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.

 

Sunday Seven: Ways to kick anixiety’s butt!

I know that sometimes, it can feel like you don’t have anxiety, you are absorbed by the sneaky bugger. Right now, I’m pleased that I’m managing my anxiety, but now and again, of course, I have my moments where I wonder if I’ll feel ok again. It’s on these days it is that little bit harder here are 7 things you can do.

Write a list of things you need to do 

Only what you need to get done, don’e be consumed by something you need to get done tomorrow or next week. Break big tasks down and take it day by day.

Be kind to yourself

When I’m in an anxious state, I know most of the time that it’s not logical. That there are things I’m anxious about that I don’t need to be or I’ll beat myself up over small things. Know that you’re just having a bad day, it will pass.

Get some light in!

Natural sunlight is a great mood booster even five minutes can help you out so open those windows.

Make sure you have contact with positive people 

It can be really hard, particularly if your anxiety means you want or need to be alone but make sure that you can contact people who make you feel comfortable.

Do something you enjoy 

Read, watch a TV show you love, colour do something you enjoy that you’ll find relaxing.

Express how you feel!

Only you will know the best way to calm your anxious mind but don’t bottle it up. For some doing something creative will help unleash how you feel, for others making something or solving a problem. Whatever works, you do you!

What are your tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Rest in Peace, Chester

I had a whole other blog planned tonight, but as I switched on my laptop I saw the news and posting a happy and fun book review just seemed wrong. Chester Bennington, singer of Linkin Park has killed himself. It’s genuinely shocked me. Even though I haven’t listened to Linkin Park in a really long time, it was such an integral part of my teenage years and getting me through some of the darkest periods. The fact that he’s gone, someone who’s voice and work has helped so many to be gone.

How can a voice that helped me get through my darkest days have died in such an awful way?  I’m not claiming I was a huge fan but Minutes to Midnight was an album I listened to on repeat because it just reflected how I felt. It was a time where I was lonely, depressed and just had this darkness inside me. When I couldn’t sleep I’d listen to it, along with others, when my mind was going at 100 miles per hour. It was more than just an album to me.

I’m listening to Minutes to Midnight as I write this, feeling so damn emotional. Hell, I don’t even know if this post will make sense. There are so many of us out there with physical, emotional and mental scars. Music was one of the things that saved me, I listen to this album and remember the strength I got from it and the thought that Chester was so low when he helped so many of us just breaks my heart. For his family, his band mates, his fans and the rock community it’s a terrible day.

When things like this happen we need to reach out to those who are struggling or who have struggled in the past. We need to listen to each other, love each other and make it ok for anyone to talk when they’re struggling. I’m not talking about waiting lists and doctors, I’m talking about and every one of us having empathy and openness for those around us.

If you’re reading this and struggling, it’s ok. You’re allowed to feel that way. If this news has knocked you for six, that’s okay too. There’s no clear guidelines or way to have a mental illness, you never know what is going to bring you to your knees. You’re allowed to feel and hurt. Remember you are valuable, you are loved and you are worth it. Reach out to people who love you, practice self-care and speak to someone.

Rest in Peace Chester, thank you so much. 

 

If you need to speak to someone please contact the Samaritans, don’t suffer in silence.

Sunday Seven: Catching up on Mental Health Week 2017

Now we’ve come to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 and the end of my week of mental health blogging. I wanted to remind you what I’ve been up to this week, just in case you’ve missed it.

Sunday – Welcome to Mental Health Awareness Week 

Monday – My Mental Health story so far

Tuesday – 10 thing you need to know before taking medication for mental illness

Wednesday – Q & A working in Mental Health 

Thursday – So, what’s it like living with a mental illness? Bloggers answer – part one.

Friday –  So, what’s it like living with a mental illness? Bloggers answer – part two.

Saturday – I took some needed time for myself because I practice what I preach.

Let me know in the comments below what you’ve enjoyed and make sure to look out for much more mental health posts coming.

 

So, what’s it like living with a mental illness? – bloggers answer. Part Two.

I asked Bloggers to tell me what it was like to live with a mental health condition. Some of these stories are hard to read and I cannot thank the bloggers enough for sharing their stories. Please remember if you need help to contact your GP or the Samaritans on 116 123. You are not alone. 

Lauren from www.milliesguide.com  – Anxiety and Depression

What is it like to live with a mental health difficulty? I’ve been finding this a really hard question to answer because every day is different. I can be hit by anxiety where I constantly feel nervous but I can’t work out what I’m worried about. Depression can loom like a cloud of darkness. It is feeling numb and nothing makes sense. It’s feeling nothing or everything at once. It’s crying when someone says hello. It’s crying for absolutely no reason and not being able to stop. There is a little voice in the back of my mind that constantly tells me I’m not good enough and that I’ll never be good enough. It’s not having the energy and courage to get out of bed. It’s not showering, cleaning your teeth or eating properly because I’m not worth it. At its worse depression causes you to

Depression can loom like a cloud of darkness. It is feeling numb and nothing makes sense. It’s feeling nothing or everything at once. It’s crying when someone says hello. It’s crying for absolutely no reason and not being able to stop. There is a little voice in the back of my mind that constantly tells me I’m not good enough and that I’ll never be good enough. It’s not having the energy and courage to get out of bed. It’s not showering, cleaning your teeth or eating properly because I’m not worth it. At its worse depression causes you to self-harm and self-destruct. It’s having thoughts that you would be better off dead. That your loved ones would be better off without you in their lives. My biggest piece of advice to you is to tell someone.

Talk about how you’re feeling with friends, family or your doctor. Lots and lots of people have depression or some other mental health problems. Just remember you are not alone and this too shall pass. It’s something that I have to remind myself of often.

Jen from @aweebitblue – Under diagnosis review.

I first started to struggle in my mid-teens, when I started to feel really low, and began to self-harm. I eventually sought help at 17, and was given antidepressants. I wasn’t so keen on taking them – I worried that they’d make me feel even more numb than I already felt – so I asked if there were any talking therapies available. My GP referred me to CAMHS, where I saw a psychologist… twice. I felt like I was being patronised.

At 18, I moved away to university, where I spiralled into a deep dark place, which culminated in me using drinking and self-harm to get me through the long nights. I registered with the campus GP, and was given more antidepressants, which I took for a couple of days, and then stopped. I also saw a university counsellor, who pretty swiftly said she couldn’t cope with ‘my levels of difficulty’. I had a course of CBT around this time, which I have to say was not particularly helpful either. I was convinced that I was beyond help, and spiralled even further.

Gradually though, over a course of years, with the help of my girlfriend of the time, things started to get a little better.And it seemed like it was for the first few years. But then things started to go downhill.  I tried a whole host of medications, but I seem to be very sensitive to side effects, so many just didn’t ‘fit’. And things just got worse. I was increasingly suicidal, and ended up being taken into hospital to keep me safe.

A Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis has been following me around for a while. Despite only meeting two of the criteria for a diagnosis (you have to meet five, and most people I know would meet at least one), and not meeting the criteria for BPD treatment (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)), I have had professionals tell me I have BPD repeatedly for the past couple of years.

But it…just didn’t fit. So, at my last appointment with my (new) consultant, I ‘put on my big girl pants’, and asked him about it. He said that it was on my records, but that he had it as ‘under review’. We had a chat about it, and in the end he said that he was very clear that I had a ‘complex mood disorder’. Mood disorder because of the depression, and complex because of the trauma. So not a personality disorder, after all. I finally feel understood, and like we can make some progress.

Please remember if you need help to contact your GP or the Samaritans on 116 123. You are not alone.