World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2015

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I didn’t intend to write a post on mental health today, until I realised that World Mental Health Day had snuck up on me and I didn’t have anything planned. I think a lot about how much about mental health I should put onto my blog, am I putting too little in, am I putting too much in, will people just see me as an illness? It’s a big concern I have being so open about my issues and my life.

I’ve lived with issues since I was 11, I’d be extremely unhappy at school due to bullying. I’d say that the really awful depression started at around 15, so 6 years ago now. I’m in a much better place but I’m not ‘cured’ and I’ll probably live with this for the rest of my life, it’s just one part of me. It’s like my asthma or the weak knees I inherited, it’s just something that’s there which can make my life more difficult.

I’m fully aware that not everyone gets the help I now get and isn’t as open, and that’s fine! This is one of the most person illnesses you can have, if you don’t want to talk about it so be it! For a long time after my diagnoses although I felt some relief I couldn’t say it out loud I couldn’t say ‘I have depression’ because I was scared about what people would say, even now I have that and it’s sad. We need more education because at least one quarter of the population lives with a mental illness, so why is it still taboo?

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today, photo from the BBC

Love them (like me) or hate them, the royal family getting involved in mental health work and the fight against stigma can only be a good thing. I understand William’s public self helping with the cause due to his late mother, Princess Diana, who openly admit to struggling with Depression, Self-harm and Bulimia before she died. Catherine also has been strongly involved, particularly when it comes to young people, whether this is for personal reasons or not I cannot fault her. The fact that these young royals are being open and engaging will hopefully send a message to people or hope.

There’s also celebrities opening up more and more, I personally find inspiration in JK Rowling and Stephen Fry. When you see people in the public eye talking or just admitting that they also have a mental illness it makes you feel more normal, like you can achieve like they have and that you have someone to admire. I think it also makes them more human.

I thought a lot before writing this and I didn’t want it to be specifically about me, I just didn’t feel like exposing my emotions right now, partly because I’m in a bit of a werid headspace where my brain can’t work out of I’m on a high or a low…it’s really hard to explain. I did want to mention how interested people were at the open day today about the topic of mental health in my dissertation and going on in my PhD later hopefully. I wanted to mention how I came home and drew something to mark the day and try and get out how I was feeling whilst watching Stephen Fry’s ‘The Life of a Manic Depressive’ because I didn’t know what I wanted to write about. Like most people in his documentary said, my illness can make my life utter hell but at the same time I don’t know if I’d get rid of it.

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My art piece ‘ out of my mind’ 

10 Reasons to Keep Smiling

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We all have days where we need a little pick me up, sometimes for no reason. I decided to write 10 reasons to keep smiling, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing. The days are getting shorter and I for one know I have had a bit of  rough time lately so I hope you enjoy!

1. Smile at others 

This really does make you feel better! I usually like smiling at old people because you just see their whole face light up and it makes me feel good as well as them! Just one smile can change another persons whole day as well as yours!

2. Do something you love 

We all have loves, hobbies or just little things we enjoy doing. Since I’ve had to give up horse riding (which is really, really hard but not worth the risk to my health) I’ve had to find other things to do to unwind. Now I’ve started to write and draw more.

3. Be around people who make you feel good 

There is nothing worse than being around people who put you down or make you miserable. If your having an off day then staying away is a must! Stick around the people who make you smile just from their company and you’ll feel much better.

4. Write a list 

Write a list of things you need to do, things you’ve done, anything! If your struggling breaking it down can make you go ‘oh okay that isn’t as bad’. If you’re feeling happy anyway why not write a list of things you enjoy, places you want to visit etc (my top tip write in funky colours!).  If I’m really down I try and write down things to be grateful for.

5. Think of 5 things you are grateful you have 

I used to do this on the way to school to cheer myself up, it would make me focus on the positives in my life and then the negatives didn’t seem so bad at all. There are really simple thing to be grateful for for me they’re things like having a family to love and support me, that I can make music, that I have my education and a strong and solid relationship.

6. Comfort food IS OK!!!! 

I hate fad diets, if you want to eat then go eat. I can’t stand people talking to me about calories or trying to make me feel bad. Don’t let others dictate to you what you should eat if I want to go to McDonalds or get some chocolate I will, regardless of anyone else!

7. Turn the music up and dance like nobody can see you 

This is great especially when your cleaning just dance around like your bonkers and make yourself laugh. I like doing this with my sister when we agree on music 🙂

8. Give someone a hug 

Hugs are great, I love hugs.

9. Read a good book 🙂 

Oh come on could I really leave this out?! Reading just takes me away to an entirely different place.

10. Laughter is really the best medicine

I will watch funny Youtube video, stand up comedy and movies. That or I’ll be around people I know I love to laugh with.

Laugh lots. Laugh while you love. Laugh while you live.  

What are your reasons to keep smiling?

Teaching…hmmm

I’ve been at my placement school for a little over 2 weeks now. I don’t write much about it because I do a lot of observing and some working with the kids. I’ve found that the more I work with them in groups the more I feel like a young person, not a teacher and certainly not someone who wants to tell them off. The boys respect me and  I them so this doesn’t happen too often.

The one thing I’ve learned about working with teenagers is you have to respect them, they’re damn intelligent and worth listening too. A lot of people disregard teenagers views (myself included in the people who aren’t listened to) and I just want to stand up and shout LISTEN TO US WE ARE THE NEXT ONES TO TAKE ON THE MESS YOU MADE. As you see not  a very treachery thing to say. I sitll have a lot of placement to go and hopefully I’ll start feeling more like a teacher.

Take the next exit out of my brain

I’ve realised that I need to be honest in my blog, it may not always be interesting but I did say I would be brutally honest about my experience as a fresher. For the first time in my life the university has taken an interest in my mental health and sometimes I think it makes certain people feel better that they are helping someone with a condition. Don’t get me wrong I am really grateful that people are there to help me and support me if I need it but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

The last 4 years of my life have been spent with depression (diagnosed or not) and so now I’m pretty used to it. I’ve gone from the past 4 years of people in education seeing me as a problem and people around me not really knowing how to help. As for the doctors? I can think of a few who should re take whatever classes they had on depression in teenagers. It took six different doctors to get a diagnosis for depression and anxiety because I was a teenager and it all had to do with my moods. Bull shit did it. It took so long because my medical notes were selective.

I don’t know if she’ll ever read it but I’ll say here and now my mother is a saint. It’s because of her and Ali that I didn’t completely lose my head. While my head is clear I can remember the countless times she took me to doctors to explain what the bullying was doing to me physically as well as mentally. It’s because of my mum that I’m not more screwed up, because she knew when I needed time. She knew when going to school wasn’t an option because I couldn’t cope any more. For 19 years my mum has been my own personal soldier and she’s damn good at it. She might have had the schools trying to avoid her but she never gave up on making sure I was ok. She knew which doctors to take me to so they would try and intervene with the school (at one point I had well over a month off because of stress…I now think that was my anxiety.

The reason I write about my mum is because she was one of the very few people who doesn’t ask a million questions that all start with why. I’ve started reading Michael Thomas Ford’s Suicide Notes and it’s a character I can identify with. Not because I’ve ever tried to kill myself, because he hates being questioned. I’ve been given a mental health advisor and a mental health mentor and boy oh boy do they love asking how I feel and why. Sometimes I just want to shout because I do, leave me alone and I might work it out.

I’ve had various mentors, councillors, people who have been assigned to work with me ‘through my problems’ and they all either try and blame my ‘issues’ on my relationship with Ali or they try and ‘fix’ me. Both of these just piss me off on a daily basis/whenever I have to talk to them. I’m quite lucky with my advisor, he doesn’t question me, he knows I just like getting things done and out of the way. My mentor on the other hand wanted to touch on my relationship a few weeks back and that just isn’t happening. It’s not because of her, she’s lovely and very respectful it’s because of my past councillors. They all try and ‘understand’ me and then try blaming my relationship. Why do I share my boyfriends friends?, Why do I spent so much time with him?, Why am I sure we will stay together blah blah blah. In the past they’ve all tried to psychoanalyse me and pin my ‘issues’ on something. Never mind the bullying that lasted more of my teenage life and a fair bit of my childhood, it has to be the boyfriend. One of the idiot ones said we had a ‘parent-child relationship’ when I showed her a picture to make me feel less nervous. Needless to say I never went back.

Whenever people hear who have or have had a mental illness they want to analyse you. Your brain is the great attraction and they’ve all be waiting to have a look around. Here’s the secret, you take a left, then a right and get the fuck out of my brain. I guess if I’m making this post useful I have one thing to say to others who are reading. If you ever find yourself in a session and you don’t want to reply or they’re starting the brain tour then just remember you’re in control. It’s your mind, don’t let anyone put words in your mouth.

Uni sure is a crazy place

Today had been quite abnormal for more than one reason and sometimes you realise that moving from a town to a big city wasn’t your smartest move. Ok so let’s start with Surbiton where I currently live (and will be swiftly moving out of come June). There are two parts of Surbiton the nice part which is stunning and a weird grubby part, I’m kind of in the middle. Today after getting off the bus at the station I was shocked to find a woman look at me and start screaming at me. She ranted and raved at me and nobody batted an eyelid she she told me I was ‘f***ing miserable’ and to ‘get my tits out’, because apparently if you do that you get a fella…according to her anyway. Nobody stopped, nobody looked, nobody wanted to help, they just kept their heads down. So I done what any normal human being would do…I went and bought a whole pizza for myself and dessert. Well it is Friday. Plus I’m sure you guy would find me boring if I was on a constant diet like someone I heard today who is worryingly on a diet where she replaces food with cigarettes… something I will never understand.

Apart from the Surbiton divide halls have also become an odd place with reports of fights breaking out again and some drunk loser taking a s**t on the stairs outside our flat after we wouldn’t let him into the flat. It’s just becaomse accepted that people will get drunk or high and that is a ‘good time’. Now maybe it’s time I got into my granny pants but doesn’t it get boring? Maybe it’s just me. 

Either way the most abnormal thing today was the way people reacted to a lack of internet. 15 universities internet was knocked out, meaning my presentation went to pieces. I’m not good with presenting anyway unless I’m singing, not having material made me want to hide under the table ( I didn’t you’ll be pleased to know). Still everything just seemed to shut down for some reason, people completely panicked. I wont lie and say I wasn’t irritated that some moron stole the server but it just proved how reliant we are on technology now. It wasn’t all bad though I ended up spending the morning with my lovely tutor group after our tutor bought us hot chocolate and muffins today, due to not being able to do our online work (yeah we’re not grown up enough for coffee yet, well we don’t think we should be anyway). 

Now I’m off to a very loud and messy Christmas party…let’s see how this goes!