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.

Feminist Friday: Standing With Our Sisters in 2017

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It would be easy to say that, so far, 2017 hasn’t been a great year for women around the world. With the new President often making sexist comments, wanting to shut down Planned Parenthood, make abortions illegal etc, we thought we’d seen a bad hit. We came back with marches around the world. Later Russia were happy to decriminalise domestic abuse in the first instance, another hard pill to swallow for women. Every day we hear more and more stories in the news of girls being the victims of honour killings, acid attacks and the like. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, scared and confused about how things have gone so, so wrong when it’s only February.

Of course, we’ve also seen women and men speaking out against such injustices. Speak out against the governments letting women down and continuing to do so. I worried, when writing this blog that I was talking about the USA again. I feel like I think and write about it a lot, this isn’t because the UK doesn’t have it’s problems, it’s not because I don’t care about women who have it worse, it’s because I need to process what’s happening in what is supposedly one of the most forward thinking nations on the planet.

In these times of darkness, uncertainty and, quite frankly, madness, we need to be there for each other. We need to remember what has come before, that we prevailed. Now that we have social media we can show our support to causes all over the world, let our sisters know they are not alone, that we are thinking and campaigning alongside them. We don’t know what is going to happen, I wish I could say this is all a nightmare that will be over soon, but it might not.

All we have in this fight is each other, fighting amongst ourselves is what they want. Instead of tearing each other down or judging one another we need to lift each other up. We need to let men be our allies if they are willing to stand and fight with us for equality and against the government (hating all men won’t get us any further, it just won’t).

We will stand with our sisters in 2017 and beyond.

Feminist Friday: To Those Who Need Support Today

Hello,

When the election results were announced I, like many of you, was shocked, scared an angry. To express my feelings and reach out to those who were struggling I wrote an open letter to those who didn’t vote for Trump. I wanted to use tonight’s Feminist Friday post to speak not only to women but to all who feel they need a helping hand, to those who have been offended by Trump and his administration. I am speaking to women, the African-American community, the LGBTQA+ community, immigrants, the disabled, first generation Americas, various religious groups. To all of you. The rest of the world hasn’t forgotten you.

It’s not that I wanted to write tonight, I needed to write this. It was a compulsion. I caught the last half hour of the inauguration and was struck by the sorrow on Michelle Obama’s face. Her face said what so many people were thinking and feeling. The anger and confusion that a man who has a record of being sexist, a sexual predator, islamophobic, racist, the list goes on. I wanted to tell you that he doesn’t represent the American people. He shows that there is a flawed political system, that fear and hatred have been used as a tool to gain power.

The next four years are going to be tough, there’s no doubt BUT he is one person and there are ways that we can fight against his hatred around the world. When people care for each other and listen to each other the world becomes a better place. I was proud to hear about the Women’s Marches taking place today, about those who have stood up against the harassment of others, those who have made donations to Planned Parenthood. There are so many acts of defiance and kindness that we can choose to focus on, rather than him.

No matter how tough the next four years are, know that there is support for you, know that there is love in the world. There are people that will listen to your worries and concerns. I haven’t lost hope for America, I believe there is still good, decent and kind people who care about issues outlined above.

Stay strong, speak out, we love you.

Why We Need to Talk About Post University Depression

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It’s that time of year. Exams are long gone, results published and gowns ordered. We’re told that now is when we enter the ‘real world’ of jobs and adult things. While it is all new and exciting there is something that many people don’t, or don’t want to talk about, that’s the feeling of loss that comes with finishing university. There’s almost a feeling that you can’t be sad, you have a degree! You’re one of the lucky ones, right?

Post university depression is something that I’ve come across a lot online. Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself struggling sometimes and although people may just say that’s my pre existing depression, I can tell you it’s something different. You got from all the pressure and stress os exams to nothing in a matter of weeks and then from that point onwards you’re asked about what you’re going to do next, do you have a job lined up/ There’s also the inevitable, for most, of having to head back to the old town, into your old bedroom and having to stay with Mum and Dad again. Add that to not having your friends around the corner, is it any wonder it can all feel a little bit much?

Of course it’s not all bad BUT society just seems to have a filter when it comes to the impact that these changes can have on someone’s mental health. I’ve noticed that in the period straight after my coursework was handed in, a mere few days after deadlines I felt a huge pressure to get a job and know what every part of my life was going to be. I started falling back into more days spent in bed and more anxiety attacks about my future than I’d had in awhile and on top of it all the access to my mental health support was cut as soon as I handed in my last essay. With all the uncertainty, moving and, for some, not getting the result that they wanted there can be a lot impacting a person emotionally.

So, I’m writing this blog to start the conversation. To say that even though I have a job and it’s going well I still have days where I feel really down and can’t believe university is over. There are still nights when I just can’t sleep because I don’t know how to do this adult thing and I miss my friends and knowing that I just have to go to classes and read a lot. Apparently this is all normal, but we still don’t want to talk about it. I have to say if anyone feels like it really is more than just post uni blues PLEASE talk to someone about it, and if you feel you need to see a doctor (they’re not going to put a ‘crazy’ stamp on you and that’s that, trust me).

Sometimes we all need a little bit of help in times of change, you’re not alone.

 

 

image from Pinterest

Starting December right!

It’s been a pretty positive start to the week and now the month, just what I needed! There’s been some really shitty parts to this year, especially in the last few months so I’m determined to send 2015 off in a positive year and look forward to 2016…even if I am a little bit terrified of it! I wasn’t feeling particularly great about today, I was anxious about my gym class because of the pain I’ve been having but it turns out I didn’t need to be. That said I was already in a good mood from last night after having a long and lovely Skype conversation with Eleanor, it’s hard with her being all the way in New Zealand but we’re making it work.

Of course today is December 1st (I know, how is it December already?!?) so it’s advent calender time but since I haven’t been back home in a while I had no advent calendar this morning…the first time since I was 1. Luckily Mum text me a picture this morning of a maltesers advent calendar all for me, yay! I also picked up Star Wars ones for me and Ali too because IT’S FINALLY STAR WARS MONTH AND MY TICKETS ARE BOOKED, AHHHHHH.

As always I trekked to the hospital for 9am *sob* for my morning gym recovery class. I’d had a rough week last week so I was lucky I could talk to Mum before going and try and get in a good mindset before going in, got mistaken for a student nurse (I wish!) and got told that ‘surely I still have time to grow’ after I complained I was so tiny… the people in the class thought I was in my teens. Of course the real reason I was nervous was pain but I tackled all the machines, including a new one, and I kicked butt! There is no better feeling for me at the moment than coming home covered in sweat and knowing I’ve worked hard to get better, even if I do pay for it later. Oh and because my physio instructor for the gym is amazing I got given a sticker because I worked so hard…being the youngest has its perks!

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Another really amazing thing is that as I’ve mentioned before I’ve struggled with the fact I’ve put on weight because of the accident and recovery, as well as the implications of my medication. As I wrote before I won’t mention numbers on here but I can confirm my healthier eating habits and gradually building up movement is working I’m finally losing the weight I gained!! I’m really proud of myself for doing something healthy and my strength in will power!

I ended a good day with a great evening at The Fighting Cocks with Ali, Charlotte, Rhys and later Joe. I got to play in the quiz, laugh a lot, get drawn on and just get out of the house with no expectation to get drunk which was really nice. It also helps that whenever me and Charlotte hang out we can’t stop laughing.

I’m stupidly excited about this start to December and I hope more than anything it carries on!

I’m a teeny bit competitive

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I am a competitive person. I have been for a long time and since being at uni it’s definitely increased. Partly my need to achieve and be the best is to shut up my anxiety and depression who like the tell me that I’m shit but it’s got to this competitive stage, even though I’d never be mean about it. The person I’m the absolute worst to is myself, I am super competitive with me!

Today I was in my 2nd gym class and I’ve started taking into account the little exercise I can do as well as keeping track of what I’m eating and trying to control my portion sizes as well as make better choices. With that in mind and the fact that I already had physio yesterday I did something a little silly, I pushed myself too much. I was getting so happy to see the numbers going up and just the thought of being able to fit into some of my favourite clothes just spurred me on a little too much.

I’m pretty sore right now but I’ve learnt my lesson and I won’t over do it again. I’ve been very strict with myself about numbers, I don’t need anything else negative in my life or anything I could control in a bad way so I banned scales. I don’t have any in my flat apart from kitchen ones on purpose because I know that I would just constantly weigh myself, compare myself and get stupidly anxious over it and then cry and be unhappy, no matter how thin I was.

So in a way I’m doing this blind, there’s no number here. I have a rough idea of what I weighed a while ago and after the end of my sessions I will try on my dress and possibly look when I’m at my parents house but there will be NO obsessive checking because I got absorbed with weight as a teenager. That’s the lovely part of being a teenager, puppy fat, bullying, being told to go to weight watchers, all lovely stuff. The best thing about this recovery is there’s no pressure, just support. I chose to take the class, I’m choosing what I eat and what portion size I want and when I want a day off and a take away.

So maybe I need to work on being a little less competitive for all of this to work and stop being so hard on myself. After all this is recovery, not the Olympics and hopefully it will do wonders for my stress levels too!

Mental illness isn’t easy

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Up and down, up and down. Mental illness isn’t something easy to live with and as a uni student sometimes you get pressures that other people aren’t used to. I’ve been open and honest in the last three years on this blog about my life living with mental health issues. I’ve given speeches and I’ve tried to educate the people around me about illnesses. Despite all that I’m no superhero and I feel like that’s something I need to share because of course we post the most positive and best parts of our lives, but it’s not always real.

While I’m really happy to be back at uni and feel happiest when I’m in my lectures focusing and getting new ideas, when I’m on breaks I’m not as happy the depression creeps up and grabs me. I wish I could go I’m fine I’m great I never get depressed any more but that would be a lie. It is an illness and it is something I live with. I’ve found this week difficult, getting back into routine, dealing with the constant pain in my spine, trying to do the horse riding society, sorting band stuff out when shows are cancelled and organising everything else as well as doing my uni work and my job. It is a lot and I do get overwhelmed.

I guess the point of writing this is because I don’t want to seem like this person who has no worries, no troubles. I do struggle and I do have days where I just can’t face anything, need to switch my phone off and try and make my head stop spinning, usually by sleeping it off. I have days when I just feel like I can’t do anything or I’m angry because why the hell do I deserve this. At the same time though I’ve always said that having this illness really makes me appreciate happiness.

I don’t want people to freak out after reading this and call and text, this is part of my normal life. Just because I am open about it doesn’t mean that things are getting worse, there are times when I need my own time or I need time away but I’m dealing with my struggles in a much healthier way than I used to. I’ve lost horse riding but I’m playing with some other things and if all else fails I have my music.

I want to end this by saying don’t be afraid of admitting you have low days and that you’re not perfect. Having a mental illness doesn’t make you weak or stupid, it’s just something some of us have to deal with. As always I’m eternally grateful to the family, friends and incredible partner I have helping me through my fuzzy head days.

As always I love to hear from you guys and if you’d like to share your story feel free to email me chloefmetzger@gmail.com