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:





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.



Monday, 29 June 2015

Spread The Sunshine | Becoming A Better Person

Today I'm going to be talking about how to become a better person. I came up with this idea after watching a YouTube video on this topic and it sparked some interesting thoughts that I decided to share with you. I think that there are always ways that we can better ourselves and becoming aware of that and how we can change certain personality traits is a key part of living and everyday life.
1. Realise that the foundation to becoming a better person is to help those around you. Helping other people whenever you can really says a lot about you as a person. If you choose to put others before yourself and you are willing to go out of your way in order to make someone's life a little easier or happier, that shows what a caring person you are. If you see someone struggling, go and offer a helping hand. If someone seems a little upset, then go and cheer them up or offer a shoulder to cry on. It's the little things that matter and those are the ones that genuinely make a difference.
2. Treat others how you wish to be treated. This links on to my previous point, but I think it is incredibly relevant. Imagine if someone was constantly nasty to you and they made your life a living hell, never thinking about how you feel. How would that affect you? Now, imagine you were the one making someone else feel that way, knowing exactly what they are going through. It wouldn't be a pleasant experience, would it? If you constantly treat people with disrespect and rudeness, they aren't going to want to know you and they could treat you the same to show you how it feels. Just think before you say and do things, as your words and actions could be harming someone more than you realise.
3. Focus on the little things that make yourself and others happy. We all become stressed and emotional sometimes and often, we don't know how to deal with these feelings. From the moment we wake up, to the moment that we fall asleep, we must think of little things that make ourselves and others around us feel better. Listen to a happy song. Compliment 5 strangers. Smile at everyone. Plant some flowers. Hand out gifts around the neighbourhood. Help out a friend or family member. It's all about the little things in life that have the most positive effect on people.
4. Think of yourself as a role model. When you think of yourself as a role model, you're much more likely to become a better person and act in a more appropriate way. Thinking that people are looking up to you and admiring you makes you cautious of the way that you act and present yourself, which means there is a greater chance that you will behave in a nicer, friendlier way.
5. Be honest and truthful. Don't lie, or twist and sugar coat things. If someone is asking you something, be honest. Don't twist it and make out like an innocent person has done the wrong thing, as it will only cause more problems. Accept your mistakes and learn from them. Always tell the truth, no matter how hard it is. A liar will usually always get caught out in the end, so what's the point?
6. Don't be two-faced. I'm going to openly admit that, yes, I can be a two-faced person and I have been in the past. Sometimes I am one without realising and then afterwards, I understand where I have gone wrong and why I have come across that way. However, it doesn't mean that I can't change that. I'm trying to be a loyal friend and I'm keeping my thoughts to myself if I know that they will hurt people. I understand that sometimes if you tell someone something, your words can easily get twisted, spread and misinterpreted, which is why I'm very careful now. I guess it's all about honesty, truthfulness and sticking with your real ones. If someone has done you wrong before, forgive them if you want too, or just remove them from your life and don't even bother talking to them!
7. Spend time thinking about yourself. As much as you should consider others and how your actions may make them feel, it's important that you think about yourself too. If you are constantly putting other people first, how do you expect to find true happiness? You are your main priority and you come before anyone else. Although that may be hard to think of sometimes, it's true. If someone is making you unhappy or something is causing you more pain than happiness, then remove them/it. Don't allow yourself to wallow in sadness. It won't do you any favours. Put yourself first.
8. Don't take things to heart. Nobody is going to please you all the time. You have to accept that sometimes people will say things that offend you and not everyone will like you all of the time, but that's okay. That's normal. I know quite a few people that don't particularly like me, but I try not to take it too personally. If you spent your entire life trying to please everyone, you would never be truly happy and it would lead absolutely no-where! Just focus on you and your true ones. Ignore the rest.
9. Have trust and faith in yourself. What would happen if you didn't trust yourself? Who would you be able to trust? You have to trust yourself and have faith in your decisions. If you feel that something is right for you, then stick to your gut instinct and go with it. Don't hesitate just because you're scared or because someone else has told you that you're wrong or you're a bad person. You are entitled to your own opinion and if it is right for you, then you're not doing the wrong thing at all.
10. Don't get involved in arguments. Arguments really aren't worth the hassle. If someone is upsetting or annoying you, just ignore them and other that they even exist. Don't listen to what they have to say. Their opinion is irrelevant if they are being unkind. Why make way for rudeness? It's unnecessary! Only focus on the kind people and pretend that the rude people aren't even surrounding you. Just remain calm, forget about it and move on. It will all be okay in the end. 

QOTP - What have you accomplished this week? I faced my fears and I spent some quality time with my sister in a shopping centre! As scared as I felt, I'm so pleased that I went and enjoyed it!


Friday, 26 June 2015

Style Snippet | Summer

 * All items are from Topshop!
These are a few ideas of style's that I've been lusting after recently! Is there anything you like?

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.




Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Lifestyle | Future Ambitions - 2015

Hi everyone! I'd firstly like to apologise for not being around on this blog for over a week. School has been my main priority lately, what with my GCSE courses starting and so I haven't had much time during the weekdays for anything else. I could probably find a spare 15 minutes here and there to write up a post if I really tried, but in all honesty, I'm not going to force myself to put daily effort into a hobby if I could be doing homework or catching up on sleep. I have been out most weekends with my friends and my boyfriend, seeing as it's kind of warmer weather now, so that really hasn't been much of an option to write either. That being said, I will try my best to post as regularly as I can, but if I don't post one week, please don't think that I have quit blogging forever. I just need to focus on other things first and this is only a hobby, so it shouldn't be taking up all of my time anyway!
1. Have a family of my own. I have always been quite a maternal person, ever since I was little. I'd always play with baby dolls and wheel them around in a pushchair around the garden and up the park and rock them as if they were my own. It's just always been something that I've adored. When I'm older, I'd love to have quite a large family that I would be able to call my very own.
2. Travel all around the world. Geography and travelling has always been something that has sparked great interest for me. Geography is one of my favourite subjects and I particularly enjoy finding out about other countries and cultures that are different to my own. To be able to visit all 7 continents and learn all about various cultures and traditions would be a dream come true. Although I am quiet anxious when it comes to planes and flying, I will not let that fear hold me back. It's so interesting to find out about other people's ways of life and it's an amazing way to meet new people.
3. Start my own business. A couple of years ago, I used to regularly watch a programme about young people who would set up a business and trade to win a trip to America. It was called 'Trade Your Way To The USA' and although at the time, I wasn't particularly knowledgeable on that subject, I was really keen on that programme. The presenter ended up visiting my primary school in assembly one day, but once again, I didn't really find much interest in that subject at that moment in time. I'm now taking business as a GCSE subject and I'm really enjoying it. A couple of YouTubers I watch have got their own businesses and the amount of success they have had is incredible and admirable.
4. Visit a variety of the wonders of the world. Leading on from my 2nd point, I would like to visit the famous worldwide landmarks e.g. the Eiffel Tower, Roman colosseum's, the Great Barrier Reef and The Great Wall Of China. There are so many interesting and wonderful monuments and museums/galleries in each city and I would love to be able to explore as many as possible.
5. Scuba dive in a coral reef in either Australia, Florida or Hawaii. Ever since I was a young girl, I have always been a water baby. Although I don't really like swimming or being about in water now, I would love to go scuba diving in a coral reef. I think it would be so fascinating to explore the surroundings and see all the different types of fish and plants etc. It would probably blow my mind!
6. Interact with wild animals in different countries. As I have always been ever so keen on animals and treating animals right etc., I'd like to be able to go on safaris and expeditions, looking after wild animals and seeing what life is like for them. I'd like to swim with dolphins, feed and look after poorly, mistreated animals and possibly even ride an elephant or something like that!

7. Volunteering and participating in charity work. One of the things that I feel most passionate about is giving to other people. There is very few things that I want more than to be able to improve someone's life and make them smile when they are at their lowest. Volunteering has so many benefits and I really do believe that it will help me immensely on my journey to changing other people's lives.

8. Help other people in any way that I can. Whether it be writing advice blog posts, donating to help young people out, running projects/campaigns or anything else, I just want to help people whenever I get the chance.

9. Aim for A*'s, A's or B's in my GCSE's and aim for distinctions in my BTEC's. Whenever we have tests or important exams, we all have personal expectations that we would like to reach or exceed. These are just my personal aims for myself. I know that I'm capable of succeeding and doing incredibly well, but that will only be possible if I work to the best of my abilities for those results.

10. Write and publish my very own book. Inspired by the likes of Tanya Burr & Carrie Hope Fletcher, I too would like to have my own book out someday. I would like to be able to inspire and influence young people and guide them through their teenage years.

11. Go to a music festival during my late teenager/young adult years. Most teenagers and people in their twenties go to festivals nowadays and they often end up getting drunk and throwing up everywhere. However, I hope to go to a festival where I shall actually remember those memories that I create. Music is such a huge love of mine and I think it would be such a cool experience to be able to enjoy live music and chill out at the same time.

12. Write and release an official original song. I have written a song before, but of course, I don't have the resources and the knowledge to be able to release it and get it out on iTunes yet! If only. I'm very passionate about music, as I said in the previous goal, so it would be a dream to be able to have my own official song out for the public to download and listen to.

13. Give people a reason to remember my name. This one is an incredibly important one to me. I don't just want to be just an ordinary person who lives an averagely dull life. I want my life to have meaning; a purpose. I want to leave behind my name and millions of assosiciations and memories along with it. I want people to talk about me for millions of years after I have pssed. I want my name to go down in history. 

14. Have a beach party. The beach is one of my favourite places in the entire world. All it ever holds is happy, precious memories from my childhood. Parties are always a positive, memorable time so I think that a beach party with my loved ones during the summer is the perfect idea!

15. Sleep underneath the stars. I think that this would be such a magical, memorable experience and not many people would think of this or be able to say that they have done it, so I think that it is definitely a bucket list addition.

16. See the fireworks at Disney and experience Disney World. Every little girl's dream is to go to Disney World and I never had the chance to do that when I was younger, so I might as well make the most of the experience whilst I'm able too. The fireworks always look so amazing and mind-blowing and I'd love to be able to see all the characters and take a look around, no matter how old I am!

17. Stop being so afraid and start living instead. Your time in this world is never guaranteed. You could be living for years, or you could be living for a number of hours. Make the most of it whilst you still can. Take every opportunity as if it were your last. Stop thinking about the 'what if?'s and the 'but's! Start living for the moment without a care in the world.

18. Have a perfect wedding and live happily ever after. In all of the fairy tales, everybody gets their happy ending eventually and I think that applies within real life too. We all have our prince or our princess and we all deserve happiness. Weddings are supposed to be the best and the most important day of your life, so it's got to be with the right person! 'The One', your soulmate. 

19. Get a small, meaningful tattoo. I have always been a lover of tattoos and I think that a meaningful tattoo could be really precious and highly valued. I don't have many ideas for it yet, but not everyone would be able to see it, yet it would be something personal and special to me.

20. Find beauty and happiness in the little things. Too often, we can get swept up in the drama and havoc of everyday life and we don't often appreciate the little things. I think this is so important, as the little things really do make up the bigger picture. It all adds up in the end!


Monday, 8 June 2015

Spread The Sunshine | Motivation

If we want to achieve anything in life, we have to work hard for it. Nothing worth living for comes easy and that's something that few people understand. You can't just click your fingers and expect everything you have ever dreamed of to be right before your eyes, as it simply doesn't work like that. Success is something that takes a very long time. It will take weeks, maybe even months of sheer hard work and determination. Often, if things aren't working out or going to plan, then we give up and say that we can't do it anymore because we think we have failed. That's the part that is a lie. 

If you have a certain goal in mind for this project, then you will know what I'm talking about. For example, you want to tone up by the end of July or you want to challenge yourself more to step out of your comfort zone. You can't expect to do one workout and have lost 1 stone. That is unrealistic and you are only setting yourself up for disappointment then, if your expectations are that high to begin with. You have to think that progress is progress, no matter how big or small. At least you are getting up and actually attempting to do a workout. If you have got a goal in mind, you have to work hard at it and take small steps to work up to achieving the results you want. Patience really is key in this situation.
In my case, I want to try and step out of my comfort zone (see the quote above!) and try to become more adventurous and confident. But, that being said, I can't just expect to be able to go to London by myself for a whole day without freaking out. I'm making sure that I start out with small steps and gradually building up. I'm sure that one day I will probably be able to go to London for the day by myself, but at this moment in time, I know that is an unrealistic aim. Nothing will turn out perfect the first time you try it. We all slip up and we all make mistakes the first time we try something new, but that is completely okay. That is natural and that IS allowed. If you really want to achieve something, you will keep your end result in mind and you will take small steps each day, whenever an opportunity comes up, to work towards that and achieve your dreams. It will be hard and it will take some time, but you cannot give up. No matter how hard it gets or how much you may want to give up, progress is progress. Each time you do something that brings you closer to your goal, you are making progress and you are moving forward towards success. If you want to loose 2 stone by the end of the year, then gradually eliminate unhealthy foods, start working out more and walking at every chance you get and join a gym or something like that. This is only one example that I could think of, but this advice can apply in more than one situation. It doesn't matter who is putting you down, or saying you can't do it. It doesn't matter if you miss a day at the gym, or if you eat a chocolate bar when you feel fed up. Don't beat yourself up over it. You have to understand that what has happened, has happened and you just have to start the next day with even more motivation than ever before. Think of your end result, think of how positive and confident you will be then. Get your friends to encourage you and spur you on when you want to give up. Motivate yourself. Stick up post it notes with words of encouragement, buy some new clothes in a smaller size and hang them up where you can see them so you can think of wearing them when you are that particular weight. Push yourself. Prove to yourself that you can do it if you just keep going and keep on taking a step forward each day. Even if you are doubtful and you want to just give up, don't! Do not ever give up on your dreams. Remember that anything is possible and if you really want something then you will stay dedicated. Dedication and perseverance are vital. You have to keep on going and slowly improve everyday. You have to be determined and if you are determined then you will get there eventually even if it takes a while at first. Believe in yourself. You are capable of achieving anything.

Keep on going and you shall succeed. I believe in each and every single one of you. Aim, aspire and achieve. You will get there with a little bit of determination and a lot of perseverance. You can do it.

QOTP - What is your highlight of the past week? Mine was that I'm trying my hardest in all my work at school and I'm trying to persevere until I succeed! Let me know what your highlight is.


Friday, 5 June 2015

Monthly Mashup - May 2015

nature never fails to impress me
flowers in the park

another close up of the flower

woodland adventures

sometimes it's nice to just explore

trees are coool

scenic shot

there's something about lakes that are so peaceful

I was really proud of this one haha

close up of a flower

blossoming flower

another scenic shot

me & my beautiful tia xo

one of my favourite pictures - how cute are we!!

paths r cool

white flowers just remind me of summer

geese scare me - actually quite a lot

my bubba x

sunset captured as it's finest


Monday, 1 June 2015

Spread The Sunshine | A New Series

Seeing as it is now the beginning of June, I feel that I should start a fresh. This year hasn't gone too terribly during these first few months, but they haven't been the best and I haven't always been the best that I can be either. I find myself getting into silly arguments on a daily basis and I end up crying over the most pointless of situations. Considering we are half way through the year, I feel that now is the right time to make a change and you can join me on this journey too. It is never too late to start improving your life for the better, but I think that whilst we are still here, we should make the most of it!

Today marks the beginning of my new campaign which is going to be called #SpreadTheSunshine. The aim is to be able to introduce positivity and happiness within our everyday lives and reach our goals that we have longed to reach, but never actually got there. There is so much hate and negativity in the world as it is, but you have the chance to change that. You have the opportunity to achieve your dreams and be able to do what you want to do with your life, so why don't you take it whilst you're young and whilst you still can? If you want to lose weight, or eat healthier, then now is the time to start! If you want to start working harder at school and achieve top grades, then that is possible. If you really put your mind to it, then none of your dreams or ambitions are impossible. You just have to be prepared to put in the time and the effort and remember not to give up, even if it is tough. Nothing good in life comes easy, so you have to work for success!

I really do urge each and every one of you to get involved with my campaign. It's all about spreading that extra bit of positivity to everyone that I can and hoping to make a difference within society. The more people get involved, the more we can reach out to those who need some more sunshine in their lives!
There are going to be many ways that you can get involved and we are all in this as part of a team. This means that we can all support and encourage each other to live the lives that we deserve! 

If you would like to know some more information, I have made a website decicsted to this campaign, so please do go and check it out and sign up if you would like to become part of this journey.
This is the website - http://spreadthesunshine.weebly.com
If you sign up, you will get updates and any information that is necessary in order for you to achieve your goals and become more successful on your self discovery journey. 

My own personal goals are to become more positive and friendly, overcome the  anxieties that I face in a more appropriate, confident way, try to decrease the arguments I have and remove any negativity from my life and to get healthier and exercise more, but I will generally just try to become a better person overall too and find out who I really am!

What are your goals? Are you going to join me on this journey?

Thank you so much for the support that I have received from my friends already and I really do hope that this idea is a success and it helps many people in the future. Spread the sunshine!

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