Rhi’s Book Review Series: Futuristic Violence & Fancy Suits- David Wong.

Hello, darlings!

I thought I would finish 2016 off with a book review of something that was recommended by a good friend of mine. A book which I am so glad I read because I could not put down after I became absorbed into its pages.

Futuristic Violence & Fancy Suits has it all. Adventure, the image of a possible future society, characters that have personalities that you are fully drawn to, and of course violence. Tone wise, this book was extremely fast paced and I felt that I was also on this adventure with the protagonist, Zoey Ashe. What intrigued me the most was that it reminded me a bit of a television show ‘Black Mirror’.  To those who are yet to watch it, Black Mirror goes into the depths of modern society, disturbing truths of humans and the ever evolving world. Futuristic Violence is a book that also goes into the depths of humans’ obsession with having power and being the highest in our social hierarchy.

Regarding the plot, David Wong has very much thought it out in detail and that is shown in his writing. As it is fast paced, there are times when the plot is a bit too chaotic in my opinion, but the majority of the book is very understandable and likable! As a lover of books, I reveled in all the imagery and fine details that Wong embedded  and it is apparent that you find yourself forming personal opinions of characters, which I think differs from each reader, due to different personality traits. Futuristic Violence is a book which caters for all readers, which is so important when wanting to create a piece of work that is able to be enjoyed by all!

This has been the first book by the author that I have read, but I shall be sure to make sure that I set my eyes on other work that he has also written. Undeniably, Futuristic Violence can be read multiple times without becoming tedious.

To finish this blog post, I would just like to wish you all a Happy New Year! It is truly amazing how much support I have received since my blog’s uprise in August. There is some very exciting endeavours that shall be occurring in my life and on this blog in 2017- I cannot wait to share those creative projects with you wonderful human beings!

Stay safe and I think we are all in agreement about having excitement that 2016 is nearly at an end. 2017 shall hopefully be a much happier and exciting time for us all.

Thank you!

Much love,

Rhi. X

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Carrie Fisher: An inspiration to the mental health community.

Hello, you lovely bunch!

I hope that Christmas has treated you all well and that you’re all ready for 2017 to commence!

We have unfortunately lost many inspirational people over 2016; people who allowed us to become the individuals we are today and to not feel ashamed of our own being. Yesterday saw the horrible news of Carrie Fisher’s passing. Of course, Carrie was an amazing actress  who we all remember as being the courageous Princess Leia, but Carrie was also someone full of inspiring wisdom  and experience throughout the 60 years we were blessed with her presence.

Not only did Carrie have to battle the possessiveness of addiction, but also had to learn how to live healthy with Bipolar Disorder. As many of us know, trying to find your place in the world whilst also being shadowed by mental illness is certainly a difficult task. Life was not an easy path for Carrie and she had struggles along the way, but I will tell you why I saw her as not only a princess, but a queen as well.

The reason is that instead of just saying ‘Fuck you’ to everyone in her path, she decided to become a mental health advocate and to help people through their own struggles with mental health. I think we sometimes forget that people like Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, George Michael and the many other inspiring people in the spotlight are not just there for entertainment purposes. They are human beings who are very much like everyone else. We all have heartbreak, memories and talents.

She has helped save many people, including myself, just by speaking about mental health and helping us realising that it is okay to not always go through life with a smile and positive thoughts. Our wounds are created through our experiences and on many occasions can help us shape the way to becoming better individuals than we were before.

We are all heartbroken by her loss- 2016 has been a year that appeared to be full of it. However, we can all carry on Carrie’s legacy:

  • Speak out openly about mental health and why it is important to TALK.
  • Do not be afraid to cry or go through tough experiences- They allow us to grow.
  • Make sure to look after both yourself and those around you- Self-care is vital and it is also important to look after those around you. Even a simple compliment or conversation can make someone’s day. You never know what may be occurring in someone’s life.
  • Do not feel ashamed in grieving over those we have lost this year, but please do not give up because of it- Unfortunately, life is full of comings and goings and that is the tough truth. There is nothing wrong in grieving, but when you feel strong enough, turn it into positivity and as said above, continue those legacies and help people.

Lets begin to create more light; not darkness. I will always preach that we need to look after each other and use our experiences to make the world a more beautiful and peaceful place for all!

Rest in Peace, Carrie. We are all inspired by you and all your work. You’re a wonderful starlight.

Much love,

Rhi. X

Looking after your mental health over the Christmas period.

Hello, darlings.

So as I write this, it is only 8 days until Christmas Day! It has come about so quickly this year!!

Like myself, many of you see this festive period as very exciting, but possibly worrying as well. Our mental health is very important to look after all year, but this can be a struggle at Christmas, because we are all trying to go out of way to stay positive as we do not want to ruin the fun for others.

What we have to realise is that it is okay to have low days and that it is okay to not always joyful, as forcing our minds to do this could lead to further struggles with our mental health in the near future. Of course, it is good to try and not give in to your mind and to enjoy the festivities the majority of the time, but it is important to look after ourselves as well! Here are some tips:

  1. Allow some time for yourself- I know this can be difficult, seeing as Christmas is a very chaotic and busy time, but having 5 minutes to yourself can allow you to collect your thoughts and get back on track. Even going to the bathroom or taking a walk and just sitting in a quiet place can give you the space to breathe.

2. Do not feel guilty if you are not joyful at all times during the festive period- I for one worry about the possibility of having a low during Christmas, and many of you who struggle with mental health issues will probably agree with me on this. You do not want to risk spoiling the fun for others, so you end up risking your mental health instead.

Please do not do that. Instead, speak quietly to a family member or friend that you trust about what is going on in your head. Those who care about you and your mental health are not going to stop if you’re going through a blip during Christmas. We are human and we cannot always show happiness; sometimes we just need a good cry, a hug and some yummy chocolate.

3. Remember that you  have fought through past tough experiences.- Whether you have been through tough times at Christmas or at any other points during the year, you fought through it and got out the other side.

4. Keep in the routine of doing the things that make you happy.- The highest worry that I get when it comes to Christmas is that I am out of routine, allowing my anxiety and depression more opportunities to peer in. To try and avoid your mental health bringing you down, allow yourself to keep up with the things you love doing. That could be a hobby, exercise, going on day trips with loved ones or involving yourself with social groups. Additionally, make a plan of things that are going to be happening over Christmas, so you can lessen the risk of becoming too overwhelmed, whilst being able to enjoy yourself.

Hope this blog post has been helpful! Please feel free to comment what things you have planned over Christmas and how you are making sure that you look after your mental health during the festivities!

Much love,

Rhi. X

 

 

A life update and a start of a journey with medication.

Hello, darlings!

The past week or so has been extremely odd, as so much has occurred in such a short time period, regarding both general life things, as well as my mental health.

First of all, I have got myself long term work experience with my local library/heritage center. What I did not expect is to be asked if as well as doing stereotypical library work experience, if I would also like to help tutor the Young Writers’ group! As many of you know, I will be beginning a BA Hons degree in English Literature in September, which I then want to use to become a secondary/ sixth form teacher, so this opportunity is great for me.

Sixth Form work wise, it is going great! What nearly made me cry last week was that on a recent parents evening, all my teachers exclaimed how proud they were of me, how much I had overachieved at my time in Sixth Form, and that I am predicted extremely good grades. Knowing that I am making people proud makes my heart flutter, especially everything I have endured over the past few months with my mental health.

Now we get onto the nitty gritty mental health bit of my highly confusing life. Not going to lie, my mental health is still not in a good place; my anxiety disorders are the cause of this. As much as CBT has been helpful in allowing me to learn more about myself, it has not been has helpful in helping me to manage my actual anxiety. So, this time last week, I decided to revisit my GP and talk about other options, which could help me manage, especially through the fast approaching exam season in May that I know will be here in a flash! I am so appreciative of how empathetic and considered my GP was today- Coping with mental health issues can be very scary, so speaking to someone who understands and listens is so important! We decided that for me to go forward and to manage the physical symptoms of my anxiety, especially my panic attacks, it would be a good idea to try Beta Blockers for at least a short term period.

What are Beta Blockers?

Beta Blockers stop the effects of different types of adrenaline, which are known to cause the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders. You can read more about Beta Blockers here. Obviously, as said in the link, they are not a psychiatric medication, so only manage the physical aspects that is embedded in anxiety; hence why my GP also gave me loads of information about different organisations and ideas that can help me manage the more psychiatric aspects.(Therapies similar to CBT). The main reason that it was decided for me to not start on antidepressants is because there are many side effects involved and can take a few weeks before they start working. Furthermore, it can take several attempts to find the right balance of medication when dealing with antidepressants, so starting on a low dose of propanol instead (A type of Beta Blocker) is the best way forward for me at this moment in time and it will hopefully make life much easier for me, whilst my body figures itself out. If you had said to me a few years ago that I would get proper help for my mental health and doctors would not patronise me, I would have thought you were lying. It has taken me a lot of courage to ask for help over the past few months and I am so proud of myself that I have gone through CBT and am trying medication.

Remember that nothing works the same for everyone. Some people prefer therapy, some people prefer medication, and some people prefer both. Do what you feel is best for you- It may be a struggle at first, but if you keep talking to your GP, you WILL get help.

Please do not give up. I have so much pride for anyone who is suffering from a mental health issue. You are not weak, you’re just struggling a bit and that is perfectly okay. Mental health stigma is slowly being defeated- We still have a way to go, but we will get there and if my positive experience today is anything to go by, things are starting to change. I have been met by a large amount of negative stigma over the past few years, especially by the NHS, as many of you probably have, but I do believe that if we keep spreading awareness and being the the wonderful people we are, mental health will no longer be slammed at. Also, I know it can be easy to push away loved ones whilst you are going through a difficult period in your life. Please try not to, your mental health will be easier to manage if you have support from those around you.

Until next time!

Much love,

Rhi. X