anxiety · depression · grief · men · mental health · news · paranoia · self image · suicide · support

The Human Tragedy

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Someone recently pointed out to me that scientists and research has managed to find so many ways for us to live longer, yet the cruel reality is the younger generation are turning to suicide more and more, and it’s not just the young either.

So the question I put forward is why?

My theory. We are cursed with the awareness of our own morality meaning most often one of our biggest goals is to live a happy and meaningful life. But life is no smooth ride and especially nowadays we document our lives as if it were a magazine spread, upselling our lives and displaying it proudly hoping others are envious of our achievement at having what looks like such a successful life.
Truth is it’s more often than not a visage, what power does a photograph or a Facebook account have? It is but another mask to hide the consumerism within us of always wanting more and always wanting to be more.
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So what’s the conclusion?

Honesty. I think the media needs to put on a more honest display and view of life. We can’t grow up with this fairytale idea of everything going to plan, as when we meet failure (and we will meet failure) we so often think, ‘That’s it! Life plan ruined I failed!’ So starts the self-critical voice of ‘I never get anything right’ and the comparison of ourselves to others who may have succeeded where we failed.

Education needs to start teaching us about mental health too, the midlife crisis has moved forward to our 20’s making it a quarter life crisis! What preparation do we have for exhausting our minds trying to live up to an unobtainable standard of self then crashing and burning and becoming depressed, or discovering you have a mental illness such as Bipolar? We need to talk about these things so they are no longer an ‘awkward subject’ we shouldn’t be ashamed of falling or failing as it shapes us into becoming the person who learns to stand back up again.

Yet we do need help, we need coping mechanisms, we need education, we need people to stand forward and admit that they don’t have it all together, that rolls of fat can be beautiful, that scars are not signs or failure, that money isn’t everything, that relationships do break down…. Truth, honesty, support and above all acceptance.

So here is the question I now put forward for your opinions, where are we going wrong and how can we change?

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ADD · adhd · depression · help · mental health · paranoia · self image · stigma · support

Guilt

I never knew how powerful it was. Guilt has kept me in the dark places of my mind for years.
Feeling guilty about everything! Even feeling guilty about being alive!

Guilt was a form of self-punishment, I felt I deserved it when really it was just stealing my chances of getting better and finding happiness.

Definition of guilt: Guilt is a feeling of anxiety or unhappiness that you have done something immoral or wrong, such as causing harm to another person.
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I would feel guilty for being depressed and worrying about how it made others feel, I felt guilty about the fact I struggled to be happy, I felt guilty for crying, guilty for needing time to myself, guilty for being honest about my feelings. Guilty about basically everything.

Guilt would give me anxiety attacks especially if I had hurt someone’s feelings I would feel SO guilty I would harm myself then feel guilty about that, then feel guilty I was making it about me, then guilty that I couldn’t get anything right.
What did normal people do when they felt guilty?

I am writing this because since the discovery that I have ADD things have been really improving, I have moved out and found myself so happy and content. Then one night after a terrible decision of drinking beer through a hangover and then throw in a whirlwind of negative thoughts and my brain was spinning with all these negative memories, thoughts and feelings.
I couldn’t make them stop I remember crying and trying to fall asleep then screaming out loud because they wouldn’t stop and I felt like I was falling back to that dark place I thought I had left behind.

So today? Guilt, served with guilt and a nice side helping of guilt!

Then a thought, what do I feel guilty about?

I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings, I didn’t break anything and I didn’t even hurt myself… so why do I feel so guilty?

I guess I feel guilty that I had felt so good and I knew I was having a scatty brain weekend (well an ADHD mind!) and instead of taking time for myself I didn’t and just distracted myself then when the negative thoughts came pouring in I believed them. This battle I did not win and I felt so defeated and guilty for it.

But I have been telling myself to be kind to myself, to love myself so though it’s hard to do I chose not to feel guilty, correction I feel guilty but I chose to notice that as a feeling and not a fact.
I am a fighter and yes I got knocked down but guilt will keep me down so I will stand back up and apologise to myself as I don’t deserve to be made to feel guilty about what? Being human and having a break down!

I have been through so much and yet here I am! I am doing so so well and not only do I fight these negative thoughts on a daily basis I still manage to help others fight theirs! I mean not blowing my own trumpet or anything but that’s pretty dam good!

So guilt I am done with you! You’re not welcome here as I forgive myself for what I have done to myself and I won’t win every battle, but dam it I will win this fucking war!

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anxiety · depression · help · mental health · paranoia · reading · self image · stigma · support

Being Enough

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What is enough?

This idea of being enough, having enough or doing enough has become somewhat toxic.
Whoever made us believe we were not enough in the first place?

For me it’s another part of a journey to revisit, maybe sometimes even re-live, what got into my head to make me see such little value in myself, leading me to believe that I am not, and never will be, enough.

What does enough look like though?
Maybe something from the adverts, like when you get your ‘perfect kitchen’, ‘perfect wardrobe’, ‘perfect partner’ or your ‘perfect beach body’? Just so you all know, perfect doesn’t exist!
So we start, without knowing it, to aim for this idea of ‘perfection’ as we are literally being bombarded with it everywhere; Instagram only has our ‘perfect photos’ or the ‘perfect days’ and the ‘perfect holiday’ – we don’t put pictures up of us breaking down over the fact that we got a spot the size of a peanut just before we were going on a first date, or the day you and your partner argued for hours and one of you had to sleep on the sofa, or the fact that every day you can spend hours in front of the mirror scanning your body for imperfections and comparing yourself to photos of your idea of ‘perfect’.

So if we achieve ‘perfection’ then will we be enough?
Since this is impossible then no we won’t, the only way we can be enough for ourselves, even to begin with, is by realising one thing; we are perfectly unique and perfectly ourselves whatever that looks like or sounds like – perfect is a fantasy, an idea, or a massive marketing fad to get you always wanting more.
Who can find peace or comfort in the idea that you are never getting it right, you never have enough or will never be enough as the world constantly reminds us ‘ahhh you may have that but you don’t have this!’, or ‘Well done on the weight loss but you don’t look like this yet do you?’. Look around you and ask yourself what and who am I really comparing myself to, my relationships and my life to?

What are you basing your happiness on?
If you decide you are constantly striving for something, be it perfection or this concept of being enough, then is your happiness based on this idea that once you achieve it you will finally be happy, complete, whole? Until of course the next thing you feel you need or lack as a person – constantly reaching but always falling from an idea placed in our heads that we are not complete and don’t have, or are not, enough.

Well I call BULLSHIT!

Perfect doesn’t exist and you are already enough.

Truth is you will be disappointed in life and you will disappoint others, you will get your heartbroken and even break hearts, intended or not.
You will always find something about yourself to physically or mentally scrutinise, and compare yourself to others; also the people you perceive as ‘perfect’ most likely completely disagree with you and are striving for their own idea of perfect too.
I could go on but the idea and the point is; in this era of social media reign where we are surrounded by messages of what we want and need, what ‘normal’ and ‘perfect’ looks like, can we not come together hold our hands up and say ‘I am not perfect but I am enough’. It’s not easy but challenge these thoughts, challenge this stigma.

As I for one know I am enough and am just working on that being my new truth and rejecting what the world tells me I ‘should’ be, or ‘should’ think, so challenge yourself today to accept your circumstances whatever they may be and realise this is temporary good or bad, perfect is not a destination but a choice to realise you are perfectly you, perfectly here and perfectly accepting or working towards the realisation that you don’t have to be anyone or anywhere else right now but find a form of happiness in NOW as the biggest truth of all is we have no idea how many NOW’s we have left.

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depression · mental health · open mic · poetry · reading · self image · spoken word · stigma

Spoken Word Poetry

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I have officially done my first ever spoken word event at the Canvas Cafe near Brick Lane in London for Mad Poets Speak!!!

Since I was in primary school I have written poetry and fallen in love with it’s language and the way we can use words to express emotions and thoughts turning them into something unique and beautiful.

Yesterday was the first time I have ever got up in front of others and read out my work, and though it was nerve racking it was an amazing experience.

The theme was mental health and the poems others read were incredible and so relatable, hearing others share their wonderful work and their experiences really did in my eyes help break the stigma.

I hope to discover more spoken word events and also events speaking on mental health.

To watch the video please click HERE

 

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also had this amazing vegan freakshake at the cafe!!!

anorexia · bulimia · depression · eating disorder · men · mental health · self image · stigma

Eating Disorders

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Eating disorders are something I was always more aware of when growing up, I have been lucky enough to never suffer from one myself but knew people who did.
From studying photography I was very aware of the medias influence on men and women who would often try to reach an unrealistic high expectation of ‘beauty’ and how their bodies should look, this occasionally would lead to a controlling persona where they would obsess over weight and how they looked.

Eating disorders are characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour.

A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health.

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The most common eating disorders are:

  • anorexia nervosa – when a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible; for example, by starving themselves or exercising excessively
  • bulimia – when a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives (medication to help empty the bowels) to try to control their weight
  • binge eating disorder (BED) – when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time

Eating disorders are often blamed on the social pressure to be thin, as young people in particular feel they should look a certain way. However, the causes are usually more complex…

Risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a person having an eating disorder include:

  • having a family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse
  • being criticised for their eating habits, body shape or weight
  • being overly concerned with being slim, particularly if combined with pressure to be slim from society or for a job – for example, ballet dancers, models or athletes
  • certain underlying characteristics – for example, having an obsessive personality, an anxiety disorder, low self-esteem or being a perfectionist
  • particular experiences, such as sexual or emotional abuse or the death of someone special
  • difficult relationships with family members or friends
  • stressful situations – for example, problems at work, school or university

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Who is effected by eating disorders?

Around 1 in 250 women and 1 in 2,000 men will experience anorexia nervosa at some point. The condition usually develops around the age of 16 or 17.

Bulimia is around two to three times more common than anorexia nervosa, and 90% of people with the condition are female. It usually develops around the age of 18 or 19.

Binge eating affects males and females equally and usually appears later in life, between the ages of 30 and 40. As it’s difficult to precisely define binge eating, it’s not clear how widespread it is, but it’s estimated to affect around 5% of the adult population.

Read here about Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay’s own struggle with an eating disorder.

Seeking help for yourself or another…

If you suffer from an eating disorder or suspect that someone you know does do not be ashamed to ask for help or speak out. There is help out there, take a look at this site called beat which deal specifically with eating disorders, or speak to a loved one you can trust and look into getting a GP appointment so that you can start reclaiming your life and start the journey to recovery with help and support.

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anxiety · bipolar · depression · grief · mental health · news · PTSD · self image · stigma

Lily’s speak out!

Lily Allen

Lily Allen has been brave and come forward admitting she has bipolar disorder and has suffered from PTSD.

Lily Allen said on Twitter that she suffered from PTSD

It seems this came to light on Twitter when told by another user that he felt she had mental health illness, she replied: ‘I DO have mental health issues. Bi-polar, postnatal depression, and PTSD, does that make my opinion void?’

In regards to suffering from PTSD after losing her son six months into her pregnancy in 2010 she said…

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Lily, 31, has been well known for her erratic behavior, such as appearing to be drunk in public and making outspoken political interventions.

Admitting she suffers from bipolar disorder (once known as manic-depression) is a brave move as many do suffer from this illness and can experience extreme mood swings which can last for months.

The disorder, thought to affect one in 100 Britons, has received more attention in recent years after stars like actress Catherine Zeta-Jones admitted suffering with it.

The singer has also spoken about her postnatal depression following the births of her two young daughters, Ethel, five, and Marnie, four. 

Lily Collins

Lily Collins has spoken out about her battle with an eating disorder, she detailed the harrowing tale of her secret eating disorder in a frank and emotional interview.

Lily explained she gorged on ‘every type of junk food possible’, later forcing herself to throw up, causing her hair to fall out and her nails to become brittle.

‘My hair and nails became brittle. My throat burnt and my oesophagus ached.’ 

‘My period stopped for a couple of years. I was terrified I had ruined by chances of having kids.’

She has admitted to suffering from this disorder after being cast to star in the film ‘To The Bone’ about an anorexia patient.

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“It really felt like the the was universe saying, ‘This is either something you need to address yourself, or something you need to bring to new people. It’s a conversation that you need to help start among young people—males and females—because it is becoming more and more prevalent for both now.”

“It is just such a taboo topic that I think people avoid because people feel uncomfortable talking about it,” Collins said. “But the second that they do, anyone who knows someone or is going through it themselves feels less alone. And it’s really a beautiful result to have the film give.”

Celebrity or not coming forward and opening up about battling a mental health disorder is a tough decision and one which can make us feel very vulnerable.
That is why I applaud those especially in the public eye which have the pressure of thousands of eyes upon them speaking out to help stop the stigma and shed light on mental health through their personal experiences.

anxiety · depression · self image

BDD

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Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance.

This disorder many could possibly relate to, as even I myself thought it just meant that you were unhappy with the way you looked. Maybe focusing on one part in-particular such as your weight, or maybe a scar, maybe even your smile. These thoughts and feelings can be fleeting though and change depending on mood leaving them to come and go.

However, for someone with BDD, the thoughts are very distressing, do not go away and have a significant impact on daily life. The person believes they are ugly or defective and that other people perceive them in this way, despite reassurances from others about their appearance. This disorder is as common in men as well as women.

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You might be given a diagnosis of BDD if you:

  • experience obsessive worries about one or more perceived flaws in your physical appearance; the flaw cannot be seen by others or appears very slight
  • develop compulsive behaviours and routines, such as excessive use of mirrors or picking your skin, to deal with the worries you have about the way you look

BDD may also cause other problems such as:

  • feelings of shame, guilt or loneliness
  • isolating yourself to avoid situations that cause you anxiety or discomfort
  • depression or anxiety
  • misuse of alcohol or other drugs
  • feeling you need unnecessary medical procedures, such as cosmetic surgery
  • eating disorders
  • self-harm
  • suicidal thoughts

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Read more on BDD here.

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A poem I wrote on beauty…

Every part of me was meant to be.

Perfectly put together.

I may not be the easiest beauty to admire,

but look a little closer and how could you fault?

For even though the world has scarred and broken me,

its made me more beautifully and uniquely me.

I wont lie by saying I don’t wish to change my appearance daily,

but like a diamond it can take years to form real timeless beauty.

So hear I stand with years gone by,

chips and scratches have changed and shaped me,

Now who am I to say I’m not beautiful?

 

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