journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

8 things not to say to someone with mental illness

The 8 things below have been said to me during my battle with mental illness. I’d love to hear the things people have said to you that they shouldn’t have said in regards to your illness!

1. “You have everything going for you. You have people who love you, you’re going to university, you have an amazing family…etc.” Although I appreciate that I’ve gotten into university, that I have people who love me and amazing family…I still have a mental illness. Although I may have ‘everything going for me’ I don’t feel as though I do. I did not decide to have these thoughts or behaviours so please don’t talk as though I can change so easy.

2. “I don’t really think you should be taking your medication, you’ve been on it a while. Maybe you should cut it down or stop it altogether.” My medication allows me to function. If I didn’t take my medication, I’d have panic attacks every single day, even just getting out of bed. At the moment, I do not feel better with a decreased amount of medication. It is not addicting, so please don’t worry.

3. “You can’t be like this forever. You’ll have to get a job, get married, and have a family. How do you expect to get friends or a boyfriend like this?” Many of my mental illnesses have been with me since I was a small child and I’m sure they’re not going to budge any time soon. I don’t know how long my mental illnesses will last, but they will never go away. Someday I may enter recovery, but I will still have mental illness.

4. “You’re just attention seeking.” Trust me; if I could choose not to be mentally ill I would! I didn’t choose this for myself. No way in hell would I want to suffer with deliberating anxiety and depression everyday, with panic attacks and thoughts of self-harm and suicide. I wouldn’t be starving and exercising if I truly loved my body.

5. “You’re not the only one.” I’m aware that around 450 million people in the world suffer with some sort of mental health condition, that doesn’t make it any easier for me. Although I feel for these people and know what they are going through, I cannot get better simply because others suffer too.

6. “Some people have mental illness worse.” I am so aware that people have mental illness worse. I know I am lucky to not suffer from debilitating hallucinations and voices 24 hours a day, but everyone with mental illness struggles, whether it be because of Anxiety or Schizophrenia.

7. “Don’t you want to get better?” Of course I don’t want to be this way forever but it has been the only way that I know. Mental illnesses has become a safety blanket which makes it difficult to imagine a life without it.

8. “Everyone feels the same way sometimes.” Although everyone experiences a range of emotions, not everyone has a mental illness. Everyone gets sad, but not everyone experiences the hopeless pit of despair that comes with Depression.  Being anxious for the dentist is not the same as having a panic attack.

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Panic Attacks

Today, I’ve had 3 panic attacks.

It’s just one of those days.

I haven’t had panic attacks for a long while, but today they just decided to rear their ugly head. I woke up fine, tired, but fine. Not ready to listen to a 2 hour lecture on language, but fine. Then all of sudden I couldn’t breathe, my vision went blurry, I couldn’t focus, I started stimming (knee bouncing, rocking and finger touching) and developed cyanosis on my fingernails (a big indicator for me that a panic attack is coming due to lack of oxygen). At first, I couldn’t handle the situation but I simply got up from the lecture and left. It took 25 minutes but I eventually calmed myself down by finding an empty classroom, pacing and watching a clock.

Since that 10am panic attack I have had a further 2. I’m hoping there will be no more.

Panic attacks can be such scary things – you can’t breathe, you feel like you’re dying, you’re so cold and shaky. But it’s okay – they subside eventually and you learn to breathe again. You take a nap and feel a lot better.

I’ve decided to insert a link below from the NHS that should help you learn to deal with your panic attacks if you do suffer with them.

How to deal with panic attacks

Have a lovely day and I’m here if need be.

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

5 Eating Disorder myths!

Misunderstanding when it comes to mental health usually affects the way people respond as well as creating mental health stigma. It’s important to know the true facts and figures when it comes to mental illnesses like eating disorders. This improves prevention, early identification and helps others seek help.

Below are the 5 myths that I have come across during my own battle with eating disorders and they frustrated me so much and hindered me in my recovery that I believe they deserve to be highlighted so that others do not use these myths.

  1. Myth 1: “You need to be thin in order to have an eating disorder.” Eating disorders are a psychological disorder and are defined by an abnormal ATTITUDE towards food. The most common eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, bulimia and binge eating. You can not tell whether a person has an eating disorder by looking at their size. I was overweight when I developed Anorexia Nervosa, which meant I had to lose nearly 4 stone in 10 months without having access to any help.
  2. Myth 2: “Eating disorders are not serious.” Eating disorders are serious and potentially life threatening mental illnesses. Eating disorders not only involve psychological impairment and distress, but they are also associated with serious medical complications. The mortality rate for eating disorders is the highest of all psychiatric illnesses.
  3. Myth 3: “Eating disorders are a phase.” An eating disorder is a serious mental illness. It is not a phase and it will not be resolved without treatment and support. There is an average of approximately 4 years between the start of disordered eating behaviours and first treatment.
  4. Myth 4: “If people with eating disorders would just eat, they would get better.” Eating disorders are not solely about food. Healthy eating habits are essential to recovery, but eating normally is not the only solution.
  5. Myth 5: “Only women can be affected by eating disorders.” Women are not the only ones who can suffer from eating disorders. In fact, the latest information states that 1 in 4 cases of eating disorders affect men.

Please bear in mind the true facts of eating disorder and help dismantle the myths. Myths can lead to serious misunderstanding and judgement when it comes to our mental illnesses.

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Please be disorder aware and support those who may be suffering.

Have a beautiful day

grief · in loving memory · journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

If tears could build a stairway,

If tears could build a stairway,
and memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven
and bring you back again.

No farewell words were spoken,
No time to say “Goodbye”.
You were gone before I knew it,
and only God knows why.

My heart still aches with sadness,
and secret tears still flow.
What it meant to love you –
No one can ever know.

But now I know you want me
to mourn for you no more;
To remember all the happy times
life still has much in store.

Since you’ll never be forgotten,
I pledge to you today~
A hollowed place within my heart
is where you’ll always stay.

heaven

journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Life gets better!

Life gets better. Does it really? You’ve probably heard this phrase a thousand times during your battle with mental illness. Truth is, people aren’t just saying it. Life actually does get better. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. But it will someday, I promise. You’ll have good days, and you’ll have bad days, just remember; the bad days only last 24 hours! You will get through this. You will live again. Today will be better than yesterday. Tomorrow will be better than today.

I know it’s not easy to believe that things get better. This world is big, dark, scary place…especially if you’re only 18 years old like me. The world is massive – full of mystery, full of surprise, of happiness, of wonder, of future…It’s what you make it. Having mental illness can damper your view on this world, I know. I’ve experienced it first hand. You feel so alone – like everyone around you has figured out their life but you. You feel like no one understands you, no one understands your pain or your struggle. You don’t know how to reach out to people, you don’t know how to live everyday with happiness. You feel like you’re the only person that feels so down all the time. Truth is; those people around you that look so happy all the time – you don’t see them 24 hours a day like you see yourself. What happens when you’re not there? They cry, they have bad days, sometimes they don’t want to live any more too. We are never alone. I promise.

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Life is hard. Whether it is trouble with family, friends, your workplace, or perhaps, the inability to even find employment, there are many factors that contribute to making our lives that much more difficult to deal with. Life IS stressful, Fortunately, there are small ways to embrace the very precious things in our daily lives that we sometimes forget to enjoy.

Please, become comfortable with yourself. No amount of anything, be it money or otherwise, will make you happy if you are unhappy with yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and list all the things you like about yourself. Do you like your hair, your eyes, your personality? I bet you’re a wonderful person. Are you caring, considerate, loving? You are you. No one else is like you – you are amazing! Don’t hope to be somebody else.

Accept that you make mistakes. Allow the knowledge you carried afterwards to make you a stronger & wiser person. It’s only a problem if you keep repeating these mistakes. Accept the past altogether. While it is easier said than done, it must be done. You cannot alter history. As devastating or hurtful as the past can be, it is the future we look toward and can impact. Use tragedy as an outlet to join community efforts that seek to prevent/support that cause. Remember that whatever you are doing should be toward making a better tomorrow. Not rehashing the past. If you find yourself thinking more of the past than your future perhaps you should seek the help of a professional/family member/church member that you can talk to to help to give you the nudge you need to move forward with your beautiful life.

Remember you are loved and you live to love. There are people in this world who although they may not know you, love you. This could be distant family or perhaps, a stranger who simply believes in your potential. Know that you are loved and exude that love to those around you so that you may reap the reward of being an exemplary example of human kindness and self-fulfillment. You have to love yourself in order to love others entirely.

Be priceless. There is no amount of monetary value that can be placed on changing someone’s life in a positive way. Be the first to lend a hand or simply listen to someone. Even if you aren’t the person you’d like to be today, love yourself and send love to the person you’re working so hard to become.

Smile. It always gets better if you want it to. No amount of self-loathing will change your present. But hard work and a genuine smile will be your gift for tomorrow.

Negative thoughts plague us all. When they begin, think of things you do like. Distract yourself momentarily with things you do love and find something positive to do. Do not linger with these thoughts. Be strong and move on.

I love you!

journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

5 struggles of an Anorexic

Having an eating disorder can be such a struggle and there are so many myths associated with the condition. When I was unwell, I came up with 5 struggles that people with eating disorders go through.

  1. Hunger. A lot of people think that people with Anorexia hate food altogether and refuse to eat much. This is not the case. Although we do try to limit our intake of food and absolutely hate consuming it, we do feel hungry. Sometimes, we do get cravings and want to eat chocolate or ice cream or that piece of cake you just offered at the birthday party. Hunger seems to be a constant emotion. The amount of food we take in is usually controlled by ‘Ana’ or the voice in our head, even if we do wish to eat more.
  2. Weight. We don’t always lose weight. Some weeks, we could lose a couple of pound. Some weeks, we could gain some. It can be so difficult. Not all people with Anorexia start off with a low body weight. Some people with Anorexia start off with a normal body weight or may even be overweight. Anorexia is a disorder of the MIND, not body, and so it can be terribly frustrating when people have the belief that all Anorexics are severely underweight.
  3. Emotion. An eating disorder, like any mental illness, can cause serious distress. With Anorexia comes a lot of confusion. It’s being completely safe and comfortable controlling your food intake and exercising excessively but then becoming extremely irritated, upset and guilty when others want you to eat more, or notice you aren’t eating very much, or when others make comments on your weight and appearance. Daily and weekly weigh-ins pay a big role on what our mood will be. If we lose weight, we are more than likely going to feel happy and fall deeper into our eating disordered patterns. If we gain weight, we feel terribly frustrated, guilty and angry which leads us to be irritable with everyone we come into contact with.
  4. Lies. There’s one thing you have to be good at when you have an eating disorder. Lying. You have to be good at lying in order to keep it quiet, in order to stop people finding out what is going on. We have to lie, even if we don’t want to. Did we eat today? Oh yes, of course. How long did you exercise for? Oh, only about half an hour. Are you feeling okay? Oh, yes I’m fine.
  5. Exercise. A lot of people believe that because we exercise excessively and spend endless amounts of time at the gym that we simply love to exercise. It’s not always the case. Exercise makes us feel less guilty and allows us to keep the little amount of calories we consumed inside our stomach. Sometimes, we don’t have any energy to exercise. Going to the gym is sometimes the last thing we want to do. But, we do it anyway, because in our disordered minds, it allows us to feel safe. Exercise is a necessity, one that we must do every single day in order to feel okay about the food we’ve eaten.
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My first encounter with Anorexia – in the midst of my illness, May 2014
journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Positive mindset, positive recovery

When you suffer with mental health problems, the ability to remain positive, calm and happy is an absolute battle every single day. However, I’ve learned that focusing on positive things does you so well during the day, helps relax you and allows you to carry about your day. Mental health problems have prevented me from doing things, and the negative mind-set controls me more often than I’d like to admit. Being happy and positive does not come natural to me and I struggle every morning just to think of something positive. Mental health is not black and white, its often grey. There is no handbook or guide, there is no instructions. You get given each morning like a puzzle to solve out.

This morning, I chose positive recovery. This morning, I chose happiness. This morning, I was strong. Often I don’t feel strong enough and the bad days currently outweigh the good, but this just allows me to appreciate the good days so much more.

I woke up exhausted as usual but the sun was shining behind the curtains and I longed to go out there and get some fresh air. I reluctantly got dressed and took a 20 minute walk around the area. I felt so refreshed, at peace, and my mind (for once) was completely free from thought. I then made it to my lecture at 1pm (such a miracle as my motivation skills are 0 most of the time) and straight after headed over to the gym for a good workout. Throughout the day there have been many moments where I have faltered. There’s been tears and there’s been laughter. I have struggled but today I lived.

I love you – yes you reading this – for breathing. You are so strong. It can be so hard to stay positive, but some days the positive will outweigh the negative.

Keep smiling, always.

journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Mental Health | Facts & Myths

Today I uploaded a video on the facts and myths of mental health! A few weeks ago on my old blog I posted facts and myths to mental health and a lot of you stated that you would prefer it in video, so I did just that!

Enjoy! 🙂 Don’t forget to share the link to social media so that others can see too!

Have a blessed day

Facts and Myths

journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey

What Do You See? (A poem by me)

The poem below is something I wrote whilst inspired by the old man poem. It is adapted to relate to mental health.

Now tell me nurses, what do you see?

Why are you looking, looking at me?

Do you think I am crazy, blank, and unwise?

Unable to communicate, with distant eyes.

When you ask me questions, and you get no reply,

It’s like you think I don’t even try.

You think I don’t notice anything that goes on,

But I’m here, and I’m listening – I’m not gone.

I’m resistant but you continue to do as you will,

I sit here in hospital, the long day to fill.

What do you think nurses, what do you think?

I have a mental disorder and I’m beginning to sink?

I am ill, I know, but I am still me,

So now open your eyes, what do you see?

Sit here and listen as I begin to explain,

I’ll tell you, I have a lot to exclaim.

I’m a small baby sleeping in my mother’s arms,

As she rocks me to sleep I feel so calm.

I’m a chid now of eight with the world at my feet,

Looking around for new friends to meet.

I’m a teenager now and becoming withdrawn,

I don’t know why but I start to mourn.

I’m diagnosed with mental illness, still a child at heart,

Then from home to this hospital I depart.

I think of the years and all that I’ve known,

None of now is not my own.

All of the days and years gone too fast,

And I accept the fact that nothing can last.

Now tell me nurses, what do you see?

No longer a girl with distant eyes,

But a girl who was loved, vibrant and wise.

So now open your eyes nurses, what do you see?

Not a mental illness…no, just me.

[credit: wrote by me, inspired by the old man poem.]

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Image taken in 2014, midst of Anorexia

journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Mental Health Question and Answer

On the 13th of February I uploaded a video to YouTube and answered your guys questions on Mental Health!

I explored topics of panic attacks, the types of mental illnesses, the effect it has on daily life as well as a range of other topics under the mental health umbrella.

To check out the video, click on the link below:

MENTAL HEALTH Q&A

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