Calling all Feminists!

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with some other women my age about feminism. They didn’t call themselves Feminists and asked me what I write about and what a feminist is. I was honest and said that overall it’s about equality but for each person, feminism means something different. Which got me thinking…

All around the world, there are feminists of every race and background. I’ve been writing my Feminist Friday posts for a few months now but I’m a cis, white, university educated female. There’s nothing wrong with that but I want to share with my reader’s other people’s feminism, why they are a feminist and what it means to them. I want to include everyone, which is a big part of MY feminism.

So, this is where you come in. I want to share your stories, I want to talk about you all and really explore what Feminism is to you.

If you’re interested please email chloefmetzger@gmail.com or drop me a tweet on @chloemetzger, I really can’t wait to hear from you all!

 

 

10 things you need to know before taking medication for Mental Illness

There is a lot of debate over medication and mental health. As someone who takes medication, I wanted to put together 10 things I feel you should know before taking medication.

  1. It’s not an easy fix – These aren’t ‘happy pills’ as people like to joke. For me, taking medication was similar to a fog rising, it didn’t instantly make me happy but it gave me the strength to make changes and help myself.
  2. Medication isn’t for everyone – It works for some, but not for others
  3. Your body needs time to adjust– In my experience, and that of most people I’ve spoken to, the first few weeks on new medication can have negative side effects. I had a week of feeling really poorly BUT it was worth it. If you can, see if you can get through that period.
  4. If you don’t feel it’s right, go back to your doctor – That said, if you really are struggling and don’t feel you can carry on or after a while feel your medication isn’t working as it should, go speak to your GP. I had three adjustments in a year on the same medication.
  5. You’re not weaker or less of a person for taking medication– There is so much BS about there about not being your ‘real self’ while on medication. If ‘not being my real self’ includes feeling better, not feeling exhausted and unbearably unhappy, I’ll take that, thanks.
  6. There are so many different types! There are so many different types which are used for different symptoms and reasons.
  7. A lot of people are ill-informed, don’t let them scare you – I’ve found two types of people in this category. The first type, people who’ve had a bad experience on medication. I don’t think they mean any harm but no medication is the same for everyone, just because it didn’t work for them, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. The other type of people don’t know anything about medication and just have, in my personal opinion, uneducated. Do what’s right for you.
  8. You can still have children if you’re on medication – This was something I was really concerned about because there are quite a few side effects and as a woman you have to be extra careful if you want to have children. I have been reliably informed that medication can be managed and monitored, hooray!
  9. You might need to try different medications to find the right one – This happens with a lot of medication, it’s no different when it’s for your mental health. There are so many different types for different issues. Keep going until you find the right one.
  10.  You’re the only person who matters – Everyone has an opinion, but that doesn’t mean they control your life. If you find medication helps you get through the day then you do you, this is your body and your health, no one else’s.

What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @chloemetzger

Mental Health, my story so far

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So, to kick start Mental Health Awareness Week I thought I would share with you my own personal mental health journey. I’ve written a lot on this blog about how I live with my mental health, what helps me and some of the not so great times.

If you don’t know me or my blog hello and welcome! I’m Chloe, a 22-year-old blogger, graduate, writer, musician and mental health campaigner. I’ve been living with Depression and Anxiety diagnosed since I was 18 but undiagnosed from around 15 (it took a long time to get a diagnosis).

I’ve had quite a lot of time to think about myself and the fact that I am more than an illness, more than a diagnosis. I struggled throughout my teenage years for a lot of reasons, I was bullied a lot which definitely kick started my illness. I spent a lot of time isolated and desperately unhappy, with no professional help. That was pretty shit. Moving on to college I was slightly better with a new start but still struggling with my mental health, I did have some councilling at the time and sought out my diagnoses, which I got at the age of 18.

Little after that, I went to university after starting my first trial of medication, freaking out and not taking it (not something I’d recommend). I spent my first year pretty sick and being incredibly unhealthy with my mental health, I’d spend days locked in the dark of my room alone, not eating and avoiding people. Towards the end of that year I went back on medication because I was at a really low point, where everyone had noticed.

For my second and third year I was better with the help of my mentor who I had talking therapy with once a week for 3 years. I also started to speak out more about my mental health and working towards educating others, I was also lucky enough to make a speech (watch here) which made my passion even stronger.

I will admit I’ve had a really rough time in the past year since graduating with figuring out who I am, getting used to not having the professional support I had at uni, trying to work on being a graduate and getting used to new doctors (not my fave).

So, that’s a little bit about me. My illness is a part of me, but not all of me. I’m hoping you’re going to enjoy this week. If you have any questions for me drop me a comment below, email me at chloefmetzger@gmail.com, or tweet me @chloemetzger. I can’t wait to hear from you all!

Feminist Friday: Is having a Vagina a pre-existing condition too?

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I woke up this morning and was flicking through my news app and my hazy eyes focused again on a smug picture of Donald Trump, this time with the headline ‘Obamacare is dead’. I’m not American, nor do I live in the US but have watched the past few months unfold with waves of nausea after being faced with the blatant problems with sexism and racism in the US.

Once again ‘making America great again’ will have a nasty impact on many. The list of what is being considered a pre-existing condition is horrifying. As I was reading though I realised something, once again women were having someone choose their options for them because they own a vagina.

Things such as

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast, Cervical and Ovarian Cancer
  • Acid Reflux (often a problem in Pregnancy)
  • Cesarian Section

would all stop you getting coverage under Trump and his party. It must be recognised there are also issues such as enlarged prostate and testicular cancer that will impact only men, this is an issue for everyone. It’s horrifying and harrowing that people are fearing for their lives because of something they cannot help. America is supposed to be one of the most forward-thinking countries in the world…I doubt that now seeing as birthing the future leaders of the world will now mean you might not be able to get insurance.

I’m incredibly lucky I live with the NHS, if it was the same in the UK there is no way in hell I would be insured because of previous problems I’ve had. It’s a scary reality when dystopian novels such as The Handmaid’s Tale are getting chillingly close to real life.

At what point do Republicans just make having a Vagina a reason for exclusion officially? At what point do they fall backwards in time and make it so women are legally second class citizens. We need to talk about this, we need to make ourselves louder than ever all across the world to make sure it is known to the misogynists that not only are we equal, we are strong and capable.

What are your thoughts on the new bills being passed? Are you going to be impacted by them? Let me know in the comments below or drop me a tweet @chloemetzger!

Success?

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A while ago, I was speaking to a friend when he surprised me, he told me I was successful. It stopped me in my tracks, because I haven’t classed myself as that in quite some time, in fact, since graduating I’ve felt more ordinary than I ever have in my life! At times, I’ve even felt like a failure.

Part of this is the struggles I’ve had with my confidence (it took a large dip after breaking my spine) and the other part, who knows? On paper, and to many people I know, they do believe I’m a successful 22 year old. I have a job, a degree, a home and a stable relationship.It ticks all the boxes, doesn’t it? Which I why I feel so bad whenever I say the words out loud, I’m not doign well enough.

I’ve always had a problem where I both want and need to be one of the best. I was talented both musically and academically growing up, apart from driving I found a way to make things appear as if they came easily (they didn’t). Despite my struggles I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me, for the things I’d gone through, so I worked as hard as I possibly could. I won awards, competitions etc. I felt like I was going places.

After graduating, for the first time in your life, your achievements aren’t given prizes or certificates, you’re not given feedback and a grade on things you spend hours on. So I guess in that respect, it isn’t unusual for someone to feel that they’re not doing as well, because you have to jugde it for yourself (particularly hard when you are an anxious person).

So I sit here and I try and see that I am successful, I might not be where I want to be at the end but it doesn’t mean I’m not. I think for many of us, that may be it. We confuse success with where we want to end up. I can only speak for myself, but that’s where I think I’ve been going wrong. I don’t have a house, a book and my life sorted out. Who the hell does in their 20s?

Maybe this is where I say something cliche like ‘success is a state of mind’, maybe it is. All I know is that it means so many things, to so many people. I’m flattered to think that my friend think I’m successful, I hope that someday soon I feel that way too!

What does success mean to you? Do you feel successful?   Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @chloemetzger

Feminist Fridays: What Makes Me Feel Empowered?

What Makes Me Feel Empowered

Empowerment ‘the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights’. We hear a lot about women’s empowerment when talking about Feminism but, I wonder how many of us think about that it means to us. I feel that this will be different for each and every woman based on their lives and choices. Because feminism is about choice, even if you don’t agree with that choice personally.

So what makes me feel empowered?

Earning my own money

Being able to support myself makes me feel empowered and greatful for the women who came before me and fought for it. I don’t have to rely on anyone if I want to buy something or live somewhere, it’s all me!

Having control over my body

I’m lucky enough to have access to contraception in the UK for free. This means I can choose if and when I become a mother. I can make those decisions. Similarly, I can dress how I like and it’s not subject to anyone else’s orders.

Gaining an education 

I could my education as one of the greatest things in my life. I’m as smart as any male and earned my degree and awards. No one can ever take that away from me.

Having an opinion 

This blog is full of my opinions and how I wish to express them. Being able to share my thoughts and feelings gives me empowerment.

What makes you feel empowered? Let me know in the comments below or give me a tweet on @chloemetzger

 

Feminist Friday: I Wanted a Boob Job Once

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I am proud to call myself a feminist. I’m proud to fight for equality and the right for women to do what they like to their bodies. When I was younger, I wanted a boob job, or at least I thought I did. Let me back-track, it’s a little embarrassing, don’t say I didn’t warn you. When I was little I thought that the Glamour models on page three were some of the prettiest ladies I’d ever seen. I picked up a copy of the paper they were in and told my parent I wanted to do that when I grew up. My Mum laughed, my Dad not so much, it was a strange announcement for a 3-year-old.

How do you feel about that? Shocked? Angry? Upset? I could easily blame the media and rage, but I don’t. Do I think there should be a topless model in a newspaper? Ask me a few years ago I would have said yeah, sure. Now though, not so much. I don’t understand why there are topless women on the third page of a national newspaper. I honestly believe that was my first instance of thinking that makeup and big boobs could make you happy.

When I was a pre-teen Katie Price (also known as Jordan) was all over the media, she’d started her romance with Peter Andre and she wanted to be an empire. Some part of me fell for it. I had about a year where I thought modelling and glamour something I wanted and that big boobs were what you needed. I met her, I thought she was really nice, friendly and talented. As I got older I realised that it was all an illusion and that after puberty showing off my body was the last thing I wanted to do.

I don’t think there are problems with people having cosmetic surgery if it is going to make them happier or feel more confident in themselves. I do think, however, that their state of mind, intentions and full understanding of major surgery. The fact that there are places in the world where doctors don’t think twice about giving people these procedures is wrong.

As an educated adult I can see the problems that a little girl couldn’t. That Katie Price has a lot of problems and what appears to be a front to make people believe she is an ‘it girl’. To some extent, I’m glad that I’m not comfortable showing my whole body, that I don’t feel comfortable in makeup and heels. I’m pleased that I value my mind and my achievements more than my body. For some, they are caught up in this world, they let these ideas of beauty define them.

We don’t need feminism to tell women they can’t wear makeup or heels. We don’t need to judge others. We do need so that women and girls can make informed decisions and know that there isn’t one acceptable way to look. That’s the issue here, the lack of diversity, the lack of education. Less people would be striving for cosmetic surgery if all body shapes were represented.

What do you think? Join the conversation below or tweet me @chloemetzger