autism · eating disorder · grief · journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · savannah lloyd · Uncategorized

100 Reasons to Stay Alive

Suicidal thoughts make every minute of the day a struggle. We are often left questioning why we are still here and what the future holds for us. We wonder how we can keep living a life that has been so hard. We wonder if we’ll ever get better and get the help we need. Mental health problems can be frustrating, isolating, and deathly.

However, there are people out there who understand and want to help. Here are 100 reasons as to why you should stay alive if you’re currently struggling!

  1. to have hugs that last more than a minute
  2. a smile from someone special
  3. melted chocolate
  4. ice cream on a hot day
  5. adventures with friends
  6. recovery
  7. stargazing
  8. watching a sunset
  9. laughing uncontrollably
  10. you’ve made it this far
  11. building forts
  12. eating fresh baked cookies
  13. bonfires and hoodies
  14. graduation
  15. pregnancy and new life
  16. finding a person you love
  17. late night adventures
  18. overcoming fears
  19. dancing in the rain
  20. walking through the countryside
  21. making friends with nature
  22. life is beautiful
  23. movie nights
  24. foot massages
  25. saturday mornings
  26. you have forever to be dead
  27. to be happy one day
  28. you’re beautiful
  29. you can make a huge difference on the world
  30. moving to a new place
  31. getting a pet
  32. new clothes at summer
  33. dancing without care
  34. picnics with friends
  35. long drives
  36. waking up late
  37. to prove them all wrong
  38. to love and be loved
  39. the ocean
  40. very loud music
  41. days out
  42. watching a concert/play
  43. reading your favourite book
  44. conversations that last all night
  45. to plan for the future
  46. to learn new things
  47. you are important
  48. christmas morning
  49. someday the pain will end
  50. warm baths
  51. the first snow of winter
  52. first kisses
  53. sand between your toes
  54. flowers in spring
  55. pyjamas after a hard, long day
  56. new bed sheets
  57. water balloon fights
  58. thrill of roller coasters
  59. meeting your favourite celebrities
  60. fireflies
  61. icecream
  62. days spent outside
  63. the sound of water
  64. visiting a place from childhood
  65. all the places you’ve never been
  66. music whilst driving
  67. to look back at all the shit you got through
  68. buying new clothes
  69. meeting internet friends in real life
  70. to succeed
  71. to work in the career you’ve always wanted
  72. baby laughter
  73. sleep
  74. a hot cup of tea
  75. rules to break
  76. to help someone
  77. smiling at strangers
  78. dreams
  79. the last day of school/work
  80. taking pictures
  81. brownies
  82. bubbles
  83. water slides
  84. going on holiday
  85. to fall asleep on someone
  86. to be protected
  87. to grow
  88. to make new memories
  89. to look back on old memories
  90. to laugh at childhood pictures
  91. sit with animals and nature
  92. to be loved by a pet
  93. swimming on a hot day
  94. the first signs of autumn
  95. to binge-watch a series
  96. to live independently
  97. to get somewhere in life
  98. to breathe
  99. to grow
  100. so that you can say that you’re alive

 

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

What Anorexia Taught Me

When I was 12 years old, I remember thinking to myself, “you’ll never get an eating disorder; you’re too overweight”, after hearing about eating disorders on the news. I remember telling myself that was one less mental illness to worry about because I certainly wouldn’t get that. I already had Anxiety and Depression; I’d never get an eating disorder too.

Funny enough, 3 years later…you can kind of guess what happened. I – the person who told myself I’d never get one – developed Anorexia Nervosa. I didn’t actually realise I had an eating disorder until a long while in. I thought I was on a diet – simply cutting out ‘bad’ foods in order to lose weight. I thought exercising was making me stronger, fitter, thinner. The exercise boosted my self-esteem. Saying ‘no’ to a piece of food made me proud. A few months in, I finally realised I may have had a problem. I’d cut out all types of food. Any food that led to possible weight gain. Pizza, chips, ice cream, bread, carbohydrates, takeaway, crisps, pasta, rice. The list mounted and soon the only food I felt truly comfortable eating was fruit, vegetables and water. I realised I was developing something abnormal, but I refused to admit it or tell anybody. I began purging. Throwing up the small amounts of food I’d consumed because those calories just weren’t worth it. Using pills to lose weight.

Oh I knew by now that this was Anorexia Nervosa. I knew what she was doing to my body; abnormal blood counts, fatigue, lack of oxygen in the skin, intolerance to cold, abnormal heart rhythms, dizziness and fainting, low blood pressure, dehydration, osteoporosis, irritability, depression and increased anxiety, hatred and fear of food, thoughts and attempts of suicide, social withdrawal, self harm, constipation, constant hunger, brittle nails and thin hair, low potassium and chloride… the list is endless, but I was lacking one important symptom; an extremely low body weight (which I eventually gained after a doctor told me I was ‘too fat’ after losing 31% of my body weight).

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You see, I never thought I would get a disease known as Anorexia Nervosa. I never expected to have a life-long condition that can be managed but won’t truly go away. But the thing is, as an 8 year old I wrote a poem about a girl named ‘Ana’ who told me I was fat and not to eat. It happens that 7 years after that poem, it came true. Maybe I was predisposed to Anorexia  from a early age and there was nothing anybody could do to stop it.

Anorexia Nervosa is completely destructive and the most lethal psychiatric disorder to date, but its taught me things I never thought it would.

Because of Anorexia; I learned to look deeper into the way people act, behave and think. I have learned to be compassionate, to not judge but to be accepting. I have learned who my real friends are (to those of you who stuck around; I love ya) and who is there for me in the darkest of times. I have learned about a range of illnesses I knew nothing about before. I have learned to advocate for change and grow a passion for changing the world and the people in it. I have learned to stand up for those who have mental illness and befriend those who struggle. I have learned so, so much…

but most of all,  I have learned about me.

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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

Who am I?

Hello smilers!

My name is Savannah Lloyd. I am 18 years old and from a small village in South Wales. I am currently living life in Oxford thanks to being at Oxford Brookes university!

I have set up this blog to share my personal experiences with mental health, to educate others on all types of mental health problems, to be a mental health advocate and campaigner as well as a youtuber, blogger and author (Smiling Through Recovery is available via Amazon)

I was born on May the 31st 1997, one of the hottest days of the year. I grew up in a loving family with lots of pets and loved exploring outdoors. I loved building tree houses, clambering through the woods and streams as well as paying a close attention to the environment around me and the animals that inhabited it.

Unfortunately, when I was 8 years old, I become very aware of the situations and people around me. I become very shy and reserved, never spoke up in class and had few friends. I got on with everyone around me but found it difficult in social interactions. I began to get bullied for being different in my final year of primary school and this continued through comprehensive school.

At 12 years, I made my first suicide attempt after weeks of physical and emotional bullying. I kept these suicidal feelings to myself and didn’t open up about it for years. I began self harming, developed depression and anxiety (unknown to me at the time) and completely went down hill in school. I began getting distracted in lessons and school didn’t feel like a safe place to be. At 13 years old, I started counselling for self-harming but found that the sessions did no help.

During my time at comprehensive school I suffered with several undiagnosed mental health issues and eventually took a turn for the worse at 15 years old (August 2013). I was fed up of getting bullied, struggled to accept myself, had a very low self-esteem and lack of confidence and could barely look at myself in the mirror. I self-harmed on a weekly basis and often had suicidal thoughts.

10 months later in June 2014, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. I had lost  over 25.4 kg (4 stone) in a 10 month period, had black outs and dizzy spells, bruised easy, had pale skin and could barely stand. I hated eating and barely drank. In November 2014, I was also diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and Endogenous Depression. It is still unknown (though I have many traits) whether or not I have a diagnosis of Avoidant Personality Disorder.

Since my diagnoses, I have come so far yet so little. I have recovered, I have relapsed, I have struggled, I have lived. Mental Illness is not easy. Recovery is so hard, and relapse is always so tempting. However, my mental health problems have given me a great deal of knowledge, a great deal of empathy and passion to fix stigma associated to mental health. Therefore, I am a mental health campaigner, blogger and author and continue every day to end stigma associated to mental health.

Through this blog, I hope to share both my positive and negative experiences in order to highlight the realism of mental health problems and the impact it has on people’s lives.

Smile through recovery, always.

I love you

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