Insecure – Body Image.

This week I thought I would change up the topic. Lately I’ve been so consumed in the feeling of not looking or feeling good enough, whether that is what I look like, or how I’ve acted towards people that I love. I’ve come to the point where I can (most of the time) accept the fact that its ok to feel this way. When I’m out, or even in work I have the constant thought that when I see people I haven’t seen in ages, that I have put a huge amount of weight on since they’ve last seen me, and that they can see it. I know that I shouldn’t think this way but I can’t help it. Also, when someone is standing by the side of me, I feel that they are staring at all my imperfections from my side profile. Sometimes it takes over my whole thought process. I know it is a personal thing but I can’t help it.

I’ve never been skinny, as much as I long to be comfortable in my own skin. I wish to have a slim, toned body which I perceive as perfect, but again I subconsciously know that there is no such thing as perfect. Some days are worst than others, sometimes I’ll get ready to go out, put jeans on and a top (the usual) and just feel awful, no confidence (not that I have any anyway), I just want to get straight into pyjamas and roll into bed and hide, I don’t want people to see me in the ‘state’ that I’m in. The worst part is when clothes shopping, whether that is in store or receiving a parcel from an online retailer. And again I know that all sizes are different depending on where you go, but it still knocks your self esteem massively. When I try clothes on that are my size but don’t fit from certain retailers, I get really upset, (I’m gonna get really honest now) it makes me feel so insecure that I just want to hide, close my eyes and go to sleep to escape from this feeling. I know that close family to me have said, when they’ve seen me try a coat on from a shop I’ve never bought from before, and put it on and it doesn’t fit. It’s that instant sickness feeling when you realise that you cannot escape from the shame of it not fitting. Or when you go into a high street store and you’re looking for an outfit for an occasion which implies you’ll have to try it on, you grab your size and trot off to the dressing room, you try it on and your in the same position, it doesn’t fit. You’re surrounded by mirrors showing every lump and bump, stretch mark or scar that you have. It’s such an overwhelming feeling that just shifts your mood.

Social media has such a massive strain on topics like this. When I was maybe 12 or 13 I joined Instagram, this was when it was a massive thing, everyone had it in school so I knew I needed it to fit in. Sounds so stupid but that’s what I thought, it was when you had the popular page, you could go on there and search users, but most importantly you would see who had the most likes on their photos. As you can imagine, 13 year old me thought this was the next best thing, which in actual fact was probably the worst thing for my confidence and self esteem, well I suppose it’s the same as all social networking sites, you only see the highlights of those people who live behind the lens, because lets face it, no one would want to see the lowest points because you won’t get as much attention, and that’s all that seems to matter on these sites. The most popular photos always where the ones with men or women with perfect physique, no spots, nothing out of place of what may think ‘perfect’ but what we don’t know, is that that person behind the lens may not (probably doesn’t) look as flawless and perfect in real life, but it doesn’t matter what that person is like from the outside or through a lens, its what they are like as a person. Influencers who post photos on social media platforms for a living, are more than likely to only and I repeat only post the highlights from their day, or even ‘ads’ so they can earn some extra cash. Which again I understand because again, brands/public don’t want to see the down side of people’s day/life. I suppose that you only expose yourself to things like this from following, liking or searching photos like this. Don’t get me wrong I love Instagram but I can see the downfall of that area, it’s a way of looking back on events that mean a lot to you.

I know that this blog post has been a little different from my others, it has definitely been a hard one for me to write. I really appreciate you all being so patient with me as I haven’t posted for the last couple of weeks. I’ve needed to sort a couple of things out with myself, before writing these posts. But I’m back with a few ideas under my sleeve. Look out for more posts. Thank you for all being so supportive through his journey, I want to help people not feel so isolated, I want people to understand that it’s normal to feel a certain way. Love you all so much.

Take care of yourselves xoxo

Young People – Mental Health

Mental health is as important as physical Health.

I’ve wanted to post about this topic for a while as it is really close to my heart, the same as my previous posts. I know in the media there has been a lot of talk surrounding Mental Health, especially the lack of support and funding for Young People who are suffering. Depression affects more children and young people today than in the last few decades, Teenagers are more likely to experience it more than young children. Also, self harm is very common among young people, some find it helps manage intense emotional pain if they harm themselves. One in Ten young people have been diagnosed with some type of mental illness. These are just a few facts that surround Young People’s mental health.

I feel this topic ties in with my previous post about the Pressure that is put on us, especially in school. Young People don’t get the correct education surrounding their mental health, I know for years in school I never understood why I would ask myself so many ridiculous questions, why I would always feel sick, why I used to shake and get cold sweats. It wasn’t until I left school and experienced something that no one should ever experience, that I realised that I’ve always suffered with bad anxiety, I mean don’t get me wrong it isn’t as bad as many other people experience but it was bad enough that I couldn’t leave my house for the whole summer because I was afraid to go out, I just sat in my safe haven, my house. I isolated myself from everyone, going to ASDA with my mum was a no go! If I tried to go in there, I would instantly feel smothered, then the panic would take over, you know the term fight or flight? Well I would choose Flight, I would instantly leave the situation no matter the consequences. But no one understood why. So I decided to try and get help, at the time I was sixteen. I made an appointment with my GP surgery, which I had to wait weeks for, it made me feel worse. Anyway, the day came when I had my appointment, as I was called into the consultation room, the doctor asked the usual stuff, and I explained how I was feeling, this led me into hysterical crying. Once I calmed down the Doctor had mentioned a few online websites to help, and also mentioned that she could either offer me medication or I could opt for counselling, she did mention group sessions but as I had shown symptoms of social anxiety she thought that wouldn’t be the right option, which I agreed. I thought about what I wanted to do, I decided to go for the counselling as I feel by talking to a trained professional I would benefit more. The doctor mentioned that she would send a referral letter, but there is about a six week or more waiting list. I understood and I was thankful for her to offer it to me, it was just a waiting game now.

Weeks past since the consultation, and I received a  letter from my GP, the letter basically said that as I was under the age of EIGHTEEN, I would not be able to have counselling as the NHS does not fund it, so if I still wanted to go ahead with it I would need to go private. I was left feeling deflated, I felt there was no hope for me to get help. As a sixteen year old feeling this low and anxious I just shut myself off. I mean I was fortunate to have a job, which I enjoyed at the time, but I realised after that the job I was in was making me even worse. I would have bursts of anxiety, somedays I would feel awful others I would feel fine. It’s something you can’t explain or that people don’t understand unless they have felt that way before.

Now three years later, I have a new job which I love, I have better friendships, people who I trust and people who want to spend time with me without feeling like they have to spend time with me. I finally feel wanted. My anxiety is much better than before, but I cannot say that I have fully recovered, but I’m still battling this inner demon, but it isn’t as crippling as it used to be.

If you’re still here reading, thank you. I’m sorry this is a very long post, but this has been one of the hardest ones to write. I feel that I can’t 100% open up on here yet, but I’m on my way. The moral of this post is that, there isn’t enough funding nor research for young people’s mental health, and it kills me to know that so many people whether young or old and suffering in silence. I just want you to know that if you are suffering, it’s ok to feel like this but please I beg you do not do it alone!! There are people out there who love you, they are willing to listen I promise. Just promise me you’ll take care of yourself.

Helpful links:

If you need urgent help and you are under the age of 18 you can talk to Young Minds, they have a free text msg service, text YM to 85258 and you’ll text will be answered by a trained colleague.

Loneliness

Isolation, abandonment, sadness…

The feeling of being isolated, you look at other peoples relationships and wish you had a friendship like theirs. Whether you’re recovering from a break up, or loss of friends I know how you feel, you’re not alone. I know you may feel like your suffocating yourself with the thoughts of longing to have a large group of friends. I’ve been there, and I’m here to tell you you’re not alone, and it’s normal to feel this way. I promise. The thing is, if we weren’t meant to feel lonely, we wouldn’t even know there was such feeling.

Even the one person you think has it all, from what you see is that they have a large group of friends, they seem happy, they have a house they live comfortably, all the things you long to have in your life. However, they could be the one who feel they have no one, they could go home and cry themselves to sleep, they don’t talk about it because they feel that they don’t have the right to feel this way. Which in fact (again), it’s ok to feel this way.

I remember, I left school at 16 and went straight into work whilst all of my “friend(s)” stayed in school for sixth form. I feel when this happens, you seem to go your separate ways, oh and you find out the truth of what your so called friends have said about you behind your back. Going straight to work after finishing school has made me such a different person. Even though I’ve lost so many people on this journey, I’ve also gained some proper friends along the way. I think sometimes you need to be in a bad place to actually appreciate the good things. I went through a stage just over a year ago, where I was in a job which at the time I didn’t realise was making me so negative, it was such a toxic work place my mental health spiralled, I went into a deep hole which was just (what it felt) Myself, loneliness and crazy anxiety. I woke up, anxious and sad, and I went to sleep crying and anxious. I was always just drained from energy from the amount of effort it took to even wash my hair, all the simple tasks seemed the hardest. I would go into work for 8:30 even though my shift didn’t start until 10, just because if I stayed home I would be in a state and would make myself sick from the thought of leaving the house, the thought that if I spoke to my manager I didn’t know whether she would rip my head off or reply in a polite tone (you can guess what would happen majority of the time). After working there for two years, I knew I needed to leave so I applied for a job in a Hospital Pharmacy, in which I can now say I’m happy with work. I wake up in the morning not dreading going into work, my managers are both lovely and I know I can speak to them when I need help. I can say good morning to them and they’ll be willing to have a conversation with me, I no longer need to walk on egg shells.

As well as being content with my job, I have finally found true friends, that I trust and I hope that they trust me too(you know who you are). What I’ve learnt is that you don’t have to have a large group of friends to feel happy and accepted, I only have a handful of friends and if I’m honest I do feel that I prefer it. The thing is as long as you treat people the way you want to be treated you will gain a huge amount of respect from those who are willing to spend their time with you, and if they don’t, you shouldn’t waste your precious time and energy on them. You’re worthy of living a happy and healthy life!

So the moral of this story/blog post, is that its okay to feel lonely, but I beg you please speak to someone, it’s important to tell someone how you’re feeling. Being stuck in this isolating bubble on your own is not nice, I would never wish it on my worst enemy. If you feel like you have no friends, I’ll be your friend. You’re not alone!

Remember: Take care of yourself, it’s ok to be selfish sometimes x

Anxiety

It’s not just the feeling of butterflies before you go into an interview. It’s the constant disbelief, the nauseous feeling that sits at the pit of your stomach for no reason. You could wake up on Sunday morning, feel fine, get ready and as soon as you go to leave the house, it hits you like a ton of bricks. The worst possible thoughts circling around your head. What if I leave my hair straighteners on? Did I lock the back door? Did I leave my lights on? What if I forget my keys? What if I see someone who doesn’t like me? What if I see someone who I know? What if my friend is late? I will look ridiculous waiting for her!! They consistently circle around and around. Like a dull headache that won’t go away, you feel trapped like there is no way out, which then can trigger you to start panicking. It leads you to turn around and head straight back up to your room because that’s classed as your safe haven.

Even though you are back in your safe place, it still doesn’t stop all the negative thoughts going round and round your head like your stuck on a rollercoaster with no end. This is when the sickness worsens, your chest tightens, which causes you to lose your breathe, you try to remind yourself to breathe but those thoughts are out weighed by all the uneasy thoughts. Breathe, it’ll be ok, you try to remind yourself every second. This can last from an hour to a day, a week or even a month. You know you need to control the thoughts, but thats easier said than done. You feel no one understands why you’ve had to cancel plans that day because you physically couldn’t leave the house. Anxiety is crippling, you second guess every move, you find it hard to make decisions on your own.

If you’ve done something wrong, you over analyse the situation. You worry about what people think of you. When you meet someone new your anxiety is telling you that they are judging you and that they can’t even be bothered to talk to you, but you don’t see that that person who is talking to you actually thinks you’re a great person. You never seem to understand why you feel this way but the thoughts just take over! You’re trapped in this cycle which seems never ending. I promise you that it will get better, baby steps, talk to someone about the way you’re feeling. I know how you feel, I’ve been here, I can’t say I’m fully out of this place because if I said that I was I would be lying. I want you to know if you’re dealing with these thoughts DAILY it’s so important to talk about it, you never know your best friend could be dealing with the same thing but again, feels like they can’t talk to anyone. You could be that ONE person who starts the conversation to help them out, I promise it’ll help you in the long run.

In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK, this is a crazy amount considering this is only from those who have opened up about their mental health. 75% of young people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder are NOT receiving treatment, due to the lack of funding and research surrounding mental health.

Anxiety and all mental health conditions need to be taken seriously. The main thing I want you to take from this is that, again it’s okay to say you need help, this shows that you understand you have a problem that needs to be taken care of. Also, if you feel your friend is having a tough time, offer them your time, I promise they’ll really appreciate it.

I just wanted to add a massive thank you for all the support from my last blog post, I cannot believe the amount of feedback I’ve had from it. The fact that you guys have taken time out of your day to read it and to even share it, it means the world to me!! I cannot thank you all enough. Much love to you all xx

 

(Anxiety UK – http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk )

Mental Health.

It’s okay not to be okay.

 

I feel that this topic is very fitting for today, as it is World Suicide Prevention Day. I find it crazy how it is the 21st Century and there is still a huge stigma surrounding Mental Health. Mental illness can affect anybody, and the most unfortunate thing is that the majority of those who suffer, sadly stay silent. They feel like they can’t talk about how they are feeling, because you’re quick to think that that friend you haven’t seen in months is “unsociable” because they always cancel plans last minute with what you think is a “stupid excuse”, but you never think to double check whether they’re okay, or just say “that’s ok, I’m here if there is anything you want to talk about, let me know when you’re ready” instead you say “you never come out” or “stop being so boring, why do I bother”. I’m not saying that every friend who cancels plans last minute suffers from a mental health condition, I’m just saying if there is a pattern that seems to occur there may be something more than “being busy”.

It’s so important to start the conversation, to open that door to offer them your time. Whether it be via phone, in person or text. Sometimes just saying “I’m here for you whenever” means so much to them because you are someone they love, it gives them the opportunity to talk about how they are feeling. If your friend Susan has been a little quiet recently or acting differently start the conversation, it’s okay not to be okay.

At least 1 in 4 people will experience some sort of Mental Illness at some point in their life, whether that be OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Bipolar, Anxiety or Depression.

Suicide is the biggest killer in men under the age of 45. At least 84 men every week take their own lives to suicide every week, thats over 4,000 men every year! This figure needs to change!

Young women between the ages of 16 to 24 are almost three times more likely (26%) to experience a common mental health problem as their Male contemporaries (9%) and have higher rates of self harm, bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I think that as a whole we can all do something to help break the stigma surrounding mental illness. Whether that be speaking out about our own experiences or being there to help support your family and friends who may need that extra bit of your time as they may need someone to talk to.

For those who are struggling, please don’t suffer in silence. It’s important to speak to someone whether you speak to a friend, family member or healthcare professional, or there are loads of charities out there to offer help and support 24/7.

Please remember, it’s okay not to be okay you’re not ALONE.

Take care of yourself, its ok to be selfish sometimes x

Helpful charities:

(all info listed above, from NHS Mental Health Helplines)