7 ways to Help Your Mental Health Day to Day

As the days have gotten shorter and it’s a lot darker, anyone’s mental health can take a hit. Recently, while having a medication review, I spoke to a doctor about medication and dosages. He told me that he does not unless he has to for the patient, lower or bring anyone off of antidepressants in the winter months.

I completely understand why he does this. A lot of people feel good at the end of the summer, it’s been warm, there might have been holidays or romance and a lot of time outside the house. In the Autumn & Winter, however, it can get harder.

So, how can we help ourselves, well…

Recognise when you’re not feeling great

Remember that it’s ok not to be ok, it’s like a giant light has gone off for the world, it’s going to knock you! That and it’s cold, not exactly the best conditions to be happy. Know that it’s ok to feel that way and you’re certainly not the only one.

Try and leave the house 

Despite the temperature drop try and go outside. Throw on a big jumper and a coat and go somewhere. It can be as simple as popping to the shop or going for a 10 minute walk.

Practice self-care 

Self-care is really important in whichever way you chose to do it. I’m trying to be healthier and not rely on food  so, recently, I’ve found a nice bath and some poetry makes me feel a lot better.

Make a list of things to look forward to 

I used to really struggle with my day to day because I wasn’t happy with my personal situation. I needed a reason to look forward so I started making notes and writing on calendars at least one thing I was looking forward to. I didn’t need to be anything big but I had a focus point.

Take your time

Take your time with building yourself up. There’s no rush to be the happiest person or to shake off feelings. We’re all different and we all have our own challenges.

Get enough sleep! 

I cannot stress this enough. Sleep is so important to our lives, make sure you get the amount of sleep you need. I know that I can deal with 6 hours a night but to be fully functioning I need 8 hours.

Make sure you eat 

I’m awful at this, I’ll admit that I’m awful at this. When I’m absorbed in something, or when I’m sad food is something I forget about. Don’t be me! Make sure you’re eating and fuelling your body.

My Health Mission

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Hello, hello, hello!

It feels like ages since I’ve written a post about health and how I’ve been getting on. Now I’ll be honest, my whole gym fitness has been awful for the past few months, truly, truly awful. I’ve neglected it and just didn’t have the energy, which I now know had a reason and after some medication, I have a lot more energy and can actually focus on getting back into it.

What’s spurred this on? I hear you ask well I had a checkup and wanted to know what I should be aiming for in terms of weight loss. I’ve known that my weight has gone up and down a lot since I broke my spine, but didn’t know what I should be aiming for. She confirmed what I knew, I was overweight.

My doctor was lovely, she knows that I struggle with exercise because of my spine and told me that under no circumstances I was to stress and beat myself up. That is was going to take me a little longer and I had to take it easy with my exercise, but that I would get there.

So I’m on a mission, not to punish my body but to try to help it and lose the weight in a way that doesn’t make me feel rubbish. I know I can do it, it just might take a little more time and a little bit of restraint.

 

When Your Confidence Takes a Hit

Hello, hello, hello!

It’s been a little while since I’ve spoken about how I’ve been feeling lately, which was how this blog started in the first place. I mean it’s, possible, that I’ve been doing this on purpose, maybe.

Almost 3 weeks ago I was let go from a job I quite enjoyed. It was something that happened out of the blue and I went into shock and immediately doubted myself and what I was good for. Which seems like quite a natural response, I think. Either way, I didn’t expect that I’d be looking for a job again, going to interviews again and trying to rebuild myself again.

My relationship with confidence has been a long and interesting one. To a lot of people, I outwardly seem a very confident and savvy person. In fact, in interviews, I’ve been told I’m a very confident person. Yes, I can be. In situations where I pull out my confidence cape and I’m Super Chloe, I can do anything. Then I go home.

I go home and then the cape comes off and I struggle. I wonder what the hell I’m doing, if I’m going to be able to make all of this work. If, in the next 5 years, I will have to go through it again.

We all know that, in life, we’re going to have highs and lows. There’s going to be times when it completely floors you and your confidence. I’ve been dealing with that a lot in the past few years and trying to piece myself back together and carry on.

I’m taking steps to be more confident and to embrace whatever happens in my life. It’s hard but sometimes you need to be your own cheerleader, know your strengths and ignore those who want to put you down. It’s such a tough internal struggle for all of us but, to me, carrying on is the only option.

 

 

You Can Do It! – World Mental Health Day 2017

Hello there,

I don’t know what lead you here, maybe you’re feeling a little lost, maybe you saw this on social media and thought I’d see what she has to say. I’m here to tell you, you can do it.

For many, when you have a mental health condition, it can seem as a huge barrier. It can seem like it’s going to stop you achieving your dreams and what you want to achieve in life. There’s a lot of negative portrayals in the media and literature of someone’s life ending. That may have been the old way but with the right help, support and treatment (in many forms) you can achieve what you want to achieve!

Don’t let anyone tell you that what you want to get out of life isn’t possible because of some brain chemistry. What a load of rubbish! Some of the greatest thinkers, performers and artists to have ever lived have had to deal with mental health conditions. It’s a well known fact that in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Dementors were created out from J.K Rowling’s experiences with depression.

Sometimes, the biggest and only barrier is yourself and the voice in your head. It can be completely exhausting to fight your own mind on the simplest thing. I remember years ago when I started university, the thought of getting a bus gave me an anxiety attack. Yep, getting a bus. Then I moved to London and didn’t have a choice, the first few times I was petrified, I was so anxious and panicked. Now, getting a bus in London doesn’t phase me at all, I used to do it all the time. BUT my brain would come up with all these scenarios, it took time but I tamed my brain in that situation and many others.

It can feel like you’re up against the world but I promise you slowly, you can do this. You can do anything. Talk to others, keep going back to your GP until they listen, do what you feel you need to do.

Lots of love,

Chloe

World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 – Tips for Tough Days

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day 2017, each year it’s something that I dedicate a post to because it’s important. The fact that we need a day for suicide prevention shows something. We live incredibly busy lives, we’re constantly going, going, going, looking at the world around us and having 24-hour news and updates on the good, and bad in the world. It can all get a little too much. When you’re at your lowest ebb, and suicide seems like an option, it’s hard to know what to do to help, if there is any help at all when you’re slowed down struggling to cope while the world seems so fast. So, for this year I wanted to share some tips, for the days when everything seems too much.

Know that it’s ok to unplug

I love social media and growing my following BUT, sometimes it’s too much. To see other people seemingly having a great time when you’re not feeling great it’s ok to switch off for a while and turn off your internet and just be.

Speak to, or be around, people that love you 

This is so important. It doesn’t matter who these people are, but it can help to be cared for in the smallest of ways.

Get some natural light 

Hear me out. I’ve been in those times where my mind tells me to just lie in the darkness and just sleep, mainly when I was living alone at uni. When you get up, open the curtains or try to go outside for 10-15 minutes. Natural light can really do you good. If not you can get a lamp to replicate light, which also helps with SAD (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder).

Try and do something you enjoy 

I know it can be really hard when you’re in the darkest parts of depression but even a little something can make you feel a little better. Maybe listen to an album you like, do something creative, cook? Whatever you feel up to doing. I, personally, try to listen to some music or write.

Allow yourself to cry 

My boyfriend is on tour right now, it’s tough. For the past week I’ve been trying to keep myself busy all the time, every evening pushing my mind and my body to distract myself. Yesterday I finally let myself acknowledge that I was missing him and had a good old ‘ugly cry’, didn’t set my alarm and just slept for as long as my body needed.

Know it’s ok not to be ok 

I wrote a whole post on this a while back, it’s ok not to feel ok. It’s part of life and if you have a mental illness it’s a part of life you know all too well. We have down days, sometimes we relapse, it’s all part of recovery.

Know that someone loves you

It can be so hard to remember this. Someone in the world loves you, so much. You’re worth this life. I promise.

If you need any help or are feeling suicidal please, please talk to someone. In the UK you can contact the Samaritans, they can talk things over with you on 116 123. If you feel like you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself please call an ambulance.

How is my Mental Health right now?

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As I write this, I realise I haven’t really been writing about myself and mental health, not for a while! We’ve gotten to September already and while we’ve still got 3 months of this year left, it feels like 2017 has just been a bit of battering for me and my old mind. Actually, if I’m honest since my accident in 2015 it’s been a bit of a struggle but in terms of this year, how about a bit of an update?

Back in April, I lost my job as most of my regular readers know. At the time it was the worst thing what could have happened in my mind. My depression became unbearable and after 5 and a half months at the company where I was incredibly unhappy and then being let go out of the blue meant that my confidence was shot to pieces. Even when I had a job offer for temporary work I was in a constant anxious state that I wasn’t good enough, that I’d be let go again and I was just an awful human being.

After applying for job after job while temping and not getting jobs, I decided I’d had enough. I was sleeping better at this point and not doing the long drive, so, mentally I was better than I had been since the year before, yeah that long. In my mind, a job was a job and you didn’t leave no matter how much you hated it (this is the worst thing I could have thought). This time I wanted to work for a company permanently that I enjoyed, in a great atmosphere and not too far a commute. So I did what I needed to do I researched and I called around, which eventually meant getting my current job that I love.

In all of this I felt like, mentally, I was on a tight rope. I needed something to come through, to prove to my ‘Mind Goblin’ wrong, that I wasn’t awful and I wasn’t useless and I could do a good job. I was right, the Mind Goblin was wrong. That was that, everything was going to be great. So I got the job, I went on holiday. I forgot to take my medication in the sunshine and had a drop on holiday, but within a day or so I was back on form.

The last 2 months of my job have been incredible, overwhelming and a boost. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still had anxiety attacks, I’ve still had the usual good days and bad days because that’s a part of my life and a part of my condition. Being more content doesn’t mean it disappears or that the ‘Mind Goblin’ doesn’t appear sometimes trying to take over my mind. I’m not writing this to tell you I’m fine and perfect but I’m taking it day by day. Which is all anyone who lives with a mental health condition can do.

As I write this I’m experiencing my first time as a ‘Tour Wife’ while Ali goes across the country with work. It comes with its own challenges, mostly loneliness and not having anyone to talk to when my Mind Goblin creeps out and I have to fight him away on my own. Or maybe not on my own. I’m lucky to have some wonderful friends, family and a great set of colleagues to chat to and to have for company.

Basically, it’s been good, bad and ugly but I’m getting there.

Feminist Friday with … Charlotte Selby

Why I Need Feminism

This is a guest post by Charlotte Selby, a YA Writer, Book Blogger and Booktuber. Charlotte has requested the following trigger warnings to be in place; Sexual Abuse, Anxiety, and Depression.

Living alone in my second year of University was a bad idea. I was in my own company a lot and my anxiety was at the highest it had been; I was yet to get a diagnosis. I was struggling to leave my flat to see my therapist, never mind going to classes. I hadn’t established a strong enough relationship with the friends I’d made where I felt I could confide in them about my problems. Then someone came along. For the purposes of this post, we’ll call them Ash.

They got me. They knew when to listen to my problems and when to give advice. I became dependent; messaging them when I thought I might relapse, begging them to come over. When they kissed me, I felt it was a turning point: someone wanted me even though they’d seen how broken I was. My previous partner broke up with me because I wouldn’t sleep with them so I wanted to take my time before losing my virginity. Ash respected that. My friend warned me and our friendship became strained. She didn’t understand. Ash was good for me.

After a bad relapse, Ash came to the rescue and took me to their flat. I didn’t want to be alone for fear of how much further I would go. After I calmed down, Ash kissed me. I said no but they became icy after. Later they tried again and I said no. We had already slept together at this point, but this time was different. This time I didn’t want it. But they were so persistent that, in the end, I let them.

“Come on, it’ll take your mind off things.”

I told them I didn’t want to see them anymore after that (outside of class obligations). When I confided in a friend about what had happened, she had her I did warn you moment and explained the concept of consent to me. I felt foolish.

Flash to final year and it all came out. There were six other girls at the same time as me all with similar stories. We didn’t go to the police. We didn’t tell the university. We all knew we’d be blamed until we dropped it. One day when a society I was part of hosted a bake sale on campus. Ash showed up. The boyfriend of one of the other girls came and attacked Ash. He’d learned his girlfriend was one of the many victims. He screamed “manipulator”, “sexual abuser” and “rapist.” I was called out too. “How dare you stand when they did that to you. You’re just as bad as them. You could have helped people.” In the drama of it all, I don’t think anyone noticed I’d been outed; there were a select few who knew the names of the people involved, he just happened to know mine.

What happened with Ash had a big impact on my next relationship – which started during second year and we’re still together now. One night when we were messing around one night, he jokingly said: “come on you know you want to.” When I worked up the courage to tell him about Ash, I expected a breakup. We didn’t and we’re still together now, but it took a long time to fully trust him. Even now if I’m not in the mood for being intimate I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt, like I’m letting him down in some way.

Ash didn’t go to graduation. They weren’t missed.
I wish I could say I felt free when I cut them out. But I don’t. While I’m in a much better place mentally now but I’m easily shaken. I often think of “what ifs.” What if I’d stood up for myself? What if I’d spoken out sooner?

I need feminism because had there been more support for women, if there had been a safe place we could have gone to report it, if there was less stigma around sexual abuse, maybe Ash wouldn’t be out there right now. Living their life, probably never thinking about what they did to all those girls.

I speak out now. I shut down negative discussions about sexual assault/ abuse and rape. I challenge harmful views. I don’t want people to have to go through what I did and then blame themselves after. I am a feminist.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And by god, I am stronger now.

Thank you so much to Charlotte for this post, it’s such an important yet hard topic to discuss. If YOU want to get involved with Feminist Fridays email chloefmetzer@gmail.com with ‘Feminist Friday’ in the subject line.