is not filled with princesses and castles and candy apples.

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The reason this is so significant to me is not to brag that I got to go to Disneyland.

It was the start of me realising I wasn’t normal. Something wasn’t right. I came home and dreaded everything. Maybe I had realised what I was like when I was happy, and now I know that I don’t have that in my life.

It wasn’t me thinking that I can only be happy if you whisk me away to a far away land.

It was the fact that I now knew how I felt when I was happy, confident, positive blah blah blah.

It was the fact that I now knew I did not feel this. Ever. I hated everything. It was the fact that Disneyland showed me what I should aspire to be like in my life.

I should view my house the same way I viewed that castle.

I should adore my boyfriend the same way I adored Mickey and Minnie.

I should be grateful for every step I take on this earth the same way I was grateful for each step on those tiles I walked everyday.

But I just couldn’t.

I went to work the day after I returned home. No one really likes work, we would all much rather stay in bed. But I got on with it. Yet, that day was unusual. I felt very exposed. People were looking. My confidence was down. A lot.

I didn’t want to serve customers. I was scared. They intimidated me. I felt alone with a shop full of people. I felt like I forgot everything to say, to do.

Writing this now still brings back those feelings. That is how strong they were. I cannot explain how vulnerable I felt and I had never felt like this before.

I’ve been singing for ten years. I’ve performed in front of hundreds of people, all eyes on me, yet this was the most exposed I had ever felt. 

I had been working there for two years, why did I feel like I had only been there for two hours?

The day ended.

I went home.

I decided,

I hate my life.

Hormone Imbalance

So it had been a few weeks. Crying here and there but not thinking anything of it.

The usual.

I came home from school and got into bed. My beautiful cat came and perched on my tummy as I lay looking at the ceiling contemplating my life. As cliche as it is, when you are in that state of mind, your brain loves to make yourself question your own existence.

Why are you actually here?

What is the point? We’re all going to die someday.

Two hours passed so very quickly to be wasting more seconds of my life but so very slowly to be left alone with your thoughts for that long.

My mum returned home.

One thing that stands out in this whole situation is my relationship with her. As I will expand later on, my mum and I have never been close. She has a temper. So do I. She has views. So do I. But they’re not the same. We are so different that it makes us so similar yet we clash.

The relationship is dysfunctional.

She comes home.

“What are you doing?! Why are you just laying in bed in the dark what is wrong with you?!”

Thank you. I needed that.

I didn’t respond. My head seemed so delusional and messed up, I was in a vicious cycle. Was I like this because of factors such as her? Or did she just make it worse? It became like the chicken or the egg debate.

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Eventually, when we got there, she finally saw something was wrong and we went to the doctors.

My doctor was…good.

Honestly, he  scared me. Completely intimidated me.

I was meant to be going to get help yet I felt the least comfortable I had felt in a long time. I sensed urgency about him.

Tell the girl she will be alright, it’s a phase, write down your moods in a diary. Blah blah blah.

I never even thought about mental health before this all occurred, so I don’t really blame him for not thinking much about it either. It’s a shame. It shouldn’t be this way. But it is.

He told me I had a ‘hormonal imbalance‘.

It’s not depression, that’s far too drastic.

“Keep you thoughts written down and your mood levels recorded each time you have your periods”.

 Oh yes. I am a girl, therefore whenever I feel the slightest bit of emotion it is because of my periods. I did not realise my uterus could cause such an impact on my life.

 

So, I took some tablets, Utovlan (norethisterone). I didn’t question it, to be honest I barely even remember listening to him explaining what they were even going to do. I just kept thinking why am I even here if I’m not going to be taken seriously?

Turns out the tablets help in delaying periods, and he gave them to me to try and balance my hormones during this time.

It didn’t work. Clearly.

To start with, I thought it did. I spent the rest of that and 2016 relatively happy. 2016 started off pretty bad with my best friend getting with the boy I had liked for three years, but oh well. I moved to a bigger house, decorated my room just the way I wanted it, I made so many new friends, went to many house parties, completed my GCSEs, got a two-month-long summer, got a boyfriend, and even got an unconditional offer for university.

Life was okay. Things were okay.

In general, I would say I was content. But there were days where I just could not be happy no matter what.

Those who have had any experience with mental health may know this feeling where the negative thoughts take over.

I could be at Costa with my mum, she would buy me a coffee and a croissant, and I would sit looking out the window thinking; I know I should be happy because it’s a Saturday morning, I have the whole weekend to chill and do something fun but that has to end at some point.

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No matter what you are doing, whatever it is, it must come to an end so what is the point of enjoying it? I could be at a One Direction concert (major die hard fan btw), yet all I would be thinking is how long it has left until it is over and the sadness will return.

I could be in Disneyland and be counting down the days until I have to go home and return to reality.

It is like a drug. Like I was addicted to thinking negatively no matter how hard I tried. What’s the point of bothering when it has to come to an end?

What is the point?

I have thought that way too much, haven’t you?

And when things seem like they’re all okay, something comes round to haunt you again. My 2016 was the misleading trailer for my movie-flop which was 2017.

New Years Day, 00:01am, Jan 1st 2017.

“This is a big year for you, you have your last year of A-Levels, you’re going to Disneyland and you’re starting university!”

Yes. It was to be a big year for me.
But not how I expected it to be.
And certainly not for the best.