Saturday, 9 December 2017

When You Are Not Okay.

I have spent countless nights wondering why I am bothering tomorrow when I know it will be as bad as today.

I have spent countless days where time just passes by and where I'm not stepping forward, if anything I'm stepping back.

There is no easy way to admit you are not okay.

There is no easy way to say that you no longer feel happy in a world that collapses around you.

There is no easy way to say you're hurting.

When you've been doing better then everything crashes down, it can be an empty feeling. When you are proud of how far you've come to then seemingly return to square one, it almost feels as if you were rescued from drowning to then be dragged again under the water. You get a sense of freedom, to just be pulled back in.

I often talk about my sadness like drowning. Like you are drowning and everyone is swimming. But it's more than that. It feels like you are drowning in the sense that you are drowning. In the sense that every little thing is that bit too much to keep you safe. Like it is impossible to touch the ground because there is more sadness than there is you. Like my thoughts can be too much and my happiness is then drowned in sorrow.

When you're drowning it's hard to remember that you aren't drowning alone. There are without a doubt other people drowning too, but you cannot see anyone else drowning so you feel all alone. Like you are the only person in the entire world who is drowning.

And when you're drowning, you might not see the people throwing you a life ring. You may be too focused on drowning to see that people are there to offer a hand. You won't see it until you want to.

I'm not saying that someone else will save you. Someone can guide you, someone can help you stay afloat. But you need to make the decision, that you want to get better. You want to stay afloat.

There is no easy way to admit that you're hurting.

There is no easy way to admit that you don't want to be alive.

There is no easy way to admit that you don't feel like your life has a purpose and that you wish it could all end.

There is no cure for sadness. Life is structured in the way that something bad will happen to you and you need to find a way to bounce back. This is not to say that you're pain isn't valid. Your pain is valid. Your pain is valid and people will see that you are hurting and people will understand that it is not an easy thing to be talking about.


My days recently have been constant drowning. Constant breakdowns. Constant thinking whether I am cut out to be at university anymore to do what I love. Constant panic and constant pain. Constant hate of myself.

My days have been one blur.

My days have not been easy.

It is hard to admit when you are not doing okay, after a long period of doing okay.

Taking that step is the most important step you will make.

The first step to being okay, is admitting you aren't.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Let's Talk About Mental Health (pt 2)

Mental health will always be an important thing to talk about. There is never a time where it isn't important to talk about it. Whether this is talking about your own health, informing others about mental health or telling people that it's okay to talk about it, any form of talking about mental health is important in breaking the stigma of mental health.

So that's what I'm going to do now.

When mental health first became a problem for me, I had no clue what it even was. It sounds utterly ridiculous, but I never really knew the words depression, anxiety or mental health until I was around 14/15, when really I'd been experiencing these since I was as young as 10/11.

This is what I want to talk about today.

I want to talk about the fact that I didn't understand anything about suicide when I was an 11 year old feeling suicidal. I didn't realise it was even really a thing. I didn't know anything about it, I didn't even know the word. All I knew is that for a while, I wanted it to end.

I want to talk about the fact that when I was in school (from the age of around 9/10) the thought of doing anything wrong gave me unbearably crippling panic and the fact that I wouldn't realise this was due to anxiety until a few years ago.

I want to talk about the fact that the only thing I knew about self harm was opinions of people who said "it helped" until it was too late.

I want to talk about the fact that I had ridiculously unhealthy eaten habits and food mind frame when I was in secondary school, but I knew absolutely nothing about eating disorders at the time.

I want to talk about children and mental health. About the fact that 1 in 20 young children will experience a mental health problem and the fact that many mental health problems start before the age of 14. About the fact that growing up, I had absolutely no knowledge about mental health. I knew nothing. And I'm sure if I knew nothing then other people out there knew or know nothing too.

We are slowly bringing light to talking about mental health, but it still isn't enough. You constantly hear in the news about children ending their lives due to bullying, school pressure, feeling worthless etc.  This needs to change.

When I was younger I saw no way out. I didn't feel comfortable talking to anyone because I didn't really know that something was ever wrong, because no one had said otherwise. I know it sounds stupid, feeling suicidal at 11 and not understand how serious it is. But it happens. It is real and happening both in and out of the public eye.

To me, this is the most important reason we need to talk about mental health. So people out there understand that these feelings aren't normal, not everyone feels them and that there is a support network.

Because here I am at 19, my mental health still in a pretty rough state after all these years.

Giving children a childhood they enjoy is the least they deserve.

Let everyone know it's okay to talk. Love everyone you meet. Be kind, always.


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Year.

A year ago today was probably the hardest day of my life.

The last year, following suit, has been a very damn hard year.

How it's already been a year since you passed away has managed to amaze me. It's been a weird combination of the quickest but slowest year of my life and I don't think I am dealing with it well yet, but at the same time it's something I've gradually accepted.

Losing someone you love isn't easy but you were the first person I have ever lost and one of the last people I expected to go.

It all still feels like a cruel dream. I expect to see you and still get confused as to why I don't. I hear your voice constantly and it still feels like you're here even though it's been a year.

I wish you were still around so I could tell you I loved you as even though I knew, I definitely didn't tell you enough. I wish we could sit and play video games all the time and I wish I could still mock Liverpool losing as I came to see you on my lunch break. Nothing is the same without you.

And there's nothing anyone can do. That's the issue. We can't just change or do something to make any of this easier because the only way it would be easier is if you were still alive, and if we could do that we wouldn't be in this situation.

The last year has been a rollercoaster. The stability of my mental health has been next-to-none, with waves of not being able to cope and waves of feeling like everything is okay again. I've spent the year pretending that I had come to terms with your loss, when really I was a hopeless mess who still cannot believe that any of this is real.

The sad thing is that it is real. I will never hear your voice again or see your face again. I will never be able to do any of the things we loved to do together. I didn't just lose an uncle. I lost the person I absolutely looked up to for most of my life. I lost the person that I felt like I could be myself around. I lost the person I felt most comfortable around. I lost a friend. I lost someone I wanted to be around all the time. I lost an irreplaceable figure in my life.

People often say that grief gets easier to deal with. They're liars. It becomes less of a thing that eats you away because you learn to live with it, you learn to cope. Losing someone never is easy. It never gets easier to deal with. Here I am a year later, feeling the same feelings I felt this time last year.

I will live everyday missing you. It gives us some comfort that you aren't living in pain anymore. I just really hope we're all doing you proud. I hope you're sleeping tight.

Monday, 9 October 2017

A Shoutout

This is a shoutout to the person who thought they could not get out of bed today, but did. The person who has to be high functioning when their brain and body is screaming low. To the person who couldn't get out of bed today. The person who tried so hard to function, but the thought of functioning was too much.

This is a shoutout to the person who feels lost in the world. To the person who has no clue what they're doing. To the person who got rejected, the person who lost their job. The person who cannot get work and the person who's mental health is stopping them from doing what they want. The person who is struggling to get by and the person who's job is making them so unbearably unhappy.

This is a shoutout to the person who had their heartbroken. The person who feels like they cannot go on because they left and they were all you ever knew. The person who doesn't feel happy in their relationship, the person who's other half isn't treating them right. The person who doesn't want to be single anymore, the person who is going through divorce.

This is a shoutout to the person battling their fears. To the person who did something they never thought they could. To the person too scared to go out of their comfort zone. To the person who is happy as they are.

This is a shoutout to the person who hates to look at themselves in the mirror. To the person who is full of self confidence and to everyone and anyone in between.

This is a shoutout to the person who cannot sleep. To the person who sits up all night worrying. To the person who sleeps constantly because they cannot deal with being awake. To the person who wakes up constantly throughout the night and then feels more tired the next day because it's so hard to sleep.

This is a shoutout to all the men who were told to "man up" or told that they cannot feel sad because they are a man. To the men who feel like they cannot share their emotions, to the men who feel isolated and vulnerable. To the men who need to know it's okay to talk to someone when they aren't feeling themselves. To the men we lost to suicide because they didn't think they could talk.

This is a shoutout to the person who kept going. The person who wanted everything to stop but kept on pushing through. The person who is pushing all the thoughts of giving up to the back of their mind and carrying on like nothing ever happened. The person who had to talk themselves out of stupid things and to the person who is tired of doing so.


This is a shoutout to the person currently lying in a hospital bed. The person who tried to give up but weren't entirely successful. To the person that is in patient. The person recovering. To the person we lost their fight to mental health. To the person we miss so dearly.

This is also a shoutout to the friends, the family, the people who care. To the person who was always there for you when you needed a helping hand. To the person who stayed by your side through all the bad and remained there during the good. To the person who loved you regardless of your wellbeing. To the person who brought out the best in you and reminded you that you are wonderful and deserved to be loved.

This is a shoutout to the person who told me they loved me. To the person who wants the best for me. To the person who sees beyond all the hurt and the broken. To the person who knows people are hurtful and the person who understands I am like how I am because there is only so many times shattered glass can be vaguely put back together.

This is a shoutout. This is a shoutout to everyone who has ever needed to feel loved. To the person who is spreading love. To the person who is fighting and the person who is helping them to fight. Keep going. You can do it.


//

#WorldMentalHealthDay2017

SUPPORT HOTLINES : 

(USA) http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
(OUTSIDE THE USA): http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html


MORE INFORMATION:

NHS WEBSITE: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Suicide/Pages/Getting-help.aspx
MIND UK:  http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/suicidal-feelings/#.V9RyJ1dlnVo
CALM: www.thecalmzone.net
SAMARITANS: www.samaritans.org
HELP GUIDE: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-help-dealing-with-your-suicidal-thoughts-and-feelings.htm
CHILDLINE: https://www.childline.org.uk
YOUNG MINDS: http://www.youngminds.org.uk
TIME TO CHANGE: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

MOVEMENTS/PROGAMS:

TWLOHA: @twolha (twitter/ig/tumblr) / https://twloha.com
BUDDY PROJECT: https://twitter.com/ProjectBuddy
SANE: http://www.sane.org.uk
MGMH: http://www.globalmentalhealth.org

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I Was Made For Living (WSPD 2017)

A year ago today, I was sat as I am now, writing a post about World Suicide Prevention Day. I spoke about suicide in a rather objective way, listing facts, information and describing suicidal thoughts as they are. I sat expressing that suicide isn't a cry for attention (it isn't, btw. just saying) and was full of encouragement and I spent most of the post trying to persuade even one person out there to stay alive.

What I didn't talk about much a year ago today was myself.

How a year ago today I was sat, persuading someone to stay alive, a few weeks after I myself had attempted myself.

Not long before I had written my post a year ago today, I had had enough. I wanted it all to end and I took the steps to do so. I am just grateful that I hadn't done enough to be successful.

I didn't want to die. I really genuinely didn't want my life to end. I just wanted the pain to stop. I was trying to find a solution to a temporary problem that would have ended alot more than just my pain. It would have ended my pain but caused pain elsewhere. But at that moment, I didn't care. I just felt like I couldn't carry on ripping myself to pieces and finding myself in a form of pain what felt like constantly.

A year ago was a long time ago. A year ago I was in alot of emotional pain and heartbreak and I couldn't talk myself through any of it. A year ago I was an emotional, anxious and tired mess who self harmed an unhealthy amount to try and make it all okay. Even though now my mental health still is a huge impact on my life and wellbeing, I'm now just under 6 months clean and feeling better about myself. A year ago I never would have said I would now be 6 months clean, because a year a go self harm was one of the only things I felt I had to temporarily make me feel okay. After 5 or 6 years of self harm, it is now so nice to say that I haven't returned back to my old habits and I have less and less urge to do so as the time goes on.

But feeling better doesn't mean I am okay. I am not in the slightest okay. Alot has happened in this year that has really affected me, but I survived. I am alive. My mental health was pushed further than it probably ever had before, but I am doing so much better than I was a year ago. But doing better doesn't mean you don't get bad days. Even though I may not have attempted suicide, I have had days where I thought that was the only option. I've had days where I just wanted out. I've had days I'm not proud of. I've had days where I thought I was at square one. But I am not.

World Suicide Prevention Day is an important day for me. If a year ago I had succeeded, I wouldn't be typing these words today. There would be memories I would never have made, people I would never have met, games I may never have played, shelves I would not have stacked, places I wouldn't have driven to and assignments I wouldn't have written. If I had succeeded a year ago, I wouldn't have gone to university. I wouldn't be a level 1 qualified football coach. I wouldn't have gone to Malia or Berlin. I wouldn't have seen my favourite youtuber play one of my favourite games. I wouldn't have been around to write, talk and create things surrounding mental health. I wouldn't have been able to advocate mental health as much as I have done this last year.

Suicide is an awful thing.

Being suicidal is an awful thing.

It is a vulnerable, terrifying and unforgiving place to be in. But if you can battle it. If you can fight it and win, there is so much in the world that will make you happy you did. Even if you don't believe so, it's out there.

Do you really think a year ago I thought I'd have been excited to move into a student house and start my second year of university? Or a year ago I thought I'd have gone on some amazing holidays with people I love? Or a year ago I thought that I'd be 6 months clean and actually be happy to be alive?

800,000 people a year successfully commit suicide each year.

I know my words may not "turn on a light" for a person who is in a suicidal place. I know that, because I've been there. Heck, I still am there. There are many days I cannot bare the thought of being alive and I will not listen or believe anyone who says anything otherwise. I often dismiss anyone who says it'll all eventually be okay because there is no factual proof that states that it will be.

But a few words can change a life. Tell people you love them and care about them. If someone you love, someone you know, or a stranger look like they need it, tell them you care. Compliment them. Open your arms and let them know you are there for them. It's easy to think that no one will care about you if you leave, so by telling someone otherwise it will hopefully make them that bit more reluctant.

You were made for living.

You were made for making mistakes and trying again. You were made for all the happy tears, the sad tears, the painful tears, the grieving tears, the excited tears and the proud tears. You were made for second chances. You were made for staying. You were made to make an impact on someones life, and  you are doing that. You were made to be a voice. You were made for forgiving and forgetting. You were made for making memories. You were made for falling down, getting up and carrying on again.

Take a minute. Change a life. Whether this be taking a minute to tell yourself you are worthy of life or taking a minute to tell someone you love and care for them.

Suicide doesn't stop the end the awful feelings. It just eliminates any chance of it getting better.

And it will get better.

A year ago, I relapsed badly and swallowed too many pills. A year ago I was in a complete state because it felt like my world was falling apart and I didn't want it to fall apart anymore. I woke up the next morning in my bed, in pain, feeling rough, ill and feeling like everything was absolutely awful because I was still alive and I really didn't want to be. A year ago I thought nothing would get better. I didn't think anyone cared about me. I didn't think that my life was worth living and I didn't want to stay around to find out if that would change.

A year later, I look forward to new days. I am happy that I am alive. Even though I am still battling, I am glad to be doing so. I get anxious, I hate life, I hate myself more often than I love myself, but I'm happier because I'm doing it whilst wanting to be alive.

You were made for living. If you give up now, you will miss the chance to see what life has in store. It will all be okay. It doesn't feel like it will all be okay, but it really will all be okay. Reach out, get support, keep on fighting.

It's okay not to be okay, as long as you're not giving up.




40 people per second commit suicide. There are many charities that you can turn to if you are in need of any crisis support. 

For more information, for help or for instant help or support, follow these links:


SUPPORT HOTLINES : 

(USA) http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
(OUTSIDE THE USA): http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html


MORE INFORMATION:

NHS WEBSITE: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Suicide/Pages/Getting-help.aspx
MIND UK:  http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/suicidal-feelings/#.V9RyJ1dlnVo
CALM: www.thecalmzone.net
SAMARITANS: www.samaritans.org
HELP GUIDE: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-help-dealing-with-your-suicidal-thoughts-and-feelings.htm
CHILDLINE: https://www.childline.org.uk
YOUNG MINDS: http://www.youngminds.org.uk
TIME TO CHANGE: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

Thursday, 17 August 2017

On Doing Better

It wasn't too long ago when I found myself at one of my lowest points. In fact, the person I was at the start of 2017 is a completely different person to the person writing this post today.

It'd be easy to assume that I was still in a really bad place, because on a daily basis recently I've found myself having multiple breakdowns and panic attacks or I've found myself struggling to cope with anything. Outwardly, I still come across as a complete mess. But the only reason I'm this much of a mess is because I'm doing better.

The concept of me doing better but acting worse is one that won't be understood unless you have been there before. Or unless you knew the real person I was a few months ago. I spent most of the month of March locked away in my room. I missed all but a few lectures, completed assignments scruffily and in a few hours because I mentally couldn't do them well and the few times I socialised was because I was drinking and because I was drinking, I was in a slightly better mood mentally. The thought of having to wake up the next morning actually broke my heart and I didn't want to do anything for a long time.

An awful month for me took its toll and one night right at the end of the month saw me re-hit rock bottom, with what easily could have been me going to hospital after a few too many drinks, some really stupid things and an uncontrollable anxiety attack hit. I woke up the next morning and couldn't stop wondering how I'd let myself sink back to such a terrible place, and about how lucky I was to still be in slightly one piece in my own bed.

It was almost like a wake up call. I have been fluctuating mentally for a good 7/8 years now, telling myself it'd all be okay soon. But of course it wouldn't, why would anything get better unless I wanted  it to? How could I properly recover without the want, the need and the motive to?

I don't want to say I had a "huge revelation and it automatically changed my life". Because one night didn't completely change my outlook on life. One bad night didn't make me love myself (I still don't) and one bad night didn't make all the bad thoughts just go away. An awful night just gave me little a wake up call. A wake up call would have meant absolutely nothing unless I did something about it. Unless I made some changes that would help me to finally start fighting back, to find some happiness again.

And it hasn't been easy. I cut out a toxic coping mechanism that I had been addicted too since I was 14. And so many times I wanted to fall back into it like every other time I tried to do run away from it. But when I made that choice then, I was genuinely in a better place without knowing.

It sounds stupid, me not knowing I'm in a better place, but still having nights like that. But the whole reason that night was especially bad was because I completely had fucked up what I thought was the start of a "new chapter" in my life. It was bad because I couldn't control it after a few shitty events and waaay too much wine.

But I was in a better place. This time a year ago, I wanted it all to stop. I didn't want to be alive anymore. But here I am, alive. And now, I go to sleep with the thought that I will wake up tomorrow and no matter how bad that day was, tomorrow will be a new. I look forward to it, in a way. I want to see what life has in store for me.

That's where the whole "doing better but not really doing better" is emphasised. Yes, I still am very similar in to how I was a year ago. I still don't like alot about myself, I get really bad days and my anxiety is probably the worse it's been in my entire life. But now, I want the days to come. I don't wish the days away and then wish I don't wake up the next. I wake up and smile.

I know that now, I can actually fight off any bad thoughts. Temptations of relapse are still very prevalent, but I now find it so much easier to fight them off and stay strong. I haven't had a genuine suicidal thought in a long time. I haven't had to completely argue with my brain in a while. My mood swings aren't as bad. Any voice I used to hear has completely quietened down.

I constantly ask myself, what if this will never become okay? What if I'm like this forever?

The truth is, it's already becoming okay. I can see myself in 1 years time having even less mental fluctuations than I'm having now. Telling yourself that nothing will be okay is really easy when it's all you know. But coming to the realisation that you are okay feels rather odd when you definitely aren't okay.

No one is happy 100% of the time. No one is perfect. No one is completely okay.

And I'm sat here at 1:30am, coming to the realisation that for the first time in a long time, everything is looking brighter.

Because this week for me has been hard. In the last 8 days I've had probably 10 panic attacks, including two absolutely awfully draining ones. I've cried more times than I think I have in the rest of 2017. I've slept for so few hours that I'm surprised I've been able to move each day (and have started taking tablets for this). I've insulted myself more times than I can count. I've wondered why I was having such a shit time when I thought I was doing well.

The truth is, I'm having a hard time because I'm being strong. I've lost my coping mechanism, so I'm struggling, but this only is making me stronger.

Because this week, on top of all the bad thing mentally, I've been happy. I haven't laughed this much in a long time. I've cried happy tears. I've spoken to people who make me genuinely excited to get up in the morning. The little things I've done have been on the whole, great.

Everything has a silver lining.

Even though the last days have been a bump, everything is okay. I'm okay. It's nice to finally admit to myself that I am in fact, doing better.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Routine of Surviving

After falling asleep at 3am, I'll find myself waking up at least 4 times from then until I wake up, usually around 9am.

I'll wake up tired, with a headache from the amount of times I've woken up.

I'll lay in bed for 20, 30 minutes to an hour, contemplating moving. "Today is going to be awful, just stay in bed" I'll tell myself, before physically pushing myself up and out of bed. I'll probably yawn, spend a while moaning about how tired I am before I start to get ready for my day.

No matter what I'm doing during the day, I'll have the same thoughts in my head. Whether I'm at a lecture, at work, out with friends or simply sat on my sofa watching TV, I'll be thinking about how I cannot wait to get back to the comfort of my bed, where no one will judge me for moping around and attempting to sleep. I'll eat, take some medication to try relieve myself of headaches or anxiety or whatever the issue is on that day (usually both), and go about my daily life. I'll go around with dark circles under my eyes and a complete weight on my shoulders that gets harder to carry with each step.

I'll get home, tucked into bed and feel completely relieved that I'm away from social interaction, from the constant fear of the unknown and judgement from everyone around me. But this fear is replaced with a sadness and a knowledge of the lack of sleep I'll be getting that night. I'll fall asleep late.

The cycle starts again.

It's frustrating.

It's frustrating to have no energy all the time, whilst acting like you are completely full of life. There's no motivation to do anything, you have to force yourself with all your remaining energy to go and do whats needed to be done, whether this is to do with work, education, exercise or simply having a bath or making something to eat.

It's near impossible, you want to give up. But you don't. You carry on and each day you get that one bit closer to actually living instead of being stuck in a routine of simply surviving.

And if simply surviving is the best you have right now, then it is definitely fantastic to do.

Because you aren't giving up. The second you give up is the second that everything starts to get worse, to become overwhelming. And even though it is unbearable, by surviving you're telling your brain that even though it is unbearable, that you can deal with it.

You can cope with all the anxiety, you can cope with feeling completely worthless. You can cope with the noise and you can cope with every negative thought that is thrown your way.

Your head may only just be above water, but it's still there.

Everyone says that you want to "live not just survive", but if at the moment all that is possible is surviving, then you are living by just doing that.

I'm there, I understand. It's really fucking hard to see everyone around you happy when you are sat thinking that not waking up tomorrow wouldn't be the worst thing that's ever happened to you. It's so hard to have absolutely no energy to do anything you love, because all your energy is sapped through a lack of sleep or being drained by doing nothing.

It's unbearable to feel like a ghost in a room full of life, but you need to remember that however ghost-like you feel, you are still one of the bodies full of life.

Right now, I'm surviving. I'm barely sleeping, I'm taking anti-anxiety medicine, I'm barely getting through the day. But soon, it'll all be okay and I know that now.

Because it's okay not to be okay, as long as you are not giving up.