Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Love Letter To Myself: 100th Post


Dear Jade,
2015 has been a complete rollercoaster of a year. There have been some incredible highs, but also some devastating lows. I can't believe that we are now gradually nearing the end, and we are fast approaching 2016! Where has the time gone? It's quite literally flown by!
During the past year, you have learnt a lot, and you have achieved more things than I could have ever imagined. I understand that 2014 wasn't your best year. You went through a lot of personal struggles, and there were so many times when you wanted to give up, buy you got through it - you go girl!

You started off 2015 on a high. You vowed that you were going to try your best to be positive, and stay strong through everything. January actually did start off very well. You suspected that the year probably wasn't going to be easy, because let's be real, when is life ever easy, but you had told yourself that you were going to make the most of it, and turn things around from the past few years. Nothing that eventful really happened in January for you. You struggled quite a lot when you first went back to school, but I think that as time has gone on, you have learnt to deal with what other people think, and now, it doesn't even really bother you half as much as it did back then. You were happy, and you were trying to be positive, but at the same time, you still felt kind of low. You were excited to see what the next 12 months had to offer for you though.
In February, you started your relationship with Charlie. You honestly couldn't have been happier if you tried. It was like everything that had gone so horribly wrong in previous years had just completely fallen together, like your jigsaw puzzle had finally fit into one piece. You really did deserve that happiness though. I know you didn't believe that you did at the time, but you honestly did. You lasted 7 months with him, even though it was quite a rocky relationship at times. You never knew what love was until you met him, and got involved with him. He helped you through some of your darkest times, and he was one of the people who guided you towards the light at the end of the tunnel. You also met some incredible friends this year, and they were there for you during the highs, and the lows. You did lose some friends, but they weren't ever worth your time in the first place. The ones who are meant to be in your life have came, and stuck by you, so that's all that matters. You now know who to keep close to your heart, and who you can trust. You're aware of the people that have done you wrong, and believe me girl, you aint ever letting them losers back in your life again! You can now enter 2016 with the right people by your side, and you can focus on giving them love, and affection. The haters don't matter. Nuh uh.

There have been many highlights for you in 2015 and above is a collage of some of them. Back in April, you started up your very own blog. You had no idea if you would stick at it, or even if you would get anywhere at all, but now, you have come further than you could have ever imagined. You may not have the most followers, but you have made yourself so proud, and you have learnt so much over the past few months. You have made new friendships, and strengthened old ones, you have discovered new places, and you have also learnt many life lessons along the way. You may have gone through many difficulties, and sometimes, you would want to give it all up, but that's okay. Life isn't meant to be perfect. You can't expect to wake up everyday to find yourself greeted with love, and sunshine. Things will be difficult, and there may be times where you can't even summon up the strength to get out of bed in the morning to face the day, but that's allowed.
Not everyone will like you, and sometimes you will feel like your world is falling apart, but each day, you will get stronger, and each day, you will remind yourself of why you are alive. What other people think of you is irrelevant. That's none of your concern. You do you, and leave them to do things their way. Don't allow negative people to interfere with your mindset. You are here on this Earth to be able to change people's lives, and positively make a difference in whatever way you can. I am so, so proud of everything that you have come through this year, and everything that you have managed to achieve. There are still some days where it feels like you're falling into that depressive, deadly hole again, and sometimes when you're in that mind-set, you not only take it out on yourself, but you also take it out on those who love you the most. You need to learn to stop being so harsh, and to stop pushing people away. You now know who cares about you, and who genuinely wants to be in your life for as long as they possibly can. So, stop taking it out on them when all they want to do is help you, and don't over-react quite so much, when there really is no need to. Just listen to your heart, and your loved ones. You can't go wrong with that Jadey. Don't ever doubt your gut instincts. If you feel that something is wrong, or there's something not quite right about someone, then chances are that you're right. And if you feel anxious, or unsafe in any sort of situation, regardless of what it is, then remove yourself. There have been far too many occasions where you have put yourself in danger, or at risk of danger, and that's not okay. That's never okay. Back then, you should have just walked away. I know you felt a sense of uncertainty, and discomfort, but you should have just walked off, even if it meant walking off on your own. Now you are always with at least one person you feel safe with, so let's hope there will be no more of these situations next year.

Although you have still experienced your fair share of ups, and downs this year (what do you expect, you are human!), I am still so immensely proud of you, and all that you have achieved. It's not only just the little things, like continuing to go to school every day, even though at times you feel suffocated with fear, and dread, or never failing to have a smile on your face. You always try to be smiley, and positive. It may not work at times, but you try, and that's all that matters. But, as I said, I'm not only proud of those little achievements. I'm also proud, because of the bigger things that you have achieved. You met up with one of your close friends Megan, and you travelled all the way by yourself, and spent the whole day up in London together. You even managed to have one of the best days ever, without getting yourself into a complete panic! Go you! You also went to Southend, and went on all of the rollercoasters that you were in awe of, yet petrified of for the past 5, or more years of your life. I mean, it may not seem like a big deal to some people, but it was very difficult for you to overcome those fears, but you did, and you had an amazing time. It feels good to be proud of yourself, doesn't it? I know you don't often give yourself much praise Jadey, but you really haven't done too badly this year girl. You still get very anxious, and you blow things way out of proportion on a daily basis, but hey, that's you. And that's okay. You have your regular mood swings, and you scream, and shout, and moan, and groan for hours on end, maybe even days on end. But, hey. That's you. And that's also okay. In the words of Jess Glynne, don't be so hard on yourself. Don't put yourself down, just because things are starting to get better, and you are beginning to see the sun through those ever looming clouds. It's okay to be happy. I know you find it scary when happiness comes to you, and you feel like you have to push it away, and say no to it, because you don't believe that you deserve happiness, but you do! Listen to your heart, and listen to what your loved ones are saying. They care, Jadey. They want you to be happy. It doesn't do you any good to come home crying, and to threaten that you are going to stop talking to people, just because you've had a rubbish day due to other reasons that are in no way whatsoever related to that person. You are such a positive, loving girl, who has so much to give. So, instead of trying to improve other people's happiness, and positivity levels all of the time, you should split it 50/50. Of course, you should help, and support other people as much as you possibly can, but don't you dare neglect yourself in the process. You are as worthy of love as anyone else is. So, please listen to yourself here, and stop denying the fact that you deserve love, and happiness.

I know that next year is going to be an amazing year for you. You have learnt so much, and come so far during 2015, and I have no doubt in my mind that you will succeed even further during 2016. I'm sure that so many doors are going to open for you - more than you could ever imagine, and each day, you will continue to not only amaze yourself with what you achieve, but those around you, who love you the most. I expect that you will surpass 100 followers, make even more people happy with the words that you use, strengthen your friendships, and relationships with certain special people in your life, succeed throughout the whole of Year 10, which is your first year of GCSE's, become more involved in the things that you enjoy (reading, writing, singing, baking, photography, blogging, and a few others), learn how to manage your time properly, capture, and create many more memories with your loved ones, and I also hope that you learn to be genuinely happier, and less stressed, if you can help it. I have no doubt that you will try to make the year as amazing as it can be. I do think it would be a beneficial idea if you set a couple of small goals though. I'm not going to say resolutions, as neither you, or I believe in setting 'resolutions' as such, but I have an idea of some of the goals you should set yourself. They are all achievable, and they will all help you in some way.

Try to gain some confidence within yourself, and don't be so doubtful
Learn how to manage your time, and organise your life a little better
Go out of your comfort zone - say yes to any opportunity you feel will help you
Up your blogging game - work on the photography, writing, and layout in general
Try to be kinder, and more understanding to everyone - forget the arguments
Make exciting plans, as often as possible, and get out whenever you can
Continue to get involved in the things that you love, and that make you most happy
Take some time out to relax, and recharge. It will do you the world of good.
Spend time with those who are closest to you. Don't let them feel unappreciated.
Try your hardest at school. It's difficult, but you are doing so well. Keep it up.


Before I come to the end of this letter, I just want to give you a couple of pieces of advice that may help you along the way during your journey into, and through 2016.

Follow your intuition, always
Be smart, and brave, as often as you can.
Think of other people before you speak, or act in a certain way.
Always tell the truth, no matter how terrible it may seem at times.
Don't take any rubbish off of anyone - no matter who they are.
Remember that you deserve everything wonderful in your life.
Stay true to who you are. Do what you love to do, and keep those things close to you.
Take time out every once in a while. You get easily over-whelmed with your emotions.
Work on your creative side, your mental side, your social side, and your physical side.
Use your experiences to help others overcome their own problems. Be kind-hearted.
Go for the things/people/experiences that make YOU happy, and help you grow as an individual.
Don't be two-faced, hypocritical, attention-seeking, or evil - they are not nice qualities.
Never tell someone that they are wrong until you have seen things from their view.
Make sure that a lot of incredible things happen this year. Whether they are big, or small.

Jadey. I hope you like this letter, and I hope you see how much time, and thought has really, truly gone into it. People often tell you that you have impacted their life, and that you have a gift of making others happy. That's something that you should take care of. Don't let that gift go, and don't ever change yourself for anyone, or anything. I'm sure you have many other goals for 2016, but if you put your positive lil mind to it, anything is possible.

Lots of love

x



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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Majorca Montage

 


 

 




 
 




 
Although I am not too keen on the process that you have to take in order to begin travelling (taxi, airport, airplane etc), I really enjoy visiting new places, and exploring undiscovered surroundings. I love documenting all of the different things that I do, and witness, and seeing how other people live in different places around the world. The memories that I created and captured will last a lifetime, and so I will always be able to remember this holiday, and all of the exciting things that I experienced whilst there.
 
Whilst I was on my summer holidays, I stayed in Cala Bona, which is in the island of Majorca. The place that we stayed in was called the Floriana Resort, and I honestly couldn't have asked to have stayed anywhere better. It was such a beautiful, welcoming resort, and the people were honestly so kind, and friendly. Everything was spotlessly clean, and the food was incredible too!
 
 
During my visit, I mainly sunbathed, and spent time relaxing in the resort, but I did go on a few little adventures too. On the Thursday, (a week after being there) I went on a boat trip along the coast with my granddad, and my stepdad. It wasn't really a proper boat trip, because we just went along for about 45 minutes, until we reached Cala Ratjada, and then a load of people got off, and more got on, but we decided to stay on, as we didn't want to pay extra for another ticket! I really did enjoy it, even though it wasn't exactly what any of us had initially expected, and I did get a bit bored and nauseous towards the end, but the sights were insanely gorgeous. I really enjoyed spending quality time with my granddad, and it was nice to have a change of scenery. It's not everyday you go on a boat on the Mediterranean sea! As for other activities, myself and my grandparents spent the day going on an island tour of Majorca. It was incredible, and one of my favourite experiences by far. I have done a separate blog post on it, if you would like to have a look. I find looking at different places so fascinating, and it was lovely to spend some quality time with the people I love the very most.
We also went to the beach, and up to look at the shops, and little cafes along the seafront.
I bought a couple of little souvenirs during my stay, because who doesn't buy souvenirs when they go away on holiday? It would be silly not to really!
 
We spent the rest of the trip enjoying the wonderful weather, and topping up our tans, and devouring a bit too much ice-cream! All in all, I would really recommend staying at Majorca, and particularly the Floriana resort. I honestly didn't want my trip to end. Of course, it means back to school now, so the hard work has to begin, and the fun is over for another year! So, until my next holiday...
 
 
 
Jade x


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Monday, 31 August 2015

Mallorca Island Tour


During my holiday in Mallorca, I went out for the day and I did an island tour with my grandparents to get to know a little more about the fascinating surroundings. I can honestly say that it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and although it was expensive, it was worth every second.

We started off the day by getting picked up at our hotel by a coach. We had a tour guide, who's name was Brigitte (I believe) and the idea was that she was going to be taking us to various tourist locations throughout the day and talking us through the whole experience.

After picking us up from Cala Bona, the coach started picking up other t9ourists from various other hotels in places such as Porto Cristo and Cala Millor. This took quite a while, but after the stop-off's, we had all our families on board and we were ready to start our super exciting adventure!

We drove through Cala Ratjada, Manacor, and Sineu and other places along the way, admiring the sights whilst we drove around. There was plenty of agriculture, natural goods, such as olive trees and cereals and plenty of space for people to grow their own crops. Brigitte told us that workers start very early in the morning and they carry on for many hours of the day. That shows how much dedication the Spaniards put into their jobs.

After that, we stopped off in Inca at a leather store to look at all the handmade items. There were so many different bags, wallets, purses, shoes, and clothes. It was honestly wonderful and you could really smell the leather, as soon as you walked through the door. It was quite a large store, and there was such a variety of things that you could have chosen from, but we didn't have enough time to look properly.


The Sa Calobra road was created by Antonio Paretti, but trust me when I say it isn't for the faint hearted! At times, it feels like you are literally going to fall right off the edge, but the views are absolutely incredible. Imagine how long it must have taken to build.. It's absolutely insane, right?
Then we went up through the mountains where there was a lot more agriculture (it's a massive thing in Mallorca!), greenery and terraced housing. It was all so lovely, and it made such a refreshing change from somewhere so manufactured such as England. The terraces are known as dry terraces, especially due to the vast amounts of olive trees that are in the area. Olive oil and olives are known to be the gold of Mallorca.

There are a lot of private properties with fences , because there may be sheep and goats in the area, and if there are a lot of hiking trails that take place there, this could have a negative effect on the local animals, hence why the hikers have a special wooden ladder to go up.
There are also cyclists who go up the mountains for the variety of landscapes.
In the centre of the island, there are plenty of houses and properties, and in Inca, there is a lot of nature, and a variety of different landscapes, as I just mentioned. It's all very much organic, so you get a lot of greenery, rather than manmade buildings that can give off pollution that harm the atmosphere. There is also a forest through the mountains, which is considered to be holy, but I didn't quite hear all the details of that, and I don't want to say the wrong things, so I'll leave you to research that one if you wish to find out more!

We also passed the Lluc monastery in the Tramuntana mountains, and although I couldn't see too much, as I was on the other side of the coach, the views that I could see looked honestly spectacular.
This particular monastery that we passed is Mallorca's holiest shrine and it has been around since 1229. How incredible is that?!

The next area that we passed was Sa Calobra, after admiring the Torrent de Pareis narrow canyon, which was also an incredibly breath-taking experience! It's typically a boating port, with a row of little restaurants and cafe's alongside it. 
 
We were then allocated an hour or so for a lunch break and a chance to look around Port de Soller, which I couldn't wait for! We were truly exploring the sights - I felt like such a little tourist! I got an ice cream, which was proper, rich chocolate with little chocolate flavoured flakes in it and I ate it on the wall, overlooking the port. I also had a look in a little souvenir shop below a restaurant and I bought some little souvenirs; an intricate fan with a map and little images of Mallorca, a postcard of Soller, and an ornamental butterfly. Who visits a new place without buying any souvenirs?!
 

After that, we walked down what seemed like 1 million and 1 steps to get to the boat. The views of the sea and the mountains on the way up were absolutely incredible, so I guess that kind of made up for it! Once we had boarded the boat and everyone had settled, then off we went!
It was honestly beautiful, although you could only see cliffs and pure sea, but it was ever so rough and bumpy, which I must say I wasn't a fan of at all! At least we made it safely to the shore though!
 


Once we had got off the boat, we realised we had arrived at Soller. My grandparents had been there before, and after the stories they had told me, and the images I saw, I was so desperate to take a look for myself! I can honestly say I was not disappointed in the slightest. I had a drink in a café whilst looking around and waiting for our tour guide to meet us and it was honestly like nothing I've ever seen before. I was quite literally blown away by the whole experience, if I'm honest.

Then, after a 30 minute delay, our old-fashioned tram arrived! I was so excited and intrigued, as I had never even seen one before, let alone been on a real-life one. It was very packed and crowded, and everyone was very hot and flustered, and I couldn't see much as I was crammed up against the tiny slither of window, but it was a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity none-the-less. We went through the town and past the breath-taking beach, and we also came very close to the little market stalls selling handmade, unique goods and fresh, handmade cupcakes! It was so lovely!
Soller really is such a beautiful, little antique village and I would have loved to have spent longer there.

Once we had gotten off the tram, we went straight onto the train. Just like the tram, it went at quite a slow, steady pace, so people could really relax, sit back, take photographs and enjoy the ride. I couldn't see too much, or get many nice pictures, as I was on the wrong side of the train (there weren't as many pretty sights, or decent photo opportunities that I could capture on my side!), and I wasn't quick enough anyway, but it was such a lovey experience. It went through 13 tunnels altogether, and we saw many mountains, hills and fields along the way. I really did enjoy it, although I didn't see as much as I would have liked too! I would definitely do something like this again though!

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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Mental Health Monday #8 | My Self-Harm Story {Trigger Warning}

 
Making the decision to write this blog post has been one of the most challenging things that I have ever done in my entire life. It has taken me months to build up the courage, as it is a very personal subject to me and I find it one of the most difficult, painful things to talk about. It has taken me such a long time, because I have battled with self-harm for a couple of years now, on and off, but now I'm 6 months clean and I feel as though I am strong enough to be able to confess my story. I feel so strongly about raising awareness for mental health issues, and as this is something that I have dealt with through experience, I can express my personal feelings, in the hope that it will not only raise awareness, but it may be able to help some of you, as the personal element will make my story easier to relate to. I won't be going into too much detail, but I have included a trigger warning in the title, in case some people find parts of my story too sensitive, or too upsetting, so please only read on if you know that you will be able to handle this type of content. Just put your own safety first before reading on.

Self-harm is when somebody intentionally hurts or damages their body. It's a way of coping with or expressing overwhelmingly painful emotions/thoughts. There are a number of different reasons as to why someone may start self-harming, but no matter what the situation, it should be taken very seriously. One of the most common misconceptions is that self-harm is only when you cut yourself. I cannot stress how false this assumption is. Self-harm can be anything from banging your head against a wall, to punching objects, scratching, burning, binge-eating, forcing yourself to be sick - it can be anything that is harmful to yourself in anyway. If you think that your life is in danger, (if you cut too deep, for example), then go to a&e or call for an ambulance immediately. It is so important that you are safe and any wounds are treated straight away. Whilst you are waiting for the emergency services or whilst you are on your way to a&e, try to apply direct pressure on the wound with a clean cloth or a tissue until the bleeding stops. At a life-threatening time like this, I think that it would be the best time to open up and tell a loved one. You can either write a letter to them, call them up, sit them down in private or text them - do whatever you feel most comfortable with. Try to stay as calm as you can and be as honest as you feel you can be. Your loved ones are not there to judge you. They are there to help and support you, no matter what the problem is and particularly if your life is in danger. If they were to initially react badly, just remember to remain calm and ask if you can talk properly about it. Remind them that it is not their fault, but maybe tell them why you are doing it if you feel it will help them to understand the situation a little better. They are there to help, not to judge remember.



The hardest, longest battle for me first began in 2013. After a roller coaster ride at my primary school, I was so excited, yet nervous to be starting at a brand new school. Having only one familiar face join me, it was a completely fresh start. I thought that things could only get better. Of course, I had my doubts, because any first experience is scary, but I held onto hope nonetheless. I struggled with settling in and making new friends, because I'm naturally quite a reserved, quiet person and I was even more so then. I did eventually get talking to people, but it was quite a struggle. 
Not many people liked me when I first started. Most people would pick on me, tease me for no reason at all, exclude me from friendship groups. I still vividly remember the residential end of year trip that we went on that summer and I was so incredibly low most of the time. From what I remember, I first cut myself then, but I didn't count it as a real cut. I was shaving my arms and I 'accidentally' made it bleed. I had a particularly hard week at the time, from what I remember, so I do think that was the beginning.

A little while later, things started going downhill again and it became harder for me to deal with my thoughts and emotions. There was a lot going on during that period of time and because I didn't really have anyone that I could properly talk to, I felt like I had to deal with it myself. Every time I'd try and open up to a 'friend', they would eventually end up leaving me and just stop talking to me altogether.
During that time, I felt more alone than I had ever before. All these emotions really hit me; loneliness, hurt, sadness, anger. But, I was powerless. What was I supposed to do? The way that I chose to deal with emotions and release the pain was through self-harm. I'd heard a lot about it during the end of Year 7 and Year 8, but no matter how hard things got, it was never a suggestion that had occurred to me. I just couldn't see why I would feel the need to do it. I was only 12, but although I knew people struggling, I just didn't think about it much at all back then. I remember questioning my friends as to why they were doing it. I didn't understand. Until I did it myself that dreaded evening.

The first time I properly cut was in November/December 2013, from what I remember. I was talking to my friend that evening and I was telling her that I felt the urge to cut myself. She was talking to me, trying to comfort me and encourage me to calm down, but I wasn't listening. The only thing on my mind was cutting to try and get rid of all of the things that I was feeling. When I  did it seriously for the first time (intentionally), I remember that I was in the bathroom, over the sink and I picked up the razor. I put my phone down, away from me, and I just stared at the razor and in the mirror for a little while. I had the door locked, as my mum and her boyfriend were downstairs in the kitchen. When I made my first cut, it didn't really bleed and I didn't feel that much, which startled me. I was thinking to myself, hold on, why isn't this hurting as much as I'm sure it's supposed to? So, I did it again. Not once, not twice, but about 10 times, all up my wrist. It did begin to hurt. A lot. But, it felt like the nice kind of pain, satisfying, like it was a release from all these built-up thoughts and feelings. Once I'd put the razor down, I felt quite shocked. Had I seriously just self-harmed? Did I actually just cut my wrist, on purpose and more than once? Of course, I had reasons for doing it, but that doesn't mean I wasn't completely baffled by the fact that I had actually done what I thought I'd never, ever do.
I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, as I don't want to trigger anyone, or make any of you feel uncomfortable or emotional in anyway, but it did get a lot worse than that. I continued to go through hell and I did, unfortunately, continue to self-harm. I would constantly have to wear long sleeves, even in the boiling hot heat, which did make quite a few people suspicious. Eventually, most people began to find out anyway. I told a select number of friends through trust, in the hope that they would be able to understand, or even support me, and I did get some support, but it still didn't make things much easier. As I said, eventually most people began to find out anyway and they'd be grabbing my arm, tugging at my sleeves and trying to pull them up, making me promise to never do it again and to stop doing it; but it was never that easy. It got serious at one point, during Year 8 (last year) and I think the cuts ended up getting infected, but I obviously didn't tell any adult, so I was never 100% sure. They went from the very start of my wrist, to the part where your arm bends, near the elbow.
I'd only ever do it on my left arm, on the wrist part, so that I could sometimes cover it with sleeves and bracelets, but I couldn't bandage my entire arm up when it got seriously bad, so that was a problem. I also remember that when I was in a really low stage back in Year 7, I'd follow accounts of genuinely depressed people, who would post upsetting, suicidal quotes and self-harm images quite regularly. I'd also look up sad hash tags when I went to bed every night and scroll through all these images and quotes, because I genuinely felt that low. It obviously didn't make me feel much better.

I'd often try and stay clean for a week or a month or so, but I'd usually always end up relapsing. I wrote a diary entry on the day that I relapsed. It was on the 3rd November 2014. It went like this, "Dear Diary, Today I relapsed. I cut my skin again. It feels like everything is just building up and I take so much but surely everyone has a breaking point and I will eventually snap? The ----- situation, -----, hate, isolated feelings at school and other things have just mounted up so much. I guess I just couldn't resist the urge anymore. I just wanted to do it again. To feel something at least. I only made a mark in the shower at first. Then about 10:15, I made about 10 cuts on my wrist. I felt the pain and I guess that was all I really wanted. It didn't exactly help me gain anything, but at least I knew when to stop. It hurts quite a lot, but I love the pain. Sometimes it's hard to believe it's like my addiction, considering I still can't believe I started, but oh well, it's done now. I miss ------ very much and especially this weekend/today. I'm gradually pushing people away and isolating myself, but oh well."
The reason I've put dashes is because I don't want to name any names, as this post is already personal enough! I kept trying to recover and 'fix' myself, but it didn't seem like anything was making the pain more bearable. I was stuck in a cycle of sadness, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and it was a huge struggle. A never-ending struggle that lasted for months on end. I couldn't see anyway out either.

It had gotten to the last day of December 2014 and I had finally decided that enough was enough. I couldn't go on like this any longer. It wasn't getting me anywhere, it wasn't helping and it was actually causing more damage than I had initially thought it would. Once you start self-harming, it can be the hardest thing in the world to stop. You get so used to doing something so regularly that it becomes a coping mechanism. I would continuously go back to self-harm if I was going through a bad time. It was the one thing that I'd return to rather than getting proper, beneficial help. I made the wrong decision. I was left with painful scars on my arm that would not heal and even more feelings that wouldn't go away. All throughout my time of self-harming, I would send emails to ChildLine about my issues. Just knowing that someone is there everyday can be a massive help to a self-harmer.

If you genuinely do want to recover and you don't want this addiction to carry on for the rest of your life, then you need to seriously try and stop. The first step is the hardest. Making the decision to actually stop harming your body is the hardest step. But it's the most important. If you can get through the first day, then you can get through many more in the future. The key is to take small steps. Start off by being a day clean, then a week, then two weeks and just gradually work your way up. Sometimes just getting to one day is hard enough, but I believe in you and you should believe in yourself! Anything is possible if you try your very hardest. There will be down days and there will be times when you just want to give up, eat tonnes of chocolate and cry into a pillow, but that IS okay. Recovery is never easy, but it is absolutely possible. Believe that you can do it and you will be able to get through it in the end. You need to accept that there will be low points, but you have to have the courage to pick yourself back up. If you have a bad day, then just come home, have a cry and some comfort food, take a bath and then snuggle up in bed with some relaxing music and a teddy bear!
Things usually blow over by the next morning, so distract yourself and find other things to do (watch a movie, call a loved one, have a pamper evening, bake some cookies) until you go to sleep! Try to stop thinking about self-harm, because there is no reason to hurt yourself over a temporary feeling/situation. Talk to someone if you are struggling, please. I promise you, it really does help to get things off your chest. Quite often, people take their emotions out on themselves, because they have no other way to get rid of them. So, talk to someone! I know it may feel like the last thing that you would want to do, but you will honestly feel so much better about it if you do so. If you feel like you don't have anyone to trust, then get in contact with a helpline through email, text, phone or letter.
You can always talk to me too. All you have to do is either dm me on Instagram (jademillard_), message me on Snapchat (jadeymillard_x) or email me (jade_millard@icloud.com) - I will always be more than happy to talk to you! It's important to have at least one person to trust, in my opinion. All you have to do is get in contact with me through one of the social media platforms and I will help and listen to any of you, regardless of what your problems may be. I know what it feels like to be self-harming and suicidal, I honestly do and I can truly understand that you may not want to tell anyone, but everything that you tell me stays 100% confidential, just between me and you. I only want to help as many of you as I can, because I don't want you to feel how I did for those horrendous years.


Life genuinely is too short and precious to be constantly harming yourself and constantly wanting to die. You are here for a reason. Your heart beats every single day and it continuously pumps oxygen through your body in order for you to survive. We still have our entire lives ahead of us. We could be professors, celebrities, role models, charity fundraisers, life-changers; we can be anything that we want to be. We all struggle and we all go through terrible phases in our life. But we have to have the strength to carry on and remain positive. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and those who are always willing to help you. So what if it's a stranger? At least you will be helping yourself and making someone else feel pleased at the same time. Do you honestly want to spend the rest of your life waking up, simply wishing for death to come and take you away> You would be distraught and completely crushed if you knew someone was harming themselves intentionally or contemplating suicide. You would most likely try and comfort them or find them support in some way. So why can't you allow yourself to receive that? Why are you so different to everyone else? We all make mistakes. We are all human. You are no less important than any other human being. We are all equal. We are all the same. We all breathe, we all live our everyday life, we all have a family or friends. We are all human. I know that you may think there is no escape right now, but I promise you, I absolutely swear to you, that things can get better.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we may be tested and pushed to our limits, but we are never too weak for anything. We can always find the strength to fight any battle we are given. We are all warriors and we are capable of overcoming any obstacles that may be in our way. Every single situation and person that you are faced with, you are faced with them for a reason. Every single experience that you have is used to shape the person that you are. Every single person that you come across, whether positively or negatively, will have an effect on the person that you have become. All you can do is make sure that you are the best version of you that you possibly can be and don't let anything or anyone get in the way of your dreams or your successes. There will, of course, be tough times, and there will be times where you feel it is the end, but you have to carry on.
You need to focus on building yourself up, focusing on yourself and your future and then radiate positive energy and kindness into the universe, as helping other people will make you feel better about yourself and your personal issues too. All of the terrible things that you are going through will actually help you in the end. Once you have made yourself feel better and you have shifted your negative attitude into a positive one, then you can focus on helping other people and spreading kindness, so that others can learn from your experiences. That's exactly what I'm trying to do.
I have had some horrible, horrible things happen to me during my childhood and recent years.
I can openly admit that I have struggled, I have self-harmed and I have been suicidal. But, I'm not letting that get me down and ruin my chances of a future. I'm going to take each day as it comes and try to make the most of every moment. Where will negativity honestly get you? It will just make everything 10000 times worse. Whereas positivity will increase your self-esteem, open up so many exciting opportunities, help you to make new friends, allow you to share your story and help others and so much more! If you are known as a positive person, you will have so many people that are inspired by you and who aspire to display your strength and positivity. Happiness is a choice.

Self-harm is such a serious issue and it is still such a taboo subject. There are so many people all over the world that have to deal with this issue and I cannot understand why there are still labels and misunderstanding attached to it. Whether a person is "attention-seeking" or not, they are still taking something sharp and intentionally dragging it across their skin, which is causing harm to them. Regardless of the persons reasons, that is not okay. It is not okay to dismiss that and pretend it's normal. Anyone who is going through mental distress deserves to get support and treatment.

If you are thinking about stopping or reducing your self-harming, then there are many ways that you can do so and there are many ways that you can get help. There is no magic solution, or quick fix. These things will take time, practise and patience. There will be days where you are in such a state that you will want to immediately harm yourself. Times like these, you have to take yourself to a safe environment (step outside alone, go to your bedroom, get in the bath, sit on an outside bench) and start thinking more rationally. Take deep breaths, in and out, in and out and calm down. Imagine yourself in a safe, happy place. Perhaps that's the beach, the countryside, your bedroom, or in any quiet area. Think about what you would do. If you were on the beach, picture the waves crashing calmly against the rocks, the light breeze rushing through your hair, the sand squelching beneath your toes. If you were in the countryside, imagine the breath-taking views, the adorable baby animals around you, the scent of the freshly cut grass. If you were in your bedroom, think of the protective, snuggly covers that are cocooning you from harm, the soft, fluffy sheets that feel like clouds beneath your body, the scent of the homely washing powder. Think of birds tweeting a happy tune at dawn, the sunshine streaming through your window on a summers morning, your pet sauntering in to say hello! Just think of all your happy memories and remember to keep breathing. Clear away all the bad thoughts from your mind. Imagine they have been washed away by a huge, overpowering wave. Try your very hardest to push away these toxic thoughts and only allow positives to enter to help you think rationally again. Don't do anything when you are in an emotionally unstable state (sad, traumatised, shocked, frustrated, worried, jealous) as you will most likely regret these actions later.
You should try to tell someone too. I know this may be the last thing that you want to hear, but I promise you, it will help you so, so much. You may not think it will right now, but I can guarantee you it will. Friends and family may naturally blame themselves at first and react in a negative way, but that's okay. It doesn't mean that you are to blame and they hate you. They may feel they have let you down by not protecting you, or being there for you enough, but after the initial shock has worn off, they will most likely try and comfort you or talk to you about it in some way. Don't be afraid; use this as your opportunity to open up and speak your mind. Even if you don't have a family member or a friend to talk to, there are other ways to get help. If you are at school, there is usually a counsellor or a nurse available to help you with personal issues/concerns. They are surrounded by young people everyday who are in need of support or guidance and so whatever you say will be no surprise or shock to them. They are there to help you. If you find it more reassuring, then you can ask them about confidentiality beforehand. They usually will keep things confidential, but it is always handy to ask. If you find this too difficult, then there is also the option of a doctor. They are a professional, who has had plenty of experience throughout their career and your health and safety is their main priority. They are under an oath to keep everything strictly confidential, so you know that your information will be safe. However, once again, you can ask them to reconfirm this if you feel necessary. You can also find help and support online. This may be through Mind (the mental health charity), ChildLine, Samaritans, Supportline, Young Minds and many other organisations. There is always help available.

Another way to help yourself is by finding distractions. This provides something else to focus on rather than simply thinking about the urges and the negative emotions. If you are angry, you could do a cardio workout, hit cushions, shout, dance or scrunch something up. If you are feeling sadness/fear, then you could wrap yourself up in blankets, cuddle something that brings comfort to you, listen to soothing music, tell someone how you feel, massage your hands, take a bath or watch your favourite film. If you feel the need to control something, you could write lists, tidy up, clench then relax all your muscles, throw out all your old things or burn items that bring you pain or frustration. If you feel numb, then you could take a cold shower, eat something with a strong taste or hold ice cubes.
You could also try to raise your self-esteem. Write down all the things you like about yourself, either your personality, your appearance or both and stick them around your mirror, switch your negative thoughts into positive thoughts, start to write in a diary and explore certain triggers and beliefs, or even create a box or booklet of quotes and happy memories to remind you of all the positive times.
Maybe you could also consider looking after your general wellbeing. Make sure that you get enough sleep each night, eat healthily and try to exercise regularly, find a creative outlet to channel all your energy and emotions into and also spend time doing things that you love and that make you happy.
I had a look on the ChildLine website and they listed 6 ways that young people feel are some of the best ways to cope. The first one is listening to music. Music can help you to distract your mind, as you will be thinking of the lyrics, or watching the video. You could even dance and sing along!
The second one is talking to friends and family. If you speak out, you will feel such a relief, like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. As much as you may think they don't, they care about you and they only want the very best for you. Your safety and wellbeing matters to them, remember.
The third one is writing down how you feel. I have done this before and I do find that it is beneficial. You can either write or draw, but channelling your emotions into a creative form can really calm you down and help you to think more rationally. Another idea is the butterfly project, which was created on Tumblr. The idea is that when you feel as though you want to cut, take a marker or pen and draw a butterfly wherever the self-harm occurs. Name the butterfly after a loved one, or someone who is encouraging you to get better. If you can't think of anyone else, then write down my name! You cannot scrub the butterfly off. If you cut before the butterfly is faded, it dies. If you don't cut, it lives. Another person may draw them on you. These butterflies are extra special and you could take good care of them. You could also exercise to take your mind off things and channel your energy or emotions into something else. The final thing that young people said is beneficial is holding an ice cube, which is what I suggested too. This can give a similar feeling to self-harm, without actually leaving scars or wounds on your body.

To anyone that is struggling with self-harm right now, it will get better. I know you may not believe me, but I promise you, it will all get better if you give it time. You are worth so much more than hurting yourself. I don't know the majority of you; I don't know your home lives, I don't know your past, I don't know what you go through everyday and I don't know anything else about you either. What I do know is that no human deserves to feel this way. No human deserves to hate themselves so much that they need to take it out on their own body. You are still going through so many changes. You are still growing up and developing. You still have your entire life ahead of you. Whatever you are going through now is temporary. The terrible memories, the constant battle with bullies, the abuse going on at home, the self-esteem issues. Whatever it may be, they are all temporary. One day, the memories will become distant, unimportant. One day, the bullies will get what they deserve and karma will come back to make them suffer. One day, you will move out of your family home and you will escape the battle that seemed never-ending. One day, you will learn to love and accept yourself.
Think of everything that you want to do within your life. Think of all the things you hope to achieve. I would love to get married and have my own family someday. I would love to travel the world. I would love to be able to write my own book. I would love to be able to inspire people. I would love to be able to change the world. We all have such a bright future ahead of us. How would you know what your future has to offer if you were to end your life now? You deserve so much more than this.
There are better ways to deal with your emotions than self-harming. There is a page on the ChildLine website which goes into more detail about how to handle your emotions. Here is the link - https://www.childline.org.uk/Explore/Self-harm/Pages/Self-harmcopingtechniques.aspx

Recovery can be a long, painful road, but I can promise you that it will all be worth it in the end. With the right support, determination, patience and courage, I truly believe that you can get there. Nobody said that it will be easy and you may fall down, or relapse a couple of times during the process, but then you have to find the courage to pick yourself up and carry on 10 times stronger. We all have down days. That is just a part of life. But, each and every one of us is so incredibly strong and we truly are capable of anything. I believe in every single one of you and I encourage you to start your recovery journey today. It won't be easy. I'm 6 months clean and I still have days where I cry and I feel the need to self-harm. But, I'm determined that I will get better and one day, I will be able to say that I'm recovered and I hardly ever feel the urges anymore. Recovery is so worth it, I promise.


 
 
 
Helpful Websites:
 
 
 

 http://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/self_injury.php

http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_children_young_people/whats_worrying_you/self-harm

https://www.childline.org.uk/Explore/Self-harm/Pages/about-self-harm.aspx

http://www.rethink.org/diagnosis-treatment/symptoms/self-harm


I honestly do hope that this post has helped some of you, whether you are struggling with self-harm yourself, you are in recovery, or if you know someone that may be struggling with self-harm.
I'm currently in recovery, so why don't start your recovery journey too? We are all in this together!
Stay strong, my lovelies and remember that anything is possible! You will be happier one day, I promise you that now. If I can do it, then really, any of you can. Keep on fighting. It will be worth it.

 


 
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Monday, 22 June 2015

Spread The Sunshine | Uplifting Quotes


As part of my 'Spread The Sunshine' project, I thought I'd do another post today to hopefully uplift a few of you and improve your mood. I know that Mondays can be boring and quite rubbish, so hopefully this will add some happiness to your day! These are just a few of my favourite quotes/mottos. I hope you like them and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
 
 

 
No matter what you are going through within the moment, there is better to come. You could possibly be having the worst year of your entire life, but the best really is yet to come. If you give life a chance, then things will get better when you least expect them too. I know that I don't understand each and every one of your situations, but I know that we can all choose to be happy and make a chance. There is always help available and people who care. Change your situation. Smile a little more today. Whatever it is, there is always something you can do everyday that improves your life. Develop an optimistic mind set. Everyone could say that you seem to be going through absolute hell, but that doesn't mean you can't do something about it. You may have lost multiple family members, been hospitalised for 6 months, been bullied your whole life; but that doesn't mean you can't change that. Think about this quote and remember that things won't be this way forever and they will get better.
 
 
Think about this quote logically. Every single night the sun sets and the sky is filled with complete darkness and that darkness will therefore last until the sun rises again. Do we ever experience a night where the sun doesn't rise again the next morning? That's exactly my point. And when you have the worst nightmare that you have ever had, do you carry on reliving that nightmare for the rest of eternity, trapped forever? Of course you don't! You always wake up and the pain always ends once the sun has risen and you are surrounded with normality again. Within a couple of hours, you will most likely have forgotten that nightmare, right? This is what this quote means. Not even the darkest of times will last forever, because the sun always has to rise, meaning that your happiness will always come back, no matter how small it may seem at first in comparison to other things. I promise you now that there are ways out and you won't be stuck in sadness for ever. Trust me on that one!
 

 
 
 
What do you get out of caring for others without caring for yourself? How do you expect to get anywhere and to find true happiness? You have to do what makes you happy. As much as it's amazing to care about other people, you need to make sure that you put your own feelings and thoughts into consideration first. If people are trying to disrupt your learning at school and constantly annoy you, ignore them. If you want high grades, put the work in and focus as much as you can. Ask to move if you really need too, but don't let other people ruin your life and future just because they want to ruin their own if they care that little about it. You shouldn't care what other people think. If you want to be happy, you do what you want to do. Unless you want everyone else to be happy except you, then don't worry so much! You are your own main priority and that shall always remain the same.
 
 
This is one of my favourite quotes and I think it's so important and significant to everyone, no matter who you are. You can be anything that you want to be. Just because one bad thing may have happened, it doesn't mean that everything that happens from that point onwards is going to be bad. Let go of the past and forget things that aren't worth remembering. Why are you willing to surround yourself with people who hurt you and constantly bring you down? You should want nothing more than to be around those who bring you up, help you rise that little bit higher. Create. Imagine. Inspire. Make your life the best that it can be. Make it worth living; worth breathing. Live with no regrets.
 
 
Why would you just want to just be the sun to lighten up someone's life, when any other person could do that? Why not be the moon, to brighten in the darkest hour? That is so much more special. When everything seems to dark and unfriendly, be the moon that shines down and gives someone hope. Just when things seem unbearable, make sure that you find a reason to live or give someone else a reason to live. Shine your moonlit light over their darkness and transform them into a sun again. What do you have to lose? You could potentially be saving a life. It can't get much better than that, can it?
 
 
QOTP - What made you smile today? My boyfriend made me smile today with his jokes and his sense of humour. Let me know what made you smile today. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.




 

 

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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Helping Others | Raising Money For Charity

 
 
I'm going to be talking about something very different today. Throughout my whole life, I have always given things to charity and made sure I'm not thoughtless and as I have grown older, my passion for helping others has developed. There are so many charities in the UK and worldwide, that it would be selfish if we didn't try to do our bit and give to those who needed it most. It's not as if the only option is to find thousands of pounds to give to one charity; there are so many different ways to raise money and help improve other people's lives.
 
Some of the ways to change lives include:
 
- Support, listen and offer guidance
 
- Go up to someone and talk to them if they seem lonely
 
- Help someone out if they appear to be struggling
 
- Give to charities and do volunteering work
 
Over the next few months, I'm going to be giving back to others as much as I can, no matter how big or small the good deed is. I'm hoping to hold a cake sale, raise awareness for many different charities that have a lot of meaning to me, sort through my old things and give them to those who are less fortunate and spread as much love & positivity as I can. We all have to start from somewhere.
 
 
I have huge plans for the future. I would love to have a profession where I can help people and change lives on a daily basis and that is what I aim to do someday. I know it won't be easy, but I'm starting to attempt to improve the world now, through this blog and my self-project. It is such a rewarding feeling to know that you have put a smile on someone's face, or you have made that one person's day a little bit brighter. Nobody said that life is easy. There is so much hate and negativity in the world as it is and I want to eliminate that. I'm going to be starting a brand new, exciting project within the next couple of days and it will be something that all of you can get involved in so I can't wait to share that news with you! Of course, I'm going to keep you up to date, so if this turns into a series, don't be too surprised ;). Let's all spread a little more love & positivity and encourage other people to do the same. Smile. A smile is contagious, so you never know who's day you might make!
 
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Monday, 11 May 2015

Mental Health Monday #5 | Anxiety + My Story

This topic is particularly difficult for me to talk about. It is very personal to me, so please do respect what I'm saying and don't leave any nasty comments.
 
I have always been an incredibly anxious person, ever since I was little. Everything is a challenge for me, from knocking on someone's door, to going to the shop, to even just crossing the road by myself. These feelings completely take over my mind and cause so much stress for me on a daily basis. I'm constantly worrying about every single little thing and I absolutely hate it, so I can completely empathise with anyone who suffers with anxiety, shyness or overthinking. It's truly awful. In this post, I hope to share you some of my tips and guidance on how to cope better with anxiety issues.
 
 
My Story
 
All throughout my life I have been a very shy, reserved person. I would never raise my hand in lessons, and I didn't make new friends easily. You would always find me getting embarrassed, or going silent whenever someone tried to talk to me. I genuinely didn't speak up very much at all. That obviously made things extremely difficult for me, as I would never go to parties, or meet up with my friends and do things that other children my age would do. I wasn't into that kind of thing. Things didn't change when I moved into secondary school either. Making friends with people that I'd never even met before in my life was honestly absolutely terrifying. I panicked way more than I should have when it came to switching from primary to secondary. We had activities where we were constantly talking to new people and we were in groups, completing 'fun' tasks together, but how was I supposed to enjoy myself when all I could think of what was to say and what to do? The amount of sleepless nights I had, all because I was worried about school the next day was unbelievable.
 
This is the bit where I wish I could tell you that it got better after that. But, it really didn't. As well as being bullied throughout the last 3 years of primary, I was also bullied for 3 years in my current school and it's only just getting more bearable. I spent most of the time in Year 7 & 8 and even this year by myself, wandering around aimlessly, hoping that someone would recognise me and come to talk to me so I didn't feel so incredibly alone. I'd struggle in every lesson, break, lunch, assemblies, before school. In every situation possibly imaginable, I was nervous. Even outside of school, I'd be facing these feelings constantly. Family parties, shopping, dentist or hairdresser appointments, meeting up with friends, going to their houses, having friends come round mine. I have even missed days of school just because I didn't want to go in as I was scared, or I felt disliked or hated. The tightness in my chest, the knots in my stomach, the nausea rising up through my body - it's all there.
Throughout the past year, I have made drastic improvements, but I'm still no-where near perfect. I can talk to people more easily and I'm getting better at paying in shops and inviting people into my house, but I still can't go in public by myself and school and social situations still prove to be terribly, terribly hard. But, I am trying my absolute best to remain strong and to try and push myself in whatever way I can. It is so, so challenging, it really is. But, all I can do is try my absolute best.
 
FAQ
 
What is anxiety? - Anxiety is a normal response to a form of danger or stress and can sometimes be called the 'flight or fight' mode. This process is when adrenalin is quickly released and pumped throughout the body enabling it to cope better with whatever situation is throwing itself towards your way. The problems arise when this happens out of proportion, or for absolutely no dangerous reason.
 
The physical symptoms of anxiety are:
- Sweaty palms/hands
- Racing heartbeat and shortness of breath
- Chest tightness (feeling as if it's being squeezed)
- Butterflies in your stomach and feelings of nausea
- Pins and needles in any area of your body
- Sweating or hot and cold shivers
 
The psychological symptoms of anxiety are:
- Inner tension
- Easily irritated or annoyed
- In fear of loosing all control of the situation
- Dread that something extreme will occur
 
Are anxiety disorders common? - Anxiety disorders are incredibly common. Many people are affected throughout their life, although some people have it more severely or more mildly than others.
 
What are the types of anxiety disorders?
Panic disorder - People with this condition have feelings of fear that suddenly strike without reason. Often, this may result in a panic attack, or feeling as if the person is being choked or having a heart attack. These can happen at any time, without you even realising until they actually are happening.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - People with OCD are plagued by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. These include obsessing over certain things and not feeling right until they have completed them. An example is someone who has a phobia of germs, so they constantly wash or scrub away at their hands.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - This disorder can occur after a particularly traumatic event, such as assault, the death of a loved one, or even a natural disaster like an earthquake, or tsunami. People suffering with these feelings can often have flashbacks or haunting nightmares about the event.   
Social anxiety disorder - Often includes overwhelming worry and feelings of self-consciousness regarding every day social situations. This can involve feeling like you will embarrass yourself, people will look at you and judge you, or that people could laugh at you for what you say.
Specific phobias - A specific phobia is about something such as spiders, flying or heights. The level of fear can sometimes result in causing stress to everyday, common situations.
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) - This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to actually worry about in the first place.
 
However, there are some ways that you can help people with anxiety and also help yourself:
 
 
Ways That I Cope:
 
- Learn to accept it. Some things in life, you need to understand that you can't change, no matter how hard you try. Anxiety won't go away over night and it will probably be there for the rest of your life, but you gradually learn to cope with it. I just accept it, acknowledge the fact that it's just there, whether I like it or not and then I just try my best to get on with my everyday life as well as I can.
- Find ways to deal with it. Whenever I'm feeling particularly anxious, I now try to remove myself from the person, or the situation. I try not to stay somewhere that I feel uncomfortable, or worried in. I take deep breaths, I open the window to breathe in some air, I take a sit down. I do whatever really.
- Surround yourself with supportive people - I never, ever go out with strangers anymore, like random people unless I'm with someone I genuinely trust and feel safe with. My boyfriend comes most places with me, because I know I trust him and so I can hold his hand and he can always reassure me. If you have someone that you trust, then I recommend that you stick with them and allow them to support you.
- Take each day as it comes. Some days will be worse than others. I had a particularly anxious day today, but I promise you, it does get better. I started off incredibly panicky, but then I was fine, able to laugh and joke about. I did get very worried later on in the day, but it comes in bouts and it never normally lasts that long, so just take it as it comes, try to remember to take deep breaths and just remove yourself from whatever the situation and calm yourself down, as and when you can.
 
 
I can assure you, I know EXACTLY  how it feels to be anxious most of the time and to overthink absolutely everything. Trust me, I do understand. But I promise you, it will get better, you will find it becomes easier to cope and you will always be fine in the end, no matter what happens. Talk to people you know will support and help you, avoid doing things you feel uncomfortable with, research ways to cope and take each second slowly. You will find your own ways to manage, so please don't think that you are alone and nobody understands you, because they do, I promise you. I understand and I will only be an email or a message away if you need to talk to me about something. I would say the best things to do are just to do your research about it, try different methods out, surround yourself with supportive people and speak up if you need help. Don't be afraid to ask for some guidance.
 
 

 Ways To Help Someone Else When They Are Having An Anxiety Attack Or Opening Up To You:
- Reassure them that everything will be alright. If they know that they will be okay and you aren't disappearing or judging them, then that is important. Don't act as if they are wasting your time.
 
- Listen to what they want. If they need specific help, then try and help them out. If they want to be left alone, then go away for a moment and allow them to have some personal space to cool down.
 
- Offer support whenever you can. Randomly message the person and ask them if they'd like to meet up, or see how they are. Just show them that you care and you are always there if they need it.
 
- Don't judge them. Even if you don't understand what they mean, just show your support and try your best to empathise with them. Don't act as if their problems aren't important and you don't care.
 
If someone is having a panic attack, try to calm them down if they want you too, or just sit there to make sure they know you are there if you are wanted. If they seem increasingly agitated and nervous, then just walk away for a couple of minutes so that they can calm themselves down in their own time. Try to reassure the person to think of controlling their breathing and relaxing their muscles. Deep breaths in and out and focus on that. Reassurance is honestly key in these types of situations.
 
 
Resources To Help Cope:
 
Childline - www.childline.org.uk or 0800 1111
Samaritans - www.samaritans.org or 08457 90 90 90
Teen Mental Health - http://teenmentalhealth.org
Young Minds - www.youngminds.org.uk
 
 
Hopefully this post has helped some of you and if you think I have missed something out, or you would like to see a post going into more detail on social anxiety or more specific topics, then please do let me know. I'm always here for any of you that may be suffering with anxiety, or anything else. I know how it feels, I truly do and that's why I want to make sure that you all know you are not alone.
 
 
  

 
 

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Monday, 27 April 2015

Mental Health Monday #3|| Confidence & Self-Esteem




 








An issue that many people struggle with in today's society is confidence. It has become such a common thing that hardly anyone in this world loves themselves, or is able to say they are comfortable with their life, or their appearance. We are always focused on the negative aspects of things, never the positives. Why don't we change that? Together, why don't we all love ourselves?
 
We are always going to look the way we look and it is most likely going to stay that way for the rest of our lives. Therefore, we are always going to have the same features, so we can either drone on and moan about the things that we really can not change, or we can learn to gradually accept them over time & be okay with them. Learning to accept yourself as you are is very important. You are who you are. That's just the way it is. It is a known fact. You can not change every single aspect of your appearance. You can not automatically click your finger and change into an airbrushed model. It does not work that way and you should not want it to either. You should be able to accept who you are and take it as a positive thing, You are unique. You are original. You are beautiful. You are YOU. Why wish to be someone else? That is only a waste of the person you are. It doesn't affect other people.
 
Looks genuinely do not define you. When you pass away, people are not going to remember you for the amount of cake you ate or what dress size you were. They will remember you for who you were as a character and the influence that you had on other people and their lives. Chances are, they will not even pay much attention to your physical features. They will think of the kindness you portray, the effort you put into everything that you do, the way your eyes light up when talking about something that you are passionate about. Those are the things that are beautiful and precious. This is why it is so important to pay more attention to the characteristics you demonstrate and the way you are as a person. Personal compliments are so much more special and meaningful in comparison to physical ones. For example, if you have got a successful job as a business person, and someone was to compliment you on your hair cut, would you really feel happy or as if you have achieved something? You worked so hard on making your business the best it could possibly be and then someone only notices the physical attributes, which didn't even take as much time & determination.
 
Accept compliments that you receive. Don't argue with the compliment-giver and deny what they are saying, as that may be somewhat insulting and as if to say their thoughts are irrelevant or stupid. So just accept it & say thank you! It is not arrogant or big headed, it's lovely because someone has openly initiated and given you that compliment willingly and through their own choice. Think of that.


The quote above speaks for itself. If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, you'd have no friends left. What this means is that the amount of times that you insult & put yourself down, it is enough to push all of your friends away if you were to say the same rude remarks to them. You really are your own best friend. If you don't learn to accept who you are and make the most of it before it is too late, then you really will not have much of a fun, worthy life at all. Bringing yourself down is not going to solve anything or make you feel better. In reality, it will probably make you feel a whole lot worse. Why don't you compliment yourself at least once a day? Wake up, look in the mirror, smile & tell yourself that you are beautiful. Just do it. What harm can it actually do? If you don't at least attempt it, then you will never know what it feels like. You might as well just give it a go if you have nothing left to loose. You should think about the way you speak to yourself though. Passing insults & pulling at your skin is only going to make you feel even worse about yourself. It is all about changing your negative thinking into a more positive one, which I said in my last blog post.

Society & The Impact Of Media:
One of the main reasons as to why so many people struggle with their confidence nowadays is due to social media and the way that society is. There is this idea of 'perfection' and if you don't fit that label, you are supposedly not good enough, which is totally wrong. You see so many models & well known celebrities who have been heavily airbrushed and edited in order to make them look 'perfect'. When scrolling through magazines or the Internet or using any form of social media, our confidence is crushed and we often find ourselves aspiring to want to be like these people and have their lives. Photoshopping can change people's appearance dramatically and that's what so many of us fail to realise and accept. If you saw these celebrities with no makeup on and they were in their pyjamas, you would be shocked at how different they look that you may not even recognise them. There's always talk of boob jobs, Botox, liposuction, fillers and other types of surgery and treatments in the news that it's actually quite disturbing and unnatural for young people to be surrounded by these type of 'role models'. The media depicts idealised images of men and woman, which means that our perceptions of beauty have changed over time due to the influence of society and the power of advertising. The media also influences the way that we think and act. If we see a certain famous person wearing a certain clothing item, then we will automatically want to buy it too in the hope that we will end up looking more like them. What happened to individuality and expressing originality? If we all look the same, how boring is that going to be? It's a trap that too many of us are prone to falling into and I want you guys to see just how much the media really affects our confidence. 



What the media portrays to us is not always the truth. Young people will often imitate their role models badly. What is being highlighted to the audience can be the mistakes that celebrities make and then these people who idolize them will want to aspire to be like that as well. Seeing as we look up to them so much, we will still celebrate and love them, even for the mistakes that they make and the bad things that they do. The highlighting of the media genuinely is giving a negative affect to society. Many of us are tricked into thinking that everything being displayed and advertised to us is true and the right way of life. This alters our judgements on situations and the way that we act within today's society. Instead of socialising and creating real life memories, all of us are falling into a fantasy world of rumours, headlines and celebrity culture. Some people even go as far as to get extreme surgery and facial reconstruction in order to look like their idol which I think is very worrying & also dangerous.  

Our Appearance & The Way We Come Across:
Quite often, we are misjudged and misinterpreted within society. As far as the way we look goes, the media can play a huge part in the way that we see ourselves. The power of beauty & fashion adverts has a powerful effect on the way we view who we are and what we should come across as. There is an awful amount of pressure and judgement nowadays and it seems that unless you look a certain way, you are not classed as beautiful or as important, which is completely false. During our teenage years, we are all changing. Puberty is making us develop and grow at different stages and we often find ourselves looking very different to how we did previously or to the people around us. At this particular time in our lives, we are beginning to develop our own individual identities and we are trying to work out who we are and what we want to do with our future. We are also at risk of social pressure and the fake images being displayed by the media and advertising companies. Women's magazines in particular can shape how you view your body image and a lot of teenage girls rely on these articles to find out how they should be appearing in terms of beauty and fashion. This constant, unavoidable pressure has created an image that thin and perfect is the only thing acceptable within society. Supposedly, if you are anything other than a size 0 with no flaws whatsoever, then you are ugly. Isn't it scary how the media can affect us and our thoughts so much that we let it dictate the person that we are? With this unrealistic perception being created, it leads to feelings of inadequacy, depression, anxiety, confidence issues, eating disorders and many other things. Due to the nearly impossible expectations of beauty placed within our current society, these feelings of worthlessness and unrealistic hope to look the same as advertised, airbrushed models can lead to the development of long-time mental health sufferings that these people may have to face for the rest of their lives.  
Nobody should be able to tell us who we are supposed to be or what we are supposed to look like. It's all about expressing individuality and not being afraid to be different and to stand out of the crowd. I understand that the media is like a trap that we can not help but get sucked into, yet we just have to try to enjoy it and not be so consumed by it that it takes over all our thoughts and brings us down. I may be doing a separate post on the media, so I'm going to leave this section here.

Insecurities & Our Flaws:
We all have things that we don't particularly like about ourselves. We also all have things that we would change in a second if we had the chance. I think it's so much better if we accept and embrace our insecurities! Our quirks are a part of who we are and they will most likely always be there, so we might as well start to embrace them and be proud of the person that we are, because the body that we have right now will stick through so many years and it's better to love it than constantly loathe it, right? If you don't like your eye colour, wear eye makeup that will bring it out or draw away attention from your eyes. If you don't like your hair, find a style that makes it look nicer or even change the colour if it really makes you feel better. But just remember not to change for anyone else, only yourself if it's what will make you happier. There are always ways that you can feel more confident. Write a list of all the positive things about yourself. Go out and buy some clothes that will flatter your figure. Try out new makeup looks to bring out your favourite features or to make what you dislike a little less obvious. It's not all about appearance, remember. Here are some ideas to raise your self-esteem:
  • Listen to your own feelings. If your mind is worried about something, then sort it out. Don't bottle your feelings up. I know how hard it is to ignore yourself if you are so wrapped up in other people and the world around you, but you are the most important thing to yourself and your thoughts should be valid, so listen. Take notice. Don't just hide and push them away.
  • Choose to be around loving people. I genuinely can not stress this enough. If you are surrounded by people who constantly judge you or mock you or bring you down, how do you expect to feel confident? Friends & family should be encouraging you and bringing you up and if they don't do that, you should be seriously questioning the place that they currently have in your life and why you aren't quickly removing their negativity and disheartenment.
  • Stick up for yourself and what you believe in. I know how hard this one is, as I often struggle to do it myself. One of the main things I've learnt over the past 2 years is that you can not let people walk all over you. I've let this happen so many times and it never gets me anywhere. Even when I do not want to do something, I still sometimes do it, as I don't like to let anyone down or upset them. However, if you don't stick up for yourself, then you won't get very far at all, believe me. If you do NOT feel comfortable doing something, then why do it? Just say no, be firm & be honest. You need to put yourself and your thoughts first. If that person can not accept your discomfort, then they are not truly worth the hassle either. If you are the only person in your family who wants to become a vegan or start a healthy diet, then do it. Let everyone else do what they want and you do what you want. As long as they aren't stopping you from continuing and vice versa, then no harm can be done! Assertiveness is such an important skill that can help in so many situations throughout your life. You will be more likely to succeed if you are more confident and if you don't care what others think. Of course, there will always be people who are so desperately eager to bring you down, but you just need to be determined and show that their thoughts and words don't stop you from pursuing your wishes. If you really do want something, then you will do what it takes to get there, regardless of how many obstacles are in the way. If you are assertive, you will gain respect too. People may ask you to do something and if you display assertiveness, then they will see that you are not afraid to say no and speak up about things you dislike. Be direct and honest. State things how they are. Don't sugar-coat it or hide certain details. The more you practise this skill, the more you will be able to demonstrate it in your day to day life.
  •  Develop a good attitude about yourself and life in general. It impacts how other people perceive you, as well as having an effect on how you feel about yourself. Your attitude is infectious. If you're bubbly, optimistic and positive about things, it will encourage others to act the same. If you're pessimistic, unhappy and negative all the time, then that will also show through your body language, facial expressions and the way you act, which will bring other people down and cause a cloud to form over you, so you're hidden from the happiness and light. I don't have the best attitude in the world at all, but I'm trying my hardest to change my thoughts and so I want you to try too. We are all in this together, to support and help each other grow. My blog is a little community where we can all become more positive people!
  • Defend yourself in a calm and reasonable manner. Take care of yourself and your rights when someone is trying to put you down. This ties into my 2nd point, but I just wanted to reiterate it again. Don't just stand there, allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by anger. Speak your mind, talk the truth. Even if nothing changes and you don't exactly get anywhere, at least you have demonstrated to yourself and others that you will not stand for disrespect in any way.
  • Don't be aggressive in any way. If you act in this way and you immediately resort to violence, you will not be gaining anything or anyone. You need to approach situations in a calm and collective way in order to sort things out properly.
  • Try to turn the negatives into positives when possible. If someone tries to insult you by saying that you are bossy, turn that negativity around. Assume that it means you are a natural leader, someone who tries to take control and help other people to improve things.
  • Don't ever, ever give up. This is something I have to remind myself on a pretty regular basis. I've come so far in the past 2 years, as I'm sure you have too. There will be times when it seems like everything's going wrong and it's too hard, which may result in you relapsing or going back to round one. So make sure that doesn't happen! Have a cry, allow yourself to think about the situation for a moment, then get up and brave it. After all the effort you have made, it really is not worth it to go back on it all and just end up how you were in the first place. We all have bad days and cry sometimes, but we can not let these slip-ups affect our recovery process!
  • Fake it till you make it! If you don't always feel confident, then just pretend to be until you actually are. If you do that, you will eventually convince yourself that you are capable of acting this way and it should raise your self-esteem even more.
  • Grow from conflict instead of hiding from it. Arguments are natural. Some people's personalities are just made to clash. This is not your fault and it isn't necessarily their fault either, so be careful before you make accusations or point the finger. Don't be afraid though. Hiding away will not sort anything. Learn from these conflict's and grow from them. Allow them to make you a better person. Do not be ashamed over your mistakes.
Individuality:


If you wish to be someone else, then that is a waste of who you are. You should express yourself in whichever way you want and appreciate that you are unique. If we were all the same, it would be incredibly boring and actually quite sad, as we would all be copies of each other and we wouldn't feel special. What would make us worthy of love and attention if there was millions of other people identical to us? This is why you should embrace the person that you are! You may not like everything and you may feel that you are the ugliest person on the planet, but that is not true in the slightest. As cliché as it sounds, every single human being is beautiful in their own unique and individual way.
Dye your hair bright blue, start your own rock band, create a charity that will change lives - do anything! If people laugh at you because you have a few lip piercings or if they think you are stupid because you always wear ripped jeans and printed t-shirts, then screw them, honestly. They are basing an opinion on you due to either a stereotype or pure judgement and those people are not worth any of your time, ever. Those who do not even make an attempt to get to know your character should not be in your life in the first place, so remember that. Not everyone is going to like you for the way you are, but you should be okay with that. As long as you have a select number who do love, care for and accept you, then that's cool! Just pay attention to your own life and them. Forget the other people.

The Importance Of Confidence:

 
Confidence is the foundation for everything that we do throughout our lives and it is our confidence (or lack of it) that directly affects HOW we do everything and the outcomes of these actions. When we know and appreciate who we are, we will make better choices, judgements and have a generally better outlook on everything. When we make better decisions, it will have a more positive affect on our life. Everything is literally based around our confidence. It's a world-wide problem that so many people struggle with, including me and so this means that it is perfectly normal to be unconfident, but you need to try and change it. Confidence can involve the emotions surrounding anything from body image, self-worth, relationships with others, public situations, not believing in yourself and more. People who are confident and love themselves radiate positivity, strength, passion and courage. A confident person is someone who knows their strengths, weaknesses, values and purpose. They know who they are and they do not allow anyone to tell them any different. Being confident must be something that you want or you will not be prepared to work for it or put in any effort to get there. Many people just settle with their current life and the way things are in the moment, even if they are not happy with them and they will not be able to see how rewarding and satisfying it is to have a life filled with confidence, purpose, passion, strength and enthusiasm as they lack the confidence and inner knowledge to do so. Sometimes, it may not be easy to where you want to get to, but you have to keep going, no matter how far away the end result seems or how hard it may be to reach it either. Your confidence is NOT controlled by anyone else. This means that you have ultimate control over it and even if you have suffered a lot with various things in the past, you can still get there and become confident. With dedication and determination, you will become more confident, which means you will be happier and more successful, both now and in the future. It may take some time, but you have to persevere. Do not let anyone knock you back down. It's a learning curve, but you will get to the end.

Comparison:

 
So many people suffer with this problem. We compare ourselves to others all the time. The perfect image of a person is constantly pushed at us in more ways than one. You have to catch yourself when you are comparing and then switch that thinking around and stop these thoughts. It is unhealthy as well as pointless. You can wish to be other people all your life if you really want to, but it will only make you miserable and it won't get you anywhere either, so do you really want that? You will always be the way you are, just like I said earlier on in this post. Sure, you can change things and improve if you honestly want to, but isn't it better to try and make the most of the person that you are and the things that you do have?
 
My point goes very well with the quote above saying that people should fall in love with their eyes closed. It goes to show that looks do not define you and it is the inside that counts. People will love you and respect/admire you for your inner beauty, not your appearance or for the way you dress. You should not care about what people think of you. As hard as it is, you should not look the way you do in hope that it will make the person you like feel the same way or in hope that it will draw unbelievable attention to you. You should just be you and do not try to impress others. When you are carefree and chilled out, that is when you are in your most beautiful state. No makeup, baggy clothes, your hair all messy. When you do not care at all, in the slightest about what you look like. If people truly did fall in love with their eyes closed, it would be so much more real and meaningful. People care too much about the outside, rather than what is on the inside. That is what matters the most. When you fall in love with someone, all of their imperfections begin to blur. You do not care what they look like. You do not see the things they may be insecure about. You look beyond that and you see through to their heart, their soul. You began to fall in love with their characteristics, their quirks. You see the way their dimples form whenever they smile, the way their eyes light up when they are talking about a true passion, the way they will do anything to help others in whatever way possible. Whatever they look like, whether they have a disability, have braces, have a wonky smile, have wrinkles,  have larger thighs - you will still have unconditional love for the way that they are inside.
This is why you should not care what other people think. Regardless of your physical attributes, when someone is in love with you they will not care. They will only care about your personality. Please remember that.

Shyness:
I've always been incredibly shy, ever since a young age. I've never liked talking in social situations or going to events/parties or contribute in school or even talk to new people, on the phone or in person. It's gained control over me and it has always held me back for as long as I can remember. I often find myself feeling very uncomfortable and anxious around certain types of people and in specific situations. I'm awful at speaking in public situations whether it be speeches, presentations, answering questions in class or even speaking on the phone. I'm going to attempt to share some tips with you.

Tips, Tricks & Advice:
  • Remember that you are not the only one. Many people will struggle with the same things that you do and deal with emotions that you feel too, so you are never by yourself or the only one with that particular problem. Often, when we are in the moment, we feel that it will drag on forever and we will always be this anxious or we will fail and we won't be able to do it, but the feelings of anxiety do disappear once you have got the situation over and done with. People will know what it feels like, so try not to get yourself too het up or stressed out over anything.
  • There's nothing wrong with being quiet. The way you are feeling is natural. Not all of us want to be loud and speak our mind all over the time and that's perfectly okay. We are all unique. So what if you don't talk much in social situations? You are you and you should not be doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. You will probably become more confident in time, but don't rush.
  • Start off small. If you are particularly worried about speaking in front of the whole school, then begin with a couple of people that you know well and practise with them. Get them to give you feedback or constructive criticism and then work on that. Maybe think about your body language, posture or eye contact. Take small steps and it will pay off. You may slip up from time to time, especially in the beginning, but don't beat yourself up over it. Understand that you are learning and nerves are natural. Even if you stutter or stumble, keep practising and get used to gradually talking to a few more people. Baby steps are key. Progress is progress, no matter how small it may be. It all adds up in the end.
  • Your opinion is valued, no matter what. People are not always going to agree with you. That's a given. We all have different thoughts & views on certain things and that is okay. Don't be afraid to express those opinions though. Express them if you wish to do so. If you are not happy with something in a shop, ask someone or tell them nicely/politely. It could help to improve the quality next time or it could give a new idea for the future. People will be interested in what you say, even if they don't agree, because it means that they can get to know you and your personality better and they can also see things from a different point of view, which will help them.
  • Don't try to be something your not. You should not feel the need to be more assertive just to impress people or to get others to listen to you. If you do not feel comfortable with being a louder person, the don't do it! Don't put yourself in an uncomfortable position just because you want to get attention or get your voice there. We all have a right to express our opinions and we all have a right to speak out, but we should make sure we do it the way we want to do it.
  • What's the worse that could happen? Think about the worst outcome that you could face. If you put your hand up in class when you think you know the answer and you get it wrong, that doesn't matter! People may laugh at you and you may feel a little disheartened, but it will be forgotten about by the next day. At least you had the courage to try, which was probably not the case for the people who laughed at you. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes.
  • Just do it. Push the doubts aside and face your fears. If you are going to a party or a particular event with either popular people or people who you have never met, that doesn't matter! You may become overwhelmed by fear in the hours or even minutes leading up to it, but you just have to take deep breaths and deal with it as best as you can. Don't turn back around, don't convince yourself that you can't do it. Do the opposite! Prove to yourself that you are stronger than you think and you can have a good time. You are gaining an experience, that will probably be fun and you will feel so much better and more proud afterwards! So, try it! JUST DO IT! These experiences will also help to raise your confidence, boost your self-esteem and help you to enjoy things more and be more willing to take up opportunities in the future.
  • Speak up. I touched on this briefly earlier, but it's very important, as is everything I'm saying. If someone is always rude to you, just find the courage to let them know that it's not okay and you are not alright with that. Don't allow yourself to get constantly trampled on. You are worth so much more than that. Even if other people may not understand you, it does not mean your problems are any less important or valid.
Self-respect is another very important point. You have to love & respect yourself before anyone else can fully love & accept you. If you do not respect yourself, that can lead to unhappiness and feelings of worthlessness and let's face it, none of us want to feel that way. You will end up harming yourself and you may be at risk or in danger. You could get into an abusive relationship, become addicted to certain substances and you may gradually spiral out of control and end up with no hope left. You have to realise your own worth and be consistently good to yourself and your own body. Then you will be happy & those in your life who surround you on a daily basis will always be happy. Self-respect breeds confidence! They really do go hand-in-hand with each other. Without self-respect, many people would fail to care for themselves and think about what they really need, because they don't think that life is worth that much or they will feel as if nobody cares about them or what happens to them. Self-respect is extremely necessary for having a happy and satisfying life so everyone must have respect for themselves.
Another important reason as to why people should have self-respect is that as I believe I've said before, you need to respect yourself before others can respect you. If someone has so little self-respect and self-esteem that they can not stand up for themselves or display strength, they will probably not have as much respect from others. One very accurate example is peer pressure. If someone always gives into pressure and will always do anything, however risky and dangerous, they simply will not be respected by anyone. People who care about themselves will care enough about their body & the way they live that they will not give in and do things that cause them discomfort or harm. This will also mean that they will not only get respect from others, but they will live a happier, healthier lifestyle where they do not just live in order to please or impress other people.
You have to remember to respect others as well as yourself though. It's important that you follow the quote 'treat others as you wish to be treated' because it really does apply in many, if not all, situations. Ultimately, respect is a two way street. You can't earn it if you don't display it and you can't display it back if you don't receive it, if that makes sense. If we all respected each other and everyone's thoughts a little more, the world would be a more peaceful & happier place.
 


You will find me repeating this quote a lot on my blog. 'This too shall pass' speaks for itself. Whatever you are going through, whether it be shyness, confidence struggles, self-esteem issues or anything to do with self-respect or the way you see yourself, just remember that it will not be like that forever. You will not be anxious or shy every single day for the rest of your life. You will have good days & bad. Live your life to the best of your ability and do not allow anything or anyone in this world hold you back. Know that your feelings are temporary. There is always a solution and ways that you can feel better and remember that once that social situation or whatever is over, that and those feelings will be in the past. Keep repeating that this too shall pass. Your pain will not last you forever, I promise you that now. There is a light at the end of every tunnel. Keep telling yourself that you are stronger than this, you will get through it, the feelings will not last long. Even if you are standing up in front of a large amount of people and you want the ground to swallow you up or you have to read in class or do anything that enables fear to take over your mind, please do not give up. Just try your best to keep going, stay calm and just focus on what your saying. Once it's done, it's done. It's over, it's in the past. You are stronger than you think, I promise you! Take small steps and with time, you will gradually gain more confidence with practise, perseverance, baby steps & experience. I will always be here for each & everyone of you, I promise. No matter what your issues, you can always come to me :) I believe that I have grown so much in the past 2 years since joining secondary school (I will share my story in a future post) and if I can do it, then anyone can. <3
 
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