A lil’ Sunday update!

Hello, darlings!

I hope you’ve all been well! For once, this week has been rather peaceful and not as stressful as life usually is for me, mainly because it has been my half term break from Sixth Form. Of course, a large amount of my week has been spent on catching up on Sixth Form work and getting tasks off my list ticked off, but there have also been some fun times as well.

Last Saturday, I took a visit to Bourton On The Water. For those of you who are not aware of this place, it is a large village in Gloucestershire, which has many cute teashops, tourist attractions and beautiful scenery. I swear that is I ever want to just pack my bags and move somewhere peaceful in the distant future, I shall be certainly looking in to moving there! I most definitely highly suggest you take a trip there if you are looking for a day out to a very blissful place.

I’ve also somehow got half of my Christmas shopping done already and it is not even November yet! My mental health tends to make me very stressed and anxious around Christmas time, so this year, I thought that it would be a good idea to try and get presents bought and wrapped early, so then it is one less thing to worry about- It is working so far! On Friday, I also went to my bestfriend’s 18th birthday party, and not going to lie, I was very anxious beforehand as parties with a large amount of people are not the greatest of events for me. Turns out that it was the best party I have ever been to, as I was surrounded by many of my close friends and everything ran really smoothly. The room was filled with peace, love and of course a large amount of alcoholic beverages- My poor head, ahaha! The birthday celebration was not only special because the birthday girl is my bestfriend, but because she has had a tough year, due to fighting Hodgkin Lymphoma (A rare type of cancer) since June. On the feature photo at the top of this blog post, she is the girl in the middle. Luckily, she only has 2 more chemotherapy sessions left and is in remission, yay!! I could not be prouder of her.

I am kind of looking forward to returning to Sixth Form next week, as it will be good to get back into the swing of things. I think it is fair to say though that like many people, I could do with another week off! A part of me is thinking like that because I know that next week is going to be rather emotional for me, as I am finally receiving the help and support I need for my mental health through therapy. I have fought so long and hard for people to realise how much I am struggling and I am both excited, but nervous and emotional about the fact that I am actually being listened to. Lets see how it goes, eh?

Hopefully you have all had a great week and that it shall continue!

Much love,

Rhi. X

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#TalkMH

Hello, you wonderful buttercups!

Today, I wanted to talk about a really lovely project that began a few months ago, which I think will be of interest to many of you!

#TalkMH is a Twitter chat that was started up by the lovely Hannah, who suffers from mental health issues herself. Her Twitter page is here. The chat was started up so the Twitter community could talk about mental health openly and comfortably, without the fear of being judged.

Each week, a different topic is discussed and allows people to not only talk about it, but also to relate to other people and meet new people- I have made some wonderful friends over the time that I have been involving myself in the project. It is absolutely wonderful to see people supporting others, creating new friends and giving some great advice!

The chat runs every Thursday at 8:30pm for an hour and like I said above, it speaks about a different topic every week. There are also opportunities for people to guest host a #TalkMH Twitter chat and if you are interested in doing this, just email Hannah at littlethoughtsblog@gmail.com with what topic idea you have in mind!

Like myself, Hannah is a mental health blogger and I love her posts- She also does beauty and general life posts, so caters for a variety of people. You can find her blog at littlethoughtsblog.com.

The chat community has become rather large over the past few weeks and has even trended on Twitter a few times. Just shows how important it is to talk about mental health and help destroy the stigma that is attached to all things mental health related.

I really hope that many of you get involved in this- It is most certainly something that is close to my heart.

Much love,

Rhi. X

 

 

Body Confidence: Why is it so difficult to maintain positivity about our bodies?

Hello once again, buttercups!

I am certainly someone who has times when I feel extremely low about myself and wish I was just someone else entirely. I have found though that my low self esteem has decreased over the past year or so. I guess that my issue about how I see myself has been pushed a bit into the shadows by other issues in my life and by the fact that I have more knowledge about mental health than I did a year ago. I have stretch marks, scars and imperfections, but they all make me the person I am and that is okay with me. None of us have positive body confidence at all times during our lifetime.

Why is it so difficult for us in modern day society to maintain positive body confidence about ourselves? The most obvious reason is down to media and the effect that it has on people, especially those of a younger age. However, I believe that it is not all just media’s fault.

Even though media may be a factor, there are other reasons why someone may have low body confidence. Past experiences, peer pressure and the lack of teaching about body confidence are some examples on why someone may not have confidence, regarding their physical appearance. I think the lack of teaching aspect is a massive factor, which like many topics that are not spoken about in schools enough, certainly need to be addressed. Furthermore, low body confidence has a tendency to link to the chemicals in our brain, especially for those who suffer from body dysmorphia  or an eating disorder. It upsets me that there are so many people out there who are suffering from low self esteem about how they see themselves. I guess that we have all been thrown into this loop where we feel that we are not good enough, especially for those around us, even though it should only be us that we feel that we need to please.

We know that we should not please those around us, yet there appears to be that urge that we should feel guilty for feeling damn good about ourselves and not caring about what other people think. We need to learn how to love ourselves again and be the sassy, wonderful humans that we all are.

If you do feel like your low body confidence is affecting your day to day life, PLEASE GO AND SEE YOUR GP. I have attached some links at the end of this blog post about where to get help and important knowledge to be aware of if you think you or someone you know may be suffering.

I hope this blog post about my personal opinion on body confidence has been of interest to you all!

Much love,

Rhi. X

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/body-dysmorphia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/eating-problems/#.WAzEwOArLIU 

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/eating-disorders/Pages/Introduction.aspx 

 

 

The Little Things That Make Me Smile.

Hello, darlings!

I think it is always important to do the things that make you happy, as long as you are not harming yourself or others, of course.

As many of you are aware, my mental health has taken a large drop recently. Luckily, I finally start my therapy on November 3rd, yay! I will most certainly be starting a mini series to keep y’all updated about how it is going. Anyway, until I start getting proper help and support, I am trying all I can to smile at even the smallest of things that I see and do. Obviously, this is quite difficult when you are suffering from mental illnesses, but it is always good to try and practice mindfulness. So, I thought I would do a blog post today about the things that make me smile!

  1. Sunrises/Sunsets- I think we can all agree that the sight of a sunrise or a sunset are some of the most beautiful views that we can all experience in our lifetimes. Not only are they wonderful to look at, but they show that there is always a silver lining, regardless of how small it is.

2. Being surrounded by those you love and feel comfortable around- I often feel rather overwhelmed by people and just want to be left alone, but I do try and socialise with others. Being surrounded by those who you care about and feel comfortable around can be such a comfort and make you feel that little bit more peaceful and safer.

3. Hot chocolate/ Ice cream- These two things are the ULTIMATE comfort, regardless of what your mood is. I don’t know why, but they just make you feel satisfied and snuggly inside.

4. Long walks- I always appreciate long walks, whether they are in a city/town or in the countryside. I also love listening to music whilst walking (Or in any situation to be quite honest), because it allows me to escape from the stress of my life and the world around me for a little bit. Cannot beat a bit of The Weeknd or Bon Iver, aye?

5. Watching your favourite films or television shows- It does not matter what genre it is, watching your favourite film or television show helps you to feel emotions which acts as a relief and takes a weight off your shoulders!

6. Reading and Writing- I am a pure English Literature enthusiast and lover, so reading and writing are most certainly things that allow me some relief from what is going on in my mind. Not only do you learn about yourself from English Literature, but you also learn a large amount of knowledge from other people!

7. Autumn- Those who know me also know my ridiculous love for Autumn and everything about it. I don’t why I love it so much, but it gives me feelings of happiness and reminds me of how beautiful nature is. I certainly believe that people need to appreciate and show much more love towards nature than what is currently being shown.

I guess what I am trying to say that regardless of what is going on in your life and mind, it is important to at least try and find something that makes you smile even through the really crappy times that you may be experiencing. Please feel free to share the things that make you smile!!

Much love,

Rhi. X

What’s going on in that mind of yours?

Hello, everyone!

In answer to this blog post’s title, I really do not know what is going on in my mind. The thing about living with mental health issues is that you can feel too much or too little. I feel like I am in limbo at the moment because I am overwhelmed by the many thoughts in my head, yet also feel so numb.

I know that I will not feel so low forever, but I am also aware that the issues which my anxiety and depression cause will linger in the shadows, preparing to make a reappearance, regardless of if life is going well or not so well for me. What is really scaring me is that the last time I felt this overwhelmed and disassociated from everything was when I had my major breakdown in July. It is difficult to think of a metaphor to describe what it is like to live with mental health disorders; I think I have thought of one though. You know when you jump into water and for just a moment, you feel suffocated and panicky? Well, that is how I feel on a daily basis. Somedays, these feelings do not occur so much. Some others days, I feel these emotions and thoughts throughout the whole of the 24 hours.

What I have also found over the past few months is that it has become more difficult for me to lie or avoid the conversation with other people about how I am actually feeling. Maybe that is because many of my loved ones now understand more fully the severity of my bad mental health, and therefore are more observant of the warning signs. Sometimes, I wish people did not know as that would mean that I would not have to face the reality; I am ill. However, being open about my mental allows me to attempt to help myself a bit, as well as helping others.I feel a bit of tension has lifted from my shoulders when I speak up. I know that everyone is trying to help and be a massive support network for myself, and for that, I am so appreciative for everything that those around me are doing for me. I just wish that I did not feel like this. That I did not always feel anxious and fearful about practically everything. Don’t get me wrong, I know what happiness feels like and regardless of being mentally ill, I always try to smile and make positive memories. However, on many occasions this can be a struggle if I am mentally having a really shitty day.

I know I need help, and even though I had avoided this route for a while, I am desperate to start my therapy so professionals can help me at any means possible (I shall be starting my therapy in the next few weeks, hopefully, but you have to take into account of how big this waiting list has been). I really do not know what is happening in that mind of mine, it has become more of an irritant as the week has gone on. I know it is okay to not be okay. If I didn’t believe this, I would not have gone to my GP 2 months ago, desperate for help with tears in my eyes, begging to help these horrible feelings stop or at least decrease a bit through the use of counselling or/and medication.

I apologise for this intense post, but one of the main reasons I began this blog was to share my experiences of mental health, as well as a way to share my thoughts with other people, without wanting to burst into tears every 5 seconds. I guess one of the reasons I tear up whenever my mental health is brought up is because I personally feel extremely damaged and am fearful of the reactions of other people about what I say.

Anyway, I hope these thoughts calm down at least a bit in the next few days. I hope you’re all doing okay.

Much love,

Rhi. X

Guest post: Psychotic depression.

Today’s guest post is from the wonderful Eleanor who wants to share her experience, regarding Psychotic depression. She is an truly inspirational blogger and friend of mine , who like myself, wants to raise awareness of mental health….

Hello! First of all, thank you to Rhi for letting me write a guest post on her blog. Rhi has invited me to write a piece about mental health. I thought that I would write about write a little bit about my psychotic depression. Psychotic depression is a type of major depression that includes some form of psychosis. Sometimes it can be hallucinations, delusions or some other way of getting confused by reality. People with psychosis may hear ‘voices’ or they have have different ideas abut reality. I, personally, have been suffering from psychotic depression for a few years now. I was diagnosed with depression at age 15 and it has just got worse from there. I started to hear little voices in my head that told me that I just wasn’t good enough. They started to control my thoughts until it got to the point where they would have something to say about everything I do. For example, if I was to draw something, the voices would tell me that it wasn’t good enough and I would end up destroying the drawing. The voices in my head make everything harder. I struggle to wake up, sleep, look in the mirror, get dressed, cook a meal, attend social occasions and most other things that ‘normal’ people can do. At lot of the time, I have a ‘what’s the point?’ mentality. I feel like I will never accomplish anything because the voices just won’t let me. I struggle to focus on anything and my motivation is constantly low. If I can’t accomplish anything good then what’s the point of even being alive?! I couldn’t even get out of bed without the voices screaming hate at me. How am I meant to do anything good with my life? I feel suicidal occasionally. And by occasionally, I mean constantly! I would say that the only thing that keeps me from ending my life is the fact that I actually have no motivation to do it. Dogs are taking over my life. I see them in photos, on the road, in my house and just everywhere. Some of them are nice to me but others are savage and they want me dead. People tell me that they are in my head but I’m never sure. People tell me that I’m paranoid. I think that people are plotting to kill me but apparently they’re not. My psychotherapist tells me that people’s worlds don’t revolve around me but that’s hard for me to process. I think that people are following me when I walk down the street and I think that I’m being spied on. Apparently those things aren’t happening either. Sometimes I feel like the only thing that I’m motivated to do is to write my blog. That can be hard too though. It takes me such a long time to write each post because my words get confused and I start mixing up the letters. My life isn’t a complete waste though. I do some good things and I am proud of myself for still waking up everyday and just breathing. I want to just say quickly, if you also suffer from psychotic depression then you’re not alone. It affect about one out of every four people who are admitted to the hospital for depression.

Please check out my blog here:

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Yesterday, I was featured on the radio, talking about mental health!

Hello, everyone!

Just a  very quick blog post to let you all know that I was on my local radio station yesterday to talk about mental health in young people. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p048kl6r is where you will find the interview, which begins at 1 hour 22 minutes on The Andrew Marston Show.

It was such a wonderful experience to be involved with and I am really glad that BBC Hereford and Worcester was so interested in the topic of mental health and the youth mental health charity that I work with.

I am so bloody excited for the near future mental health projects that I am going to be involved in; being a mental health activist is so wonderful. It took me ages to come out about my mental health disorders and that was whilst having to deal with a large amount of stigma and fear about what was going to come next. I never learnt about it whilst being in high school. I learnt through social media and close friends of mine. Young people are not given enough support and advice, regarding mental health, and that is a large reason why there are so many people suffering to extreme points.

I hope you all enjoy the interview! Just a lil’ heads up that the next blog post that goes up on my blog on Thursday is a wonderful guest post from the lovely Eleanor about Psychotic depression.

Much love,

Rhi. Xcuzk7zow8ae5-bu

One of my favourite days of the year: World Mental Health Day!

Hello, buttercups! Hope you’re all well.

Today is my favourite day of the year. No, it is not Halloween (Even though I love that too.) Today is World Mental Health Day; a day of raising awareness and support for mental health and everyone affected.

From a personal viewpoint; I have been through it all. I have had breakdowns, stigma and am a large sufferer of mental health issues. All of which I know far too well and have to deal with on a daily basis. From the outside, I appear to be a normal 18 year old getting on with life. On the outside, my mind makes me cripple with fear, sadness and anxiety. All of these aspects about my appalling mental health make life so much more difficult, especially as I am an student and my life cannot just stop because of the crappy disorders I suffer from.

However, I try to make a positive of this never stopping storm in my head. Not only am a student, but I am also an mental health blogger and work for a mental health charity called Strong Young Minds which raise awareness and support for young people in my county. To celebrate World Mental Health Day, me and one of my closest friends were involved in a pre-recorded interview to talk about the charity, mental health and our own experiences. I shall be sure to put up a link to the interview when it is released (Hopefully tomorrow)!

Why did we decided to be interviewed by the radio? Well, the answer is simple. We want to make a difference to the mental health community. Both me and my friend, Nicole, have to fight the wrath of mental health issues and we want to help others. During the interview, we also spoke about stigma and what we believe needs to change so young people receive more support and mental health is not stigmatized against. I absolutely loved this experience and I hope it is of help to people when it is released, eeekkk!!

My mental health is very much a see-saw at the moment. I am starting therapy sessions soon, which may lead to medication too if needs be. I am glad that I am finally receiving help after such a  long period of time of dealing with constant breakdowns and being unable to cope well with life in the slightest. There are over 200 mental health disorders that are out there so far, all of which affect people’s lives to an extremely large extent. I know many people, some of which are extremely close friends,  who are mentally unwell, and I will tell you now, they are all absolutely wonderful people. Mental health issues do not just go away, it is not like breaking a bone and it eventually healing. People who suffer from mental health issues will have to cope with their disorders for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, the disorders will turn their ugly face and other times, they will stalk in the shadows. They will always be there though.

For many years, I have believed I am crazy and weird. I know deep down that is not the truth, I am just struggling a lot and need support/ help, which I am beginning to get. Please know that if any of you are struggling, let someone know. Whether that is a friend, family remember, doctor or a mental health community. You are not weird and deserve so much in life.

Look out for the link to the radio interview, which shall hopefully make an appearance tomorrow or Thursday!

Much love,

Rhi. X

 

More Love Letters Project!!

Hello, hunnies!

I hope you’re all well! I decided that for today’s blog post, I would talk about a wonderful project called ‘More Love Letters’.

Founded in 2011 by Hannah Brencher, the aim is very simple. The aim is to write letters of kindness and love to strangers all over the world! Anyone can nominate someone to receive a love letter bundle, allowing that simple act of kindness from people to make a difference to others’ lives. I came across this project whilst researching projects to get involved in, which embrace positivity and that need of helping of helping others. Hannah began the project after she started suffering from depression when she moved to New York City. One day, she noticed another lady feeling the same way as her self, so wrote her a letter. From then on, her love of writing letters for other people increasingly grew, creating this wonderful project. Not only did she create moreloveletters.com, but she also wrote her own book about her journey to creating the project, which is called If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers. Furthermore, she is the co-founder of another cute project called If You Find This Email, allowing anyone all over the world to leave their emails on the website about anything that they want. The emails that are posted on the website by people talk about their experiences and their open feelings and thoughts of people who have been or are in their lives. I bloody love this concept because it acts as a type of therapy for people, allowing them to express themselves and the emotions/ thoughts that they have in their minds! Both of these projects, as well as Hannah’s book are so inspirational and motivational, especially for those like myself who suffer from mental health issues and/or are mental health bloggers/ activists.

I have always tried to spread happiness and love to everyone I meet, because it is so important to remember that we can all go through so much crap and that being motivated by other people to carry on through the day can certainly make a large difference. The trait of the kindness not only can help others, but also has a positive impact on the person who is spreading that happiness onto other people. In the long run, happiness can be spread so easily by just a few kind words if we just take a few minutes out of our day to compliment someone or have a lovely conversation with another individual/ a group of people.

I hope I have built an interest from you lovely lot about this glorious project- The main reason that I wanted to speak about this today was to show that there are so many ways that you can spread happiness and kindness!

Much love,

Rhi.

 

I am a sibling of someone with special needs, and I would not change it for the world.

Hello once again, you lovely bunch!

I decided that I would do a spontaneous post today, a subject which is very much close to my heart.  I am the sister of someone who suffers from special needs.

There is so much stigma attached to people who are disabled/ have special needs and I would be lying if I said that it did not rile me up. However, in recent years, I have learnt that death staring at people is not going to help, and it is much more effective to talk instead and educate them.

From what me and my family are aware of, my brother, Daniel, has suffered from special needs since birth. It is extremely difficult to say what he suffers from, because both us and doctors do not really know.  ADHD is very likely one factor, but obviously there are probably other conditions that may be involved. Communication with Daniel can be difficult because he is unable to verbally communicate, so everyone who knows him tries to use different techniques in order to understand him, such as sign language or using PEC cards. PEC cards have different pictures of objects, food and activities on, which my brother can then point at to show what he wants to say.

There are so many different conditions out there, making it difficult for people who do not know my brother or others who disabled to know what to say. I completely understand. You want to communicate and get to know the person in question, but you do not want to accidentally cause offense or upset. Am I right?

My advise, regarding that, is to just be honest. The individuals and those close to them will respect you more for it and then it removes the elephant from the room. You will then be able to educate yourself on knowing someone who is disabled and build a strong bond with that person without worrying that you are going to hit a nerve.

Being a close family member of someone who is disabled can be very difficult; I will never deny that. There has been tears, anger and anxiety throughout the years. There have been times when I was younger when I wanted all these family issues to disappear. I am 18 years old now, and I wouldn’t change any of that heartache. I have seen Daniel go through some unimaginably awful stigma, and things became even more difficult when he had to go to residential special school.However, I have seen my younger brother turn into a wonderful, intelligent young man who has so much love for everyone he comes across. What really warmed my heart is when I saw him go over to one of my bestfriends on my birthday and give her a little cuddle!

Of course there is always that anxiety about what the future holds for him, but that will be focused on by my family and others who support him when those challenges arise. I am proud to be his older sister, an advocate for him, as well as being his bestfriend. In all honesty, every disabled person that I have come across have been some of the kindest and most lovable human beings that you could ever meet. For anyone who has a tendency to mock those who are disabled; please think more carefully and thoughtfully.

Much love,

Rhi. X

My Experience With Contraceptive Implants.

Hello, my darlings.

I thought I would have a conversation with you all about my experience with contraceptive implants- Birth control, as well as sex,  are topics which I believe are very important to speak about!!

Now, where to begin? When I was 16 years old, I decided to go on birth control. My decision in doing this was not only for the common reason that many girls have which is wanting to have protection which does not necessarily have to be just condoms, but also because of issues with my menstrual cycle. Since having periods from the age of 12, I had been one of those very unlucky ones who suffered really badly every month. Man, there were even times when I had to go home from school or social events because I was so ill and was also in a lot of pain. Basically, it really was not fun for me!

There are many types of birth control options which you can consider, whether that is for protection, period pains or both:

There is also the “Pull out method (Withdrawal)”, but I personally do not believe that it is a good method to use.

So, originally I wanted to go on the pill. I am pretty good at taking medication and remembering it, so this seemed like a pretty good path. I had heard that it was a help for those who suffer from their periods, as well as being a good protection. I went to my GP and had a conversation about it, in which by the end of the appointment, she subscribed me a type of pill (My apologies that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the type of pill I was put on!) There are so many different birth control pill brands out there! For those of you who have not been on the pill,  you take it every day for 21 days, then stop for seven days, and during this week you have a period-type bleed (Also known as spotting). 7 days after, you start taking the pill once more.

This is when things start getting stressful….Right, the first few days of me taking the pill, I felt fine and as healthy as ever, but there was a catch. Some people’s bodies are unable to cope with the pill being in their system and therefore become pretty sick. By sick, I mean actually throwing up and having digestive system issues, if you get what I mean, and it was actually a rather terrifying experience. PLEASE KNOW THAT THIS IS  A PRETTY RARE OCCURRENCE AND MOST PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THIS ISSUE!!! Anyway, after going through this ordeal, I obviously did not want to carry on taking this type of pill and did not want to try other types, in case I was ill once again.

At this point, I became interested in the possibility of having the contraceptive implant as an alternative. I was extremely apprehensive of this possibility  as I am unquestionably dreadful with needles or anything similar. However, I had a lot of confidence from my GP that it would not take long to do and I would not need to have it replaced for 3 years.

Two days after this discussion, I had my implant surgery. I was absolutely bloody terrified beforehand. I had never had this done before, so had no idea what to expect and if it would be a painful experience for me as I am hypersensitive to needles, which means that my pain tolerance to them is not good in the slightest. My GP and the nurse was absolutely delightful throughout the whole experience.  I had to be administrated local anaesthetic in my left arm to numb it, which is where I was having the implant. Most people find the procedure perfectly fine and not painful in the slightest. However, because of how high my hypersensitivity to needles are, I certainly did not find it a fun experience. Having the actual implant did not hurt at all because my arm was numb from the anaesthetic, it was actually having my arm numbed that caused me a large amount of discomfort.(Once again, this is not the case for many people!!) h9991503_001

The whole experience only took 5 minutes and I was so grateful to have such lovely staff with me. I did end up having a fainting episode straight after because I was very silly and got up too quickly and I have a tendency to faint after being probed with needles, oops! I am glad I have an implant because it is much easier than having the pill and it has stopped my periods until I decide to have it removed or whatever. Many girls who have the implant either barely have periods or just do not have them at all, which has made life so much easier for me!

I am not sure if I am just going to have the implant renewed after the 3 years are up (I have had it for nearly a year a half now) or if I am going to have it removed and try using a different pill to see if my body just generally does not like any of them or if it was just that specific type. I also need to take into account my anxiety disorder because I cannot tell if the implant is making it worse or if it is having no effect on it. I have decisions to make about this, but it is something I do not need to think about until nearer the time.

I hope this has been interesting to read- Like I said at the beginning of this post, it is so important to talk about birth control and not to treat it as a taboo subject. I was never taught in detail about all the different birth control options, I learnt through social media and my own research instead. I feel the same about other topics which relate to sex, but I am sure I shall make posts about that in the near future! 🙂

Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions!

Much love,

Rhi. X