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.

5 things I wish I’d known before going into Third Year

With third year coming to an end and my graduation looming I sat and thought about what I wish I’d known before I’d gone into third year. I won’t lie, this has been a tough year not just because the pressure was kicked up a gear at uni, but also because of stuff going on in my personal life. Either way here are 5 things I wish I’d known, that might just help future third years out!

1. You have a LOT of reading to do, get it done.

Trying to read all of my primary weekly texts, the additional theory, 30 secondary sources for dissertation, 15 secondary sources for my special study, and oh yeah MORE secondary sources for the other two modules. There’s a lot of reading to be done this year. Do as much of it in advance as you can and thank yourself later. Also, get used to the library, it’s going to be your second home.

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2. You will want to take naps like you’ve never wanted naps before.

I never used to be able to sleep in the day, at all unless I hadn’t slept at night (ahem, party animals in the flat next door). Now I feel like naps are the only way to keep me awake at night long enough to work on my assignments.

3. You’re allowed to struggle.

I spent most of my third year pretending to myself and my lecturers that uni was a breeze, that I had my shit together and of course I was ok. Fast forward to a month before my dissertation was due, I’m in tears in my supervisor’s office feeling like I couldn’t possibly get a good mark on this bit of work. For some reason I felt like I had to just project this air of confidence this year, maybe it was to make myself feel better? Either way if you’re struggling go and talk to your lecturers. Don’t make my mistake and wait until it all gets too much, it’s a stressful time and lecturers understand that.

4. Sleep is a wonderful thing, and during the final few weeks you will feel like you have never had enough. 

Yes I’m mentioning sleep again. Right now I have no sleep schedule. Some days I’ll be fine to be wide awake bright and early, go to the gym, work on my assignments and eat a healthy amount of food. Other days I’m writing until 2am, wake up a lot in the night or just don’t sleep at all. No matter how much sleep I do or don’t get I’m always exhausted. The brain is doing a lot of hard work right now people!

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5. You’re going to feel confused and excited and sad and have ALL OF THE FEELS, because this is a weird point of your life. 

I didn’t realise how all over the place emotionally I’d feel. On one hand I want to dig my nails in and never let go of uni ever because it’s the one place I’ve been happy to be in education. On the other hand I want to get all of my assignments done and out of the way and never spend another evening writing up references. I find myself getting emotional at the strangest times and other times I just shrug and get on with things. It’s a very weird time but I’m hoping, come July 27th when I officially have a degree it will have all been worth it.

‘All you need is POSITIVITY’

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Yes, yes I did just quote a Spice Girls song and no I do not have any shame (come on I was a Spice Girls obsessed little girl, of course I can quote the songs).

Hello lovely readers, I hope you’re all doing ok. So today hasn’t been a great day, It’s been pretty rubbish although I’ve had some good news (more on that later) but mostly bad, which left me pretty low. I reached a point today after a little cry where I saw up and thought, right I’ve had time to be low and now I’ve got to get on with what I need to do. For now, that means resting but keeping my mind active, doing my physio and then slowly moving up with the goal of still having a great summer. What’s being miserable going to achieve?

Now I know what some of you are thinking, It’s great for her, but I can’t do that. Let me tell you a little secret, for years when people told me to ‘stop being negative’ I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell and fight and make them understand that I just couldn’t be, why didn’t they understand? I just couldn’t be positive, I couldn’t get out of this black cloud and sometimes you can’t. You have to be at a point where you’re well enough and bit by bit you will get there, it just takes time.

Anyway, back to today. I’m not saying I won’t have lows, I have depression lows are a part of my life, so are anxiety attacks. I just want to try and control them, grab positives when I can. It is hard and I am struggling but I’ve been worse than this before and somehow I got through. I know I’m stubborn and headstrong, so I’m going to try and use that to be positive when I can. I’ve got so many people helping and caring for me, the least I can do is try. Although I had an avalanche of bad news, it wasn’t all bad, I’ve got an interview for some really incredible work opportunities, I got to see Joe today and I finally have physio booked!

Being positive with a mental health condition isn’t always easy but it is possible, just not all the time! Take some time to do something you want to do, go back to something you enjoy (for me it’s been sketching), make a plan of things you’d like to do or ,if you’re like me, lists can make you feel so much more in control of the situation (which I struggle with, not being in control make a very stressed Chloe). So even if right now, there is no light you can see in your life. If things are so stressful you just want to hide under the covers, you’ll get there and there WILL be better things to come. Also why not try reading the ‘helping yourself list‘ I wrote about last year?

I hope you’ve enjoyed todays blog, as ever leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Image from Pinterest

Music is my cure

This week has been a funny old week. It’s been full of ups and downs and being pulled all over the place and I’m just tired. Ok not just tired, I feel a bit drained. It’s been really busy, not necessarily in a bad way just loads of different things. I have been feeling really up and down over the last few days.

Tonight I just sort of caved. I’ve had a good day, working hard, seeing Eleanor and Wales even won the Rugby today (although England better tomorrow. I just felt sad when I got home, my thoughts caught up with me. Even snuggled up in my new onesie, thanks to Ali, I just couldn’t shake it. Yesterday I got like this too, right before a show and ended up having an anxiety attack before hand, which doesn’t happen anymore. So, yes, a little shook up over these sudden waves of horrible anxiety.

Music does something though, it is the release I need. It’s better than any negative coping strategy I’ve ever had, better than therapy, plans or medication. I don’t know but something about it just lifts me. When I lived alone I needed music filling my room because the silence was too much. So I resorted to YouTube tonight and found George Ezra. Of course I’d heard some of his other songs but I couldn’t stop and I’m more than a little bit in love with his music. It’s incredible.

So while last night was full of No People Club and other great musicians performing live, tonight was all about my headphones. Some Ed Sheeran and George Ezra to be precise because I just needed that kind of music tonight. Also the video to the above song? Could it GET any better?!?!

Why have I picked this song to share? Apart from the awesome video, the lyrics are pretty amazing too. It’s just what Ali’s been saying to me this week when I’ve been having an ‘oh my god, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, what is life, ARGH’ moment. They’re becoming a little bit more frequent but as the song says I need to listen to the man who’s loving me, because this time he’s got it right on. He’s just there, always.

The point of this blog wasn’t to do an ‘I love Ali’ fest. It was to talk about the power of music and how it’s always been there for me, I expect it always will and it’s the best depression beater ever. This song put such a smile on my face and I’m just in love with George’s voice, to the point I need tickets for when he’s next playing in the UK.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

8eaedae3c0c1099c92bc6cf82b8ed737I found the above quote on Pinterest and thought it would be a good start to todays post. Today is the last day of Eating Disorders awareness week and of course I wanted to feature it on my blog. I’ve never had an eating disorder, although for a while I had an issue with my body image. That said I have watched friends struggle through eating disorders and it’s a very slippery slope.

A lot of people have the misconception that ED’s are about food and being vain and feeling fat. Wrong. Bulimia and Anorexia, for example, are mental illnesses, they’re not to do with not fitting into a certain dress or wanting to look like a celebrity. They are illnesses which unfortunately people can die from. It’s important to know but not what I want to put forward in this blog.

I want to talk to you all about being supportive. The best thing you can do for someone with any kind of mental health condition is to support them, to do your best to understand. Some of the following things are good to know

Be patient 

Eating Disorders don’t just go away in a week, they are not a cold. Recovery can take years and for some people they need a little bit of support for the rest of their lives. It can be frustrating and so hard to watch when a loved one goes through this but your patience can mean everything.

Listen 

Don’t talk, listen. Listen to what they want and need to say. Even if they are scared and you can’t understand why. Even if what they’re saying is hard to hear just listen and ,when you can, respect their wishes.

Know when they just need you there 

Sometimes it’s not about having a big conversation, it’s just about having someone there and knowing they’re there.

Try and do some research 

You don’t need to get a PhD in Psychology but just doing a little research on ways to help for example or knowing what the illness is. Some people find it helpful to learn with the person who is living with the illness.  It can make things easier to understand.

Work with them through things 

Having support through it all is one of the most important things. Celebrate their achievements and be there if they have bad days and work through it together. You never know how much it can mean to someone.

I wanted to make it clear that this is something that people recover from! It takes hard work but it is possible to recover with the right help and be happy and healthy, as with any mental illness. If anyone is struggling with an Eating Disorder at the moment then I will leave details at the end of this post. Don’t be embarrassed, or ashamed, you can get through this. Talk to someone you feel you can, go along to a doctors appointment (you don’t have to see your own GP!) and please, please don’t give up.

Beat – UK 

http://www.b-eat.co.uk/

National Eating Disorder Association

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

SEED – Eating Disorder Support Service

http://www.seedeatingdisorders.org.uk/

I’m Dyslexic!

After 19 years on the planet and 14 years in the education system I can finally say I am dyslexic! Today I trudged to my appointment quite nervous but I didn’t need to be my assessor was so lovely and made me completely at ease. There was one thing though, I found the tests a lot more difficult that I thought I would. In the past I’d taken similar tests and hadn’t found them that hard, which is why nothing was made much of an issue, I wonder now though if I had been trying too hard. As you’ll probably know from earlier blog posts I don’t like failing at anything. If my assessor hadn’t been so lovely I would have got incredibly nervous and stressed when I started struggling.

The end result was that I was obviously dyslexic, something I should have known before. I don’t have the final report but I have a problem with my short term memory, the way I hear things such as phonics and sounds and the rate my brain processes things is a lot slower than the average person. There are a few other things too but I can’t quite remember, either way so many things make sense now! I got incredibly excited when she began explaining what the tests meant and when I asked her about certain situations she said it was part of my dyslexia.

I’ll be talking to my driving instructor about this too as now it’s confirmed there can be special allowances made in my test to allow for the slow processing.I would also like to point out that there are so many different types of dyslexia that it doesn’t just meant people can’t read and write there are many different things. I struggle in particular with spelling, grammar, punctuation as well as that I REALLY struggle with telling my left from my right (which was incredibly embarrassing the older I got). Now I have to talk to the DSA so I can get help with my studies in the form of a mentor who specialises in dyslexia. So a tip for any of you out there who are struggling and feel you could have dyslexia, talk to your uni! I was able to get my test for free because of my household income (otherwise they are £300). It really could help you get the grade you deserve!