Sunday, 19 November 2017

For Those Who Need It...

You may believe that you're battling with your darkest demons right now
And you might not be able to see the way to the exit
But, just remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel
Whatever it is that you're going through, it won't last for the rest of your life
You have to go through the bloodiest of battles to recognise that you are one of the strongest soldiers
Every single person who goes through hardships is a survivor, and that's a fact
It's the darkest nights and the toughest of times that produce the brightest stars and the bravest people

Your dark days do not define you
I know that right now you feel as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders
But, I promise you that one day you will find inner peace
You are strong enough to overcome any obstacles
And handle any of the hurdles that get placed in your path
Find that strength from within and hold onto it
Have hope when it comes to your future, trust what is meant to be, and let go of what has already happened
Even in your darkest of days, there will always be someone by your side
I will always be by your side
Cheering you on, and clapping whenever you have proven yourself wrong
I believe that you are capable of achieving anything, so you must believe it too

- JM
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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Is This Reality?

 
Truthfully, I can't remember how it all started, or when it began. It just suddenly came out of no-where, and since then, I've been on quite a journey, which has involved many bumps in the road.

For those of you wondering what in the world I'm talking about, it's derealisation.

"Derealisation (sometimes abbreviated as DR) is an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems unreal".

I'm not entirely sure what triggered it for me, but I experienced a fair bit of trauma during my childhood, and early teenage years, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's one of the main reasons. I won't go into too much detail though, as that's a separate issue altogether.

Fortunately, I don't experience derealisation everyday. However, it has affected my every day life. I'm unable to deal with bright lights, much like the sort that you would find in supermarkets, or shopping centres. Even my school hall causes the same effects for me. I started recognising that derealisation was an issue when I tried going into my local Tesco a number of times, and I felt so spaced out, and anxious that I had to literally speed walk back out into the fresh hair to calm myself down. It was horrendous, and the people around me couldn't work out what was going on either. I probably sounded crazy!

I often sit in class at school, or in the hall for an assembly, but I feel like I'm not really there at all. I feel as though I'm in a dream-like state, a trance almost, and it's as if I'm watching over myself, because my body, and my mind are detached momentarily.

The derealisation that I experience typically comes from anxiety, paranoid thoughts, bright LED lights, tiredness, or even just on random occasions. Research suggests that it can be a characteristic of mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or even schizophrenia.

In all honesty, it's a really tricky thing to manage, and live with, because it's quite unheard of within society, hence why I'm doing this post to raise awareness. I only know a couple of people from the internet that can relate, but now a few YouTubers, such as Dodie Clark, and Sarah Hawkinson, have made videos about it, which is actually quite a comfort to me.

Although there isn't much you can do, some types of medication, and even therapy are available, either on the NHS, or privately if you're living in the UK. Once you have worked out what the root cause(s), or your triggers are, then you can find ways to get through it each time you have an unpleasant experience.

Personally, I'm always with people that I feel comfortable with, I try to face my fears, and push myself out if my comfort one when possible so I don't miss out on any opportunities, I talk about my feelings, and I focus on my breathing.

I'd be really interested to know if any of you have experienced, or do experience derealisation, and whether you have ever sought help for it! Let me know either way.

Lots of love always,
 

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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Learning To Love Yourself Is A Journey

 
 If you have been a long time reader of my blog, you'll know that I'm a pretty open book when it comes to my life and all of the experiences that I have had throughout. Growing up without a father figure, break-ups, and mental health to name just a few. They haven't all been pretty, but they have made me who I am today.
 
It's now time for me delve even deeper into the story of my life so far, and this time, I'm going to be talking about my experience with a personal insecurity, which developed into bullying.
 
As it's something that I've never spoken about before, I am quite nervous, but even if it helps just one person or brings comfort to them, then I've done what I set out to do!
 
Ever since I was younger, I've had a physical characteristic that has always been slightly different to other people's.
 
I've always had a misaligned jaw, which has a tendency to slant towards the left, rather than being central. 
 
Don't ask me why my jaw is this way though. I guess that's just the way it developed.  The lower one protrudes more so than the upper, meaning they generally just don't line up together, which causes my mouth to look different to the 'average' persons. In addition to this, my chin also protrudes forward. It doesn't hurt, and it doesn't cause any problems with eating, swallowing, talking or anything else. I just have a slight lisp sometimes, which a lot of people do just naturally have anyway.
 
Apart from that, my teeth are healthy, and fairly straight, so I don't actually need braces and I never have done, because that isn't the issue.
 
The only way that I could 'correct' (and I use that term lightly) my misaligned jaw is if I have surgery, which, as I've researched and heard about, seems absolutely horrendous. Professionals would essentially have to break my jaw, fix the position, screw it back into place and leave me in recovery from local anaesthetic and the op itself possibly for about 6-8 weeks, depending on the individual. I wouldn't be able to eat, sleep properly, talk, or get on with my day to day life.
 
I don't know about you, but that sounds like my worst nightmare. Have I not put my body through enough for these 16 years already without altering it and potentially damaging it further?
 
And for what reason have I been considering this surgery? To please other people and stop the bullying and the remarks.
 
I have a misaligned jaw and that's something that I've developed since birth. There's no denying it or hiding away from the facts. It's something I've faced years of torture and taunting over. This physical characteristic that I can't control has been the main reason as to why I've been laughed at for most of my life.
 
There are people out there who have to live with much worse than this. There are people who feel like their weight is the reason they get hated on, their skin colour, their background, their learning difficulties, the area that they have grown up in. There are people who have to live with vile treatment from others, because of a disability or an impairment that they have, which they never asked for. That makes me so incredibly sad and to be truthful to you, my heart breaks every time I hear of this going on in the world.
 
We all have imperfections. Some of us may have a pointy nose, glasses, chubby thighs, ears that stick out, smaller boobs. We all have our own individual insecurities - and to be honest, that's a comfort in itself. It's a comfort to know that nobody thinks their perfect. Nobody toots their own trumpet and is up their own arse every day of their lives (maybe some of the time, but that's allowed!). Whether others can see your insecurity or not is irrelevant. They shouldn't ever pass a comment or feel the need to have their say based on whatever judgement they have made. It's wrong and it's so horribly unkind. I'm going to be upfront and say that I have been rude to people before. I have called people fat, ugly, spotty, hairy, smelly and more - whether it was years ago, or recently, directly or indirectly. I still did it at some point and I'm not proud of myself for that, but we all make mistakes and sometimes we don't think before we speak.
 
However, after battling with my body and fighting with this insecurity for years, I've realised that enough is enough. I need to be nicer and kinder to myself. I need to practise what I preach and stop with the self-loathing. I always try to be nice and kind to others, so why do I seem unable to do that for myself? It makes no sense! I am who I am and in no way, shape or form does my jaw change what I'm capable of. I can still do all the things that I want to do and that's something that I should be grateful for. Yes, I may look different and yes I may be subjected to hate more so than some people, but who really gives a toss?!
 
I get that there are a few individuals out there who would probably only recognise me, because of my 'wonky' jaw, but that's their call. It's what they remember me by, and should that be such a bad thing? It makes me unique and anyway, I'd rather be a flamingo out of a flock of pigeons (who are the people that hate on me).
 
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be able to smile confidently in pictures and I'd love to get approached by photographers and fancied by boys, but if it's ever meant to be one day, it will be!
 
So, no, I won't be getting corrective surgery. And no, I won't be ashamed of this attribute any longer. It is what it is and the fact that I can still try to help others, be successful in school, travel the world and give love to the important people in my life is all that matters. Unless there is ever a non-surgical option and I genuinely want to make that change for me, it's a straight up no-no.
 
Whatever your insecurity is, you're fabulous just the way you are. Who cares if I look different from certain angles? Who cares if I don't fit in with the crowd? Who cares if I'll never be a top model?
 
I am me and you are you. That is our power - and together, we will show the haters who's boss!
 
Lots of love always,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Friday, 14 July 2017

All About: Beautiful Minds Magazine

 
Credit to Nicole for the photo off her blog

This post has been in the pipeline for a while now and I'm so excited to be able to finally share it with you guys!
 
You may or may not already be aware that I'm a writer, assistant and social media co-ordinator for the Beautiful Minds Magazine, which, can you believe, is actually being launched tomorrow!! How bloody exciting is that?
 
I thought I'd do an interview with the lovely lady behind the brand, just so that you can all get more of an insight into the whole idea and then hopefully you'll be rushing over to Etsy to make your purchase. Well, that's what myself and all of the team are secretly hoping!
 
Without me waffling on anymore, let's get straight down to business...
 
1. Hi, Nicole! It's a pleasure to have you here on my blog today. So, tell us all a little bit about yourself...


Hi, I'm Nicole, I'm 18 and I'm a mental health and wellbeing blogger from the South-West of England. I aim to support those struggling with their mental health, educate those who don't know much about mental health and smash the stigma around mental health. I've been blogging for over three years now and honestly, starting a blog was one of the best things I have ever done. It has given me so many fantastic opportunities which I couldn't be more grateful for. 


2. Where did the idea for Beautiful Minds come from and what was the inspiration behind the name?


So, I suffer from OCD which often causes me to have panic attacks when I'm in stressful or triggering situations. When I have a panic attack in town, I always go to WHSmiths because I find it calming to be around books. During one of these times, I found myself in the magazine section, looking for a magazine dedicated to mental health, but there wasn't anything. So low and behold the idea of Beautiful Minds was born. 


I chose the name Beautiful Minds because I strongly believe that everyone has a beautiful mind, no matter what mental health difficulties or life experiences they have had or are currently going through. Sometimes, they just need a little helping hand to flourish into their full potential.   

3. Aside from the magazine itself, you also have an Etsy shop! Tell us a little more about that and what you sell...


Yes, we do! So the Etsy shop sells stickers, which aims to raise awareness of mental health. We encourage people who buy them to stick them up in public places to brighten people's day and get people talking about mental health more openly and not just behind closed doors. 


4. What can people expect from this first issue? Are you hoping for future issues to be even bigger and better?


People can expect a jam-packed magazine full of real advice, tips and stories from individuals who have had personal mental health struggles. We aim to discuss mental health in an honest and open way, covering everything from depression and anxiety, to less well known mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder. There are DIYs and colouring pages and so much more. I wanted to create a safe place, which takes a very Frank approach to mental health, covering all topics, no matter how taboo - not just anxiety and depression. If you yourself struggle with mental illness or know someone who does or maybe you just want to learn more about mental health, you will get so much out of this magazine. 


Yes, I'm hoping to do some professional interviews, offer more articles and advice covering even more issues and topics with the aim of continuing to break down the mental health stigma.


5. Is 'Beautiful Minds' going to turn into a brand in the future, or will it just always remain as the Etsy and the magazine itself?


Yes, I'm hoping it will turn into a brand in the future. At the moment the magazine is run on a tiny budget, however, if it goes down well, the profits from the magazine will go straight back into making each issue bigger and better! Watch this space...


6. Finally, how would you describe this whole project in 5 words?


Hard work, stressful, exciting, insightful and rewarding. 

Beautiful Minds is on sale from the 15th July. Buy it from Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BeautifulMindsShop 
 
 
Lots of love always,
 
 
 


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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Think Before You Speak

 
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you will probably have watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix by now. I'm yet to finish Season 1, but the producers have already confirmed that they will be bringing out Season 2 at some point, so I better hurry up!
 
Although this post isn't solely based on the drama itself, I feel as though it's important to take some time to discuss the message behind it. Bullying, self-harm, sexual assault and suicide seem to be such taboo topics and I want to stop that and smash the stigma surrounding them all.
 
They are 4 major issues that I, and so many other people have struggled with, whether that be years ago, recently or even if it's an ongoing thing. The truth is, everybody has at least one issue that they struggle with in silence. Even if you think that somebody you know personally has a perfect life, I can guarantee that they deal with their own demons too.
 
In today's society, we don't always think before we speak. We are all so quick to judge and sometimes we can act carelessly, even when we don't mean to. Sometimes, I've said things that I perceive to be jokes, or simply a bit of 'banter', but then the person that was on the receiving end could have gone home in tears. People are incredibly judgemental and insensitive nowadays and they do things in the spur of the moment. This isn't okay. Your words and actions can hurt. You could push someone off the edge. You could be the reason that someone breaks down, questioning their self-worth every night before they go to sleep. Could you live with yourself knowing that you were the reason that somebody spiralled out of control, their mental health deteriorating as each day goes by?
 
I've been bullied before. Maybe you have? Your brother, sister, cousin, best friend? It's honestly one of the worst situations to be in and the way that it makes an individual feel is indescribable. Nobody deserves that - not even your worst enemy.
 
There are over 7 billion of us in this world. 7 billion is such an incredibly huge number. More people are being born every day. I certainly don't want any children getting born into a world full of hatred and fear. We all only get one life. We need to make the most of it.
 
I'm using my social media following in the way that I believe everyone should. People probably don't look up to me, as I'm just an average 16 year old girl, but I have an attitude that I hope everybody reading this post can adopt and pass on. I'm here to talk about what matters. I'm here to talk about taboo topics. I'm here to try and use my platform to make a difference and stand up for what I believe in. I'm here to use my voice and roar for what is right. People shouldn't be suffering in silence. It's 2017 and there are still horrific tragedies going on in the world. There are acts of terrorism happening, which should not be happening. I will never condone hatred or harm to others, whether that be humans or animals in any way at all. Innocent people are either taking their lives, or losing their lives every second. That realisation truly does break my heart and my thoughts, love and prayers go to anyone who has ever been affected negatively by anything, whether that's terrorism, racism, bullying, crime, violence, sexual abuse - anything.
 
Making a difference starts at home, with you. You can be the change you wish to see in the world. You can choose to be kind. You can choose to be caring. You can choose to try and be more positive and make others feel the same.
 
I'm going to be doing more of these posts over the coming weeks, because I really do feel like they could impact someone's life and encourage them to change things around for the better. Let me know what you think and whether it's helped you!
 
Let's finish off with a poem that I wrote a little while ago..
 
Not everybody will like you
Not everybody will understand you
Not everybody will treat you as if you are somebody
All of that is irrelevant
You need to be aware of your self worth
You need to radiate positivity
You need to smile through the sadness
Anything is possible
You can do absolutely anything that your heart desires
 
 
Lots of love always,
 

 
 
 

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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Staying Positive During Tough Times

 
When you are on the edge of breaking point, it can seem almost impossible to remain hopeful. It's like the sort of situation where if you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, you're unable to believe that it even exists at all. You may want to throw in the towel. You may want to curl up into a tight ball for the rest of eternity. That's not on though. That won't get you anywhere.

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

Mental Health Q&A


It's no secret by now that if you've been reading my blog, or following me on Twitter for a while, you will know how passionate I am about mental health. As a 15 year old, I've been through my fair share of mental health problems, but I'm in no way ashamed of them. They have made me who I am, and without them, I wouldn't have learnt as many lessons as I have done.

I thought that today I'd do a Q&A, just to give you the opportunity to ask me anything you want about mental health, and all things relating to this sensitive subject. I hope you find it helpful, or informative in some way!

What advice would you give to someone who has a mental health condition, but is struggling to come to terms with it?

The first thing I just want to say is that accepting the fact that you're not okay is the first step. It's without a doubt the hardest one, but after that, you can work through how you're going to deal with whatever the mental health concern is that you have. If you know within yourself that there is something wrong, you will gradually need to try, and accept it as time goes on, because although it's a part of your life, there are ways to make it easier, and it doesn't define you in the slightest. You are still you. To help you with the whole acceptance process, you could try doing research about your condition. Mind, YoungMinds, Sane, and Samaritans are some of the leading organisations that you could have a look at if you're in need of support regarding your mental health. Alternatively, you could talk to professionals. Whether that be on the phone, in person, or in a different way, these people know what they're talking about, and their main priority is to help you, and to look after you. You can then talk about treatment, coping strategies, and the whole recovery process with someone who is trained in that area. If neither of those tips help, you can check out this website here, which may be of more use.

Do you have any rituals to improve your mental health?

I actually do have a couple, which are quite straight-forward, but they really do help when I'm having a particularly tough time in regards to my mental health. I did a collaborative blog post a couple of months ago, based on my self care tips, which you can go on over, and read here. I also linked a couple of resources that you could use at the bottom of the post, which may be useful as well! The main thing I'd say is do things that calm you down, and bring you contentment. I either read, write, blog, have a bath, or a pamper evening, disconnect myself, or sleep, and relax my mind, and I also talk to people about my problems. People often underestimate the power or talking, but it really can make all the difference.

Who do you rely on?

Over the past few months especially, I've learnt that you should try to not rely on anyone, apart from yourself. Rather than 'relying' on certain people, I'd say that I turn to some in tough times rather than others. A couple of the people that I'm closest to are (obviously) my family, particularly my Grandma, and I'm also quite close to my Uncle, but then there's also school friends that I lean on when I'm in need of support, and a couple of bloggers too! I guess it varies really. It's important to have a selection of people that you can trust, so depending on the situation, you know that there will always be someone, who will understand.

How do you help someone who is suffering with their mental health?

This is probably one of the most difficult questions to wrap your head around, but it takes time, and it takes both practise, and patience too. It does depend on the severity, and the sort of mental illness though. I'm only going to be talking from personal experience, but if it works for me, it may well work for you as well. The main thing that you can do is simply be there. Make sure that they know you're always there for them, whether that be physically, or through forms of social media. Try to encourage them to open up about their feelings once you have built that level of trust within your friendship, or relationship. Maybe you could tactfully express your concerns, and explain that you want to help, but they need to tell you how you can do so in order to make the situation easier for them. Tell them that you'll come to any appointments, or meetings with them, and you'll speak up on behalf of them if they feel they're unable to at the time. Support really is key, and if there's any other way you can help the person, try to ask them what they feel they need, and when possible, aim to do exactly that.

What do you think can be done to improve young people's understanding of mental health illnesses?

Mental health education seriously needs to become a part of the curriculum. As a student myself, I can honestly say that I've never had a proper lesson about mental health, and it really is ridiculous. So many teenagers are suffering, and this suffering will continue into adulthood, and it could potentially worsen throughout the rest of the individual's life if it doesn't get treated as soon as the problem arises. I also think that organisations, such as YoungMinds should go into schools, and do presentations in classes, and assemblies. YouTubers, and bloggers who are a part of the mental health niche could also go into schools, and do presentations, or talk about their personal experiences too. If all of these points get considered, I genuinely think that young people's understanding of mental illnesses will improve considerably.

What's the most common misconception about mental illnesses?

If you don't struggle with your mental health personally, it can be really difficult to understand things from someone else's point of view if they do. There are many misconceptions, but I still think that after all this time, the most common one is that those who struggle are attention-seeking. As soon as things get real, and others see the situation for themselves, they can often immediately jump to conclusions, and start firing their negative opinions, even when the person is already facing enough battles of their own everyday. Just because someone doesn't suffer with their mental health, it doesn't mean that someone who does is over the top, or exaggerating how they feel. Maybe you think it looks that way, but you shouldn't ever say that to someone, as it will only make matters worse. 9 times out of 10, it isn't done in an attention-seeking way, and it genuinely can't be helped at all. I know this from personal experience, and I definitely don't appreciate others passing comments, especially if they act like they're attempting to understand at other times. You never know what life is like in someone else's shoes, so please, please don't make assumptions based on what you see. Try to help, rather than hurt people further.

If this post has opened the eyes of even one person, then I'll be happy, and I'll feel as though I've done what I set out to do. Thank you to everyone that sent me in questions, and if you want to see more mental health posts, then please let me know!

How do you feel after reading this post? Has it helped you at all?
 
Lots of love always,
 
Jade xo

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Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Journey To Recovery | A New Series

Today marks the beginning of a brand new series. It's called 'The Journey To Recovery'. The reason that I'm going to be working on this new series is because I find recovery so, so important as a part of every human's life. We all go through difficult times, whether it be the death of a loved one, a break-up, mental health issues, bullying, self-esteem, relationship problems - whatever it is, we all experience them. I have been through quite a lot during my 14 years of life and I feel that I'm now slowly beginning to find myself and get back on the right track. I want this series to be mainly focused on strength, recovery, positivity and encouragement. I shall be doing a variety of posts on things such as, techniques, self-help book reviews, motivating quotes, uplifting songs, helpful distractions, treatments, supportive charities/organisations, interviews with friends who have experienced these issues personally, q&a's, getting to know my story, talking about how I'm planning on recovery and becoming stronger etc. I feel that it will be beneficial to many people and it's promoting positivity, which is essentially what my blog is about anyway. As I mentioned earlier, recovery is so important, whatever term it may be used in. It's all about finding yourself and overcoming obstacles to become the best version of you that you can be and moving on from the struggles you have dealt with in the past. I'm going to do my best to help as many of you, including myself, as I can. There should be 1 post a week, so I shall see you all very soon! I hope you like it!
 
 
QOTP ~ 'I didn't come here to tell you my sob story, I came here to tell you it gets better' ~
 

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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, 25 May 2015

Mental Health Monday #7 | Depression

 
 
What Is Depression?
 
Depression is the most common mental health disorder in Britain, according to research. It can be an incredibly debilitating and draining condition which can have physical and emotional effects on a person's life. It can effect someone in many ways, but it typically interferes with a person's ability to complete daily tasks, find interest in things and even to function properly. I don't feel that enough people understand about depression and that is one of the reasons why I am doing this post today.
 
 
What Are The Symptoms?
 
Feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. You have a bleak, uninterested outlook on life. You may feel as if things will never get better and there truly is no light at the end of the tunnel, or anyway to help you situation.
 
Loss of interest in daily activities. You feel no interest towards any activities e.g. hobbies, relationships, work, friendships or anything else. You feel little to no joy or pleasure anymore.
 
Appetite or weight changes. You may find yourself eating a lot more, or a lot less than what your regular amount is.
 
Sleep changes. You may either be experiencing insomnia (inability to fall asleep properly, or stay asleep for a long amount of time) or you could be oversleeping, which is also called hypersomnia.
 
Anger or irritability. You may feel increasingly agitated, restless or even violent. Your temper may be short and you may feel as if everyone and everything is annoying you, no matter what the issue.
 
Loss of energy. You may be feeling tired, sluggish and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy and you may find it hard to even complete small, simple tasks.
 
Self-loathing.  You may feel as if you aren't good enough or that nobody likes you or cares about you. You harshly criticise yourself far too often.
 
Reckless behaviour. You may begin self-harming, turning to alcohol, drugs, careless driving or engaging in activities that may harm your body.
 
Concentration issues. You may have problems focusing, making decisions or even remembering things.
 
Unexplained aches and pains. You may have random headaches, back pain, aching muscles or stomach pains.
 
 
 
The Stigma Around Depression
 
Mental health problems are extremely common, but 9 out of 10 people that experience them have said that they experience stigma and discrimination from others. This stigma and discrimination can be very hard to deal with as it can result in loss of friendships, relationships, social isolation, exclusion from activities, difficulty in getting and maintaining a job, not finding any help and therefore resulting in a slower recovery. Equally, stigma can cause people to shy away and bottle up their problems in fear of being judged or laughed at, so they won't be able to receive the support they need. This is why we need to join together and help end all discrimination and stigma so this illness is not such a taboo and then sufferers will be able to get the help that they deserve to be able to recover.
 
How To Help End Stigma - Time To Change Campaign
 
The aim of the Time To Change campaign is to encourage all of us to open up and discuss our mental health, which will hopefully mean that we can start conversations with those who may need guidance. You could take part by raising awareness and talking to those around you about mental health issues. You could share a blog story to raise awareness, sign up to receive Time To Change emails and you could even add your name to their pledge wall, just like I did, joining hundreds of thousands of people to encourage others to open up and discuss the taboo subject which is mental health issues.
 
The Road To Depression Recovery
 
Ask for help and support. Even if the thought of tackling your depression may seem very overwhelming at first, don't panic. Just because you are currently feeling this way, it doesn't mean you are weak, or pathetic or anything else! These emotions are completely normal due to your illness and that is not within your control, so don't think that there is no way out of this tunnel. You should try starting with baby steps and ask for help. Find someone who seems like a good listener and discuss your feelings and your emotions with them. Don't be afraid. Its better to be out in the open rather than bottled up where it will only cause you more pain instead of making anything better. Having a strong support system will help to encourage and fuel your recovery process. Reach out to others, even if it may feel like you're a burden to them or as if you are not important. Please just try it. Most people will be delighted that you have chosen to open up to them; they'll be flattered that you would actually consider opening up about something that is so personal to you. Let your loved ones know what you are going through and then they will be able to support you and find you proper help. Although it's really important to have support of other people, you have to try to not rely on others too much as if they did stop becoming so involved one day, then you would be lost, so you do need to rely on yourself and build a positive relationship with yourself too, just to avoid further upset.  
 
Make healthy lifestyle changes. Try to make positive, supportive relationships with those around you. Get regular exercise and plenty of sleep each night. Eat healthily as this will help to boost your mood. Learn how to manage your stress and practise relaxation techniques. Challenge your negative thought patterns and change those negative ones into positive ones as often as you possibly can. Keep yourself busy with other things and try to distract your mind. Treat yourself to something nice once in a while such as a pamper night, shopping, get your nails done, go out for a meal etc.
 
Build emotional skills. Many people struggle to balance their emotions and learn how to manage stress. Building emotional skills can help you to bounce back from any trauma that you have experienced, causing you to feel these negative emotions. Learn how to recognise and express your inner feelings.
 
Seek professional help. If support from your loved ones, healthy lifestyle changes and building emotional skills still isn't enough when tackling your mental health, then please seek help from a professional mental health expert. There are many treatments for depression, including therapy, medication, and alternative treatments. Learning about your options will help you to decide what is best for you and your situation.
 
Resources
 

Samaritans

24-hour helpline: 08457 90 90 90
jo@samaritans.org
samaritans.org
Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, Chris
PO Box 90 90
Stirling
FK8 2SA
 
 
 
 
If you are unsure on how to bring up the topic, you can just sit one of your loved ones down and either give them a letter explaining your thoughts and what you are going through or if you have a comfortable, open relationship with your parents or someone close to you, then you can just bring it up into conversation and arrange on getting a doctors appointment or facing the next step together. Once you have got that first step out of the way of accepting and admitting your illness, then you will be able to take the next steps towards recovery and finding a happier you. Remember that you are never alone and there is always going to be support available. I will always be here for any of you that have mental health issues, or any other concerns or questions in general. I promise you.
 
Ways To Contact Me
 
Instagram - jademillardx
Snapchat - jadey_millardx
Tumblr - teenage-insanity
Kik - jade_millard13
 
If you need to contact me, just go for it. I promise I won't judge anyone, no matter what you tell/ask me and I will do my very best to help, whilst remaining strictly confidential. I love you all so much.
 
♥
 
 
 

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