Mental Health

I'm stuck in quasi recovery?

I’ve been very open about my mental health on this account. One of the reasons why I started my blog was to write anonymously and honestly about my mental health. Not only in the hope that it will help myself but on the slim chance in can also help someone else, even just making you feel less alone. I made this blog anonymous so I could literally talk about anything and everything, no matter how deep or personal. (If you do have any questions you’ve always wanted to know,but felt too intrusive, you can always comment or email me. I will answer anything!). I openly write when I am well, as well as very low.

I’ve reached a point in my journey, where I feel I’ve been for a good few months. I’m OK. I’ve reached a stage where I genuinely feel I want to be alive, now and for the future. Even when I am riddled with intrusive thoughts of suicide, I now have the thought in the back of my mind that suicide is not what I really want. This little voice in the back of my mind gives me the strength to realize these thoughts are temporary and irrational. This is HUGE for me, as for the past 5 years I genuinely believed suicide was my only option. I really needed support when I felt this way, as I believed my thoughts.

This revelation that I want to stay here is confusing. It hasn’t miraculously made the intrusive thoughts or low moods go away. Therefore, when I feel this way, I really have to work through them, which is very mentally draining. It has also given me a new anxiety for the future, as I now see the importance of my degree, and my part time job. These are understandable , as these are ‘normal’ life stressors. Despite this, I do not have the skills to cope with this.

I’m doing amazing in the sense I want to stay alive or rarely get thoughts of self harm anymore. I don’t have sick days at my part time work, I hand my assignments for my degree on time and get good grades. I sleep and eat well. (coffee and cake is life) I do and have planned so many fun activities. Yet I’m not ‘better’. Everyday is still a struggle for me, despite the appearance that I have my shit together. This is hard, so very hard. Am I going to burn out? Is it just stress that will naturally go away?

A niggling in my mind is telling me I need professional help to healthily work through all of these emotions. I haven’t been open about my suicidal thoughts or self harm when previously in therapy. My biggest fear in life is being sectioned, so find being in the presence of psychiatric professionals very uneasy, and lack trust to share these thoughts. Should I work through these whilst I’m in the best place I’ve been?

I’m overwhelmed and confused but I’m genuinely okay.

Books

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; Book micro review

I recently decided to delve into the world of classic fiction. All the books I feel everyone should read in their life time. I can’t believe I had never read Of mice and men. Especially as lot’s of people seem to be introduced to it when in highschool.

Firstly, it is a very short read. Easily read in one sitting, although I read it over two days. It wasn’t a difficult read, but still displayed beautiful language.

I only seemed to connect to the two main characters, Lennie and and George. None of the other characters seemed to stay in my mind. There is only one female character in this book, who I don’t think was named. George and Lennie are friends in the era of the great depression, both of whom are migrant ranch workers. Lennie displays some type of mental disability, and George has always looked out for him. You can clearly see the protectiveness George has over Lennie, and the commitment that they share.

I’ll try to avoid spoilers. The ending of the book really took me by surprise. To summarise in one word; EMOTIONAL.

I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve read Of mice and men. I feel it’s a book all ages could read, pre teen aswell as adults. It’s a short and emotional read, a classic that everyone needs to read at least once. A solid 4.5/5 from me!

Mental Health

I haven’t self harmed in 5 years?

This post is a little difficult for me to write about. Not because I find it hard talking about this subject, but because I no longer resonate with this part of my life; I simply can’t remember ever being in the mindset to harm myself.

TW! As from the title, you can probably tell there is going to be a trigger warning on this post for self harm, especially in the form of cutting, as I shall be mentioning specifics.

A little background; I began self harming around the age of 14. It was a very private part of my life, not a single person knew about it. I thrived of of having this dirty little secret. (looking back, I didn’t see how bad this was at the time) I wore only long sleeves; never took my jumper of at school. I would cut my left arm, and both of my thighs. I would take the blades out of shaving razors and use those. I would never use old ones/ reuse them as I didn’t want to risk infection and thus someone finding out from treatment or stitches.

I would sometimes spray hairspray into the fresh wounds to feel the sharp burning sensation; make it sting more. (my reaction now is what the fuck) I have scars now, it’s been 5 years, and they have improved. They are now thinner, and white in color, no longer red/pink or stick out lots. As I have very pale skin, they aren’t too noticeable from afar. I never wear shorts/have my legs out, but I do wear short sleeve tops now.

I’m not sure if other people notice? I wear a watch on my left wrist, where a lot of the scars are, but they are faint in color now, so I’m unsure if people look/ take that much notice in other people to see them. But I’m not sure, no one has ever mentioned them. I do wear short sleeves at my part time job, I haven’t told them about my mental health, so not sure if they aspect the scars to be from self harm? I’m not sure if the average non mental health educated person would understand/know the signs of self harm?

What do I think of my scars? This differs for me, sometimes I despise them, knowing that they will never disappear from my body, and hate myself for putting that upon myself. I didn’t think at the time how self harming would affect my future. But most of the time I accept them, I don’t often think about them, and thus no longer affects my life.

I’m not exactly sure why I self harmed. Is this normal not to have a ‘reason’? I have blocked/can’t remember this period of my life. I remember feeling numb, so it could have been a way to ‘feel’? I have had intrusive thoughts for around a decade now. They often tell me to end my life (I have many previous posts on my suicidal ideation) so maybe at the time I had intrusive thoughts to harm myself? I’m really not sure, but I guess I will find out in the future? This is probably something I should figure out in therapy, but I don’t think I am in the right stage on my life to begin therapy.

I’ve spoken about how I self harmed, what my self harm scars look like now , how I feel about them and the reasons why I harmed myself. Is there any points I have missed out/anything you would like to know about? I thoroughly enjoy reading comments on my posts. I was going to apologize for the negative posts, but I guess it isn’t, as I haven’t harmed myself in 5 years, that’s and achievement!

Mental Health

The second voice in your head?

This is more a little rant than it is a useful/advice filled piece of writing. If you have read any of my previous posts on mental health, you would know I mainly struggle with suicidal ideation. I’m going to write this post in 2 halves. One half in the person who feels suicidal, and the other half the logical side of my brain. Just to clarify, this is just the opposing thoughts I think, I do not have a personality related mental illness .(such as DID, Borderline or schizophrenia). Here are a few scenarios that happen often:

  1. The most frequent intrusive thought I get is that I am worthless; no one needs me in their life, and I don’t deserve to be alive just for myself:
  • Logical side- I have a partner who loves me very much, we have been together over a quarter of my life which suggests he wants&needs me in his life. We have our own apartment together, I can call it home, and its perfect.
  • Suicidal side- I have no friends of my own. If I ended my life now, at least no friends would be upset/destroyed by my death. My partner has lot’s of friends and enjoys many activities, so he would be able to distract himself/ move on. He also wouldn’t have to ‘deal’ with my mental health=less stress for him.

2. Wanting to eat snacks and food I enjoy despite its nutritional value & the price it costs:

  • logical side- Food is more than just fuel, it should be enjoyed. It also has convenience to it, I can enjoy a take out after a busy day at work despite the cost, I enjoy the taste! (who doesn’t love pizza). Health food can be expensive, I am allowed to spend money of food that will provide me micro-nutrients as it will benefit both my body and mind, it’s okay that it costs a little more, the benefits out way that, it is not selfish to spend money on my health.
  • Suicidal side- Why would I find enjoyment in food if I want to end my life? I love coffee, but I don’t deserve to drink it as it costs money that I don’t deserve to spend on myself. You’re fat and disgusting if you let yourself eat food that isn’t a whole food, you need to starve to have some self control. I plan to end my life anyway, why not have a binge?

I haven’t wrote a post like this before, as I thought it would be annoying to read. I am constantly in two sites of mind, as I’m sure most people are too. It’s just a little hard that my only other option seems like suicide to me. I found this post useful, to write in a clear list the different thoughts, so may make more posts like this in the future. I feel it is beneficial to think positive opposing thoughts to the negative ones, even if you don’t yet believe them. I am well enough to ensure I am in a position that I will not end my life, so please do not be concerned!

Mental Health

How I am preventing a relapse

This is a new topic for me to write about as I have never been well enough to recognise when I could be slipping. It’s been around 6 months of feeling strong/mentally well. I still get intrusive thoughts, but can handle them/ they no longer affect my life to the extent they once did. They are also less frequent.

Recently, I have noticed they the intrusive thoughts seem to be more intense. My first step to preventing a relapse is recognising why this may be happening. This time it is simple; I have a quite large career change. I am a full time online student student studying for a bachelors degree, as well as working part time as a barista. I recently applied for a job ,not expecting to get anywhere as I had no experience in this field, but relates to my degree. I have been offered the job, 3 full days a week. It will be a lot harder work than being a barista, therefore I am worried it’ll be too much on top of university. I said yes to the offer, as I won’t know unless I try! It will also be a good basis for a future career.(Plus I wouldn’t be a poor student)

I know that stress is a huge factor for my intrusive thoughts occurring, which means I am currently experiences more intense thoughts, leading to bouts of suicidal ideation. Knowing the reason why I feel this way is helpful for me, as it feels more logical.(but thoughts of ending my life are still hard to process)

My second step is doing something special for myself. Which is what stage I am at now. I walked myself to my favourite coffee shop, got myself a cold brew and cake, and am having some me time. Scrolling through blogs on my laptop, a book to read. Just taking some time to relax, and avoid feelings of anxiety about the new job, and thinking I should be studying instead. I can easily become overwhelmed, and want to give up. So this is me taking a step back.

It shocks me how well I am handling everything. I am capable of so much more! It creates stress, but completing something you find hard is so rewarding! I am supposed to be at the hospital having bloods/tests done, I have never done this alone so I am worried! My partner is too busy with his masters, so I’m determined to attempt this challenge alone! If I don’t manage it today, I definitely will tomorrow.

Here’s to being optimistic whilst struggling!

Books

I’m in a reading slump? /how to get out of one

reading-slump2019 so far has been a busy one for me, exciting busy! (& a little stressful) This means I have had less time to focus on reading, which has made me lose a little motivation.

At the end of last year I donated all of my books! You read it right, a whole book shelf! I kept only a handful, my top 5 favourites and a coupe sentimental! Therefore, I haven’t had any physical copies of unread books lying around. I also haven’t been to the library yet, so have solely been relying on my kindle.

I downloaded all the books from my TBR onto my kindle, so when I do have the passion to read,I have access to books I truly want to read, and hopefully will enjoy! Tip NO.1! If you’re in a slump, start with books that you have always wanted to read, or even reread your favourites! Once you enjoy one book, the passion will come back!

On the contrary, tip NO.2 is the opposite. If you really can’t find the motivation to read books/genres you normally are drawn to, try something completely different! Maybe read a book that’s highly rated but not a genre you read! It’s worth a try!

Tip NO.3 is the most helpful to me, and that’s to remove the pressure! I aim to read X amount of books a month,year ect so when I stop reading, I stress that I won’t hit my targets. Or won’t have any book related blog posts to write. A bad habit of mine is just reading to finish a book. I now tell myself reading is only for pleasure, and if I don’t feel like reading, I won’t! This has made me enjoy reading much more, and I am no longer pressuring myself on numbers!

Reading slumps suck! Suck real bad! They’re only temporary. Reading passion will return! If anyone wants any recommendations or just want to chat about their favourite books (this can help overcome a slump too) Just pop me a message, as I love to ramble about books! Happy reading everyone!

Mental Health

I miss my therapist?

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

This is an odd thing for me to write about as I never thought I would struggle with this. My mental health is rather hidden in my life, not many people know about it. A few months ago I wrote about my experience with online CBT. I spoke to a licensed therapist 5 days a week, for nearly 30 weeks. I struggled to be open at first, but after a few weeks I began to see the benefits and really engaged.

I had CBT for 6 months with the same therapist. The first therapist I saw said my needs were too complex, which put me off seeking help. I did not work with him, but decided to give it one more chance. I then met the therapist I worked with, we connected well and I felt he was a good match for my needs. We intended to do CBT for 12 months together, and then take things from there. After 6 months, he opened his own private practice in the states, so would not be able to work with me anymore.

I was devastated, the 6 months of therapy had really began to help me. I was frightened to suddenly stop, and not progress further. I felt I was leaving therapy with only half of the tools I needed.

I had the option to carry on therapy with another therapist but felt like this would be a step back, especially as it would take me a few months to get comfortable.(Also therapy is very expensive, and as a young adult feel the extra cost wasn’t the right time) I decided to leave all therapy and try to use the skills I had started working through. It has been beneficial, but feel I need to work through a few more things with a professional. I am coping well, and feel now is not the time.

When I am struggling, I often think I would know how to cope with the situation if my therapist didn’t leave me. I yearn for the professional advise that was personalized to me. I balanced my irrational thoughts with the sane thoughts we spoke of, and when I experience intrusive thoughts I miss his rationale. I feel embarrassed that I miss my therapist, its only from a professional relationship. I guess its normal to miss that safety.

Which bring us go now! I am currently medicine and therapy free, and thriving! It’s been 4 months since ‘my therapist left me’ and I have grown so much! I am thankful of the skills I learnt in CBT, but am able to acknowledge there is still more work to be done in the future. I have no immediate plans, but am confident in keeping myself safe. I still experience intrusive thoughts of suicide but can mostly work through them with the help of my partner.

Mental Health

Balancing mental health with university and working

I’m not writing this as a ‘this is what you should do’, its more ‘this is what worked for me, I hope you can take a few tips or just enjoy reading. download

Firstly, I haven’t always been able to balance these 3 aspects of my life. I was very unwell while in high school, therefore did not balance education with mental illness very well. Right now, I feel I have a very good balance of education, working and battling mental health. For those who don’t know, I am a full time online student studying a bachelor’s degree, I also work 2 days a week as a barista.

My main advice, and what I rely heavily upon is organising! This is easy for me, as I love my plans to be organised well in advanced, lists lists lists! I start by writing a huge list of everything that needs to be done within a time phrase (usually I plan a month ahead, so write now I have completed January’s list). Once I have the list, I prioritise all things that have a deadline. I bring the deadline a week forward in my plans (I make myself believe they are genuinely due a week before) so if something does go wrong, I have extra time. Everything that doesn’t have a deadline, just gets put on a ‘to do’ list, this makes no pressure, but ensures I know what needs doing. I find lists powerful, and usually never have anything left on them at the end of the month, but if I did, I would just write it in the next months. Lists are most useful for my degree, as it ensures all the work needed for deadlines is complete. As I don’t plan each day I will complete things on my to do list, it makes working as a barista a lot less stressful for me, as I know I don’t have to rush anything when I get home from a shift. I don’t work set shifts, I just receive a rota every 4 weeks. Being a week ahead at my degree makes me flexible at work, this makes me available to work any days, and able to cover if anyone’s ill.

Secondly, I’ve also learnt to say no. I know working more than 2 days a week would be too overwhelming for me, so I have specified I can only do 2 shifts a week, as work knew this when I started,it has never been a problem. If extra shifts need doing, or covering, I weigh my options and only say yes when I feel like its a good idea. I’m quite a push over, so learning to say no is very hard for me. But it’s important,and I’ve been doing it more often!

As I only work 2 days, and am always at least a week ahead at university, I can ensure I take a mental heath day if needed. If I am really struggling, I have given myself the option to be take a day off, and just focus on myself. Being in control of these 3 large aspects of my life means I always get enough sleep. Not only because I make the time, but because I’m not overly stressed as I know things are in control!

This balance works well for me. I am a very productive person and I thrive of that! I am proud to have created this lifestyle for myself. I thought it was impossible to do a degree without stress, but it’s possible! I am happy where I am in life. I can see a future, and that’s very important for someone who struggles with suicidal ideation. Thank you for reading!

Books

My favourite books this year (2018)

  • Picture1When elephants fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer: I didn’t expect to fall so in love with this book. I became so emotionally attached to Swifty the elephant which is the main reason I enjoyed this book so far. I hadn’t read a book quite like this before, I found it interesting that the story also had a huge focus on mental illness, schizophrenia but the illness wasn’t actually present in any of the characters. I really recommend this book!
  • All the little lights by Jamie McGuire: I only read this book a few weeks ago, it was my favourite read of November. Again, the characters is what made me love this book so much. The ending also made it for me, really wasn’t what I was expecting, no spoilers here!
  • Letters to the lost & More than we can tell by Bridid Kemmerer: I loved this sequel, I found it so emotional! I really liked how the second book wasn’t about the same main characters as the first, but still had them in the story. Was a few potential trigger warnings, especially in the second book. If I had to choose, I would choose the second as my favourites! After reading this sequel I’m going to have a look into the author!
  • A list of cages by Robin Roe: I gave this book a very high rating in my monthly wrap up. I had this book on my TBR for a while and am glad I finally got around to it. I enjoyed the diverse of characters, Adam was my favourite. Again I would put a TW on this book as there was a lot of child abuse, and was particularly traumatising towards the end. I felt very strong emotions in this book, and definitely recommend everyone adds this to their TBR!
  • Made you up by Francesca Zappia: I put this book in my top books on mental illness as this is about a girl with schizophrenia. I was interested in the portrayal of complex mental illness, and felt I got a little insight. I really enjoyed this book, and connected with the main character, it felt like I was experiencing everything with her.
  • Words in deep blue by Cath Crowley: I’m putting this book on my yearly favourites purely for the bookstore this book was set in. I became so attached to this setting, one of my all-time favourite environments from a book and yes; tears were shed! This book has beautiful cover too. I recommend to anyone who enjoys YA.
  • When we collided by Emery Lord: I was really surprised by this book as I didn’t enjoy the authors other books. I adored both main characters, as well as the setting of the book. One of the main characters has bipolar disorder. I enjoyed how this book was still light hearted, despite the character being in a manic episode. I feel it was a good YA on mental illness.

 

Mental Health

The Paper Room (a poem I wrote about my brain)

This is hard for me to post,I didn’t plan on ever sharing. I am not a writer, I have never enjoyed writing but one night last year I couldn’t sleep(very rare for me) I wrote this ‘poem’. I’m not sure if I can call it a poem as I don’t know much about writing. I wrote about comparing my intrusive thoughts to pieces of paper, and how my brain processes them as if I were a recycling room. The perfectionist in me wants to this piece, but I’m not going to. Here is a first(a mostly likely the only time I’ll revisit this) draft:

All my happy thoughts and memories are stored neatly in categories in my brain, in a filing system. There is a little wicker basket placed on top of the filing system, full of all the stressful thoughts, that can’t be filed in the system. My brain doesn’t function stress, so the stressful basket of thoughts gets put into the recycling room, with all the other bad thoughts. So there isn’t a wicker basket at all.

Inside the recycling room, the metaphorical fan is left on, all the bad thoughts are flying around the room, in a mess. The days where my brain is stuck in the recycling room, it’s like my brain is full of negative thoughts that repeat repeat repeat as they fly around. There’s no organisation, just messy thoughts. You try and get in control of one thought of paper, when the next flies in front, before you’ve had time to hold onto the first. So you’re still left with racing negative thoughts all day. Being inside the recycling room nothing is achieved, just left down, hopeless and unproductive.

Days when I’m in the filing system are good, it’s in my comfort zone. My thoughts are structured and calm. This sounds perfect. Yet it means I can’t deal with any new things, and the stressful things never get done. Which leaves me being punished for not doing things, like eat and do homework.

I can’t find a way in-between these mind sets. My brain can’t process. I don’t know what to do in this paper room.

Mental Health

What I accomplished in 2018

2018 has a been a memorable year for me, purely from the progress in battling my mental health. It’s been a super hard,but rewarding year overall! I thought I would make this post to show(and prove to myself) how much I have achieved. I ‘tag’ anyone reading to do this for themselves, I’d love to see what other people feel they have accomplished this year. I think it is a positive form of reflection, especially for me and those who struggle with worthlessness. So is what I am proud:GettyImages-831648638-compressor

  • Starting a degree in Psychology: After taking a 2 year break from education to focus on my mental health, I have started a degree, which I am studying online. I’m a few months in and am really enjoying it. I aim to do a masters, maybe a Phd, so have at least another 3 years of studying left.
  • Results: I got 97% on an assignment for university, which really surprised me as I was worried I didn’t do well. I’ve been at least a week ahead of studying since the beginning, and aim to keep it this way.
  • Completed 3 months of CBT: I finally found the courage to start professionally working on my intrusive thoughts, and I stuck it out. Although it didn’t end well(my therapist left to open his own practise in another state so we had to finish) I still managed 3 months of daily therapy.
  • Became a barista: I left my last job because of mental health again. Recently I got a new part time job to do along side my degree. I’ve been there a month now, and I relatively enjoy it!
  • Combating intrusive thoughts: This is a huge thing for me,I have been consumed by my brain for so long, that it feels amazing to gain some control. I’m not completely better, but recovery is so worth it!
  • Read 100 books: I’ve already completed this with 4 weeks left of the year. 5th year in a row that I’ve read a hundred books a year!
  • Doctors: After struggling with my physical health for two years, I finally managed to force myself to go to the doctors office. (I only started this process a few days ago,it’s very overwhelming and has filled me with anxiety. Will do an update soon)
  • Balance: I have found a comfortable place in life, I feel productive, like I am now on the right track. I adore my living situation, am still with my partner of 5 years, getting a degree, earning on the side, all whilst enjoying things like travelling to other countries and reading.
  • Starting a blog: Lastly, I began this blog 3 months ago. I had wanted to have my own blog for a while but never got round to it. I’ve enjoyed having a platform to talk about books and mental health. Thank you to everyone who has supported me!
Books

My favourite book covers

I saw a tag similar to this, and thought I would do my own version. Here are 5 of my favourite book covers;

  1. 031The Book thief by Markus Zusak; This is a favourite book of mine, I took this photo 3 years ago. I particularly adore this edition as I bought it preloved, and it feels extra special. It’s one of few books that I actually held on to. It’s quite a thick book, but light weight. The cover beautifully portrays the story.
  2. I’ll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson; This picture I took a long time ago too. Yellow is my favourite colour, the main reason I love this cover. Also, the edging of the pages are coloured. I love this, and not many of my books have this feature. Despite the beautiful book cover, I wasn’t a fan of the book so I donated my copy.017
  3. First and then by Mills; I haven’t read this book yet, I have it on my TBR! I adore white and soft coloured books. The white back ground with the water coloured rain drops is beautiful in my eyes. I think this would look aesthetically pleasing on a bookshelf.
  4. A million little pieces by James Frey; I have both books by this author and they are both beautiful in person, the photo really doesn’t do it justice. The crisp white back ground and soft colours with a little bit of glimmer makes this book simply beautiful. The second book is the same but with a navy background. I can’t remember the story well, just that I enjoyed them, I may reread them soon.
  5. It’s kind of a funny story by Ned z; This is a little biased as this is one of my favourite books (&movie) but the cover has a beautiful design which fits the story well. As said above,yellow is my favourite colour! I really enjoy how the cover relates to what the main character draws in the story. My edition is also printed on very nice paper, I’m not sure how to describe it.

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Mental Health

Giving blood and self harm?

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of self harm, suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

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I’m planning to give blood for the first time in a couple of weeks, and I’m anxious. Not because of needles, or going to a new place, but if they will let me. I’ve googled, never a good idea, and there were lots of comment, but none that I found particularly helpful. I haven’t self-harmed in 4 years now, so do not have any fresh wounds or risk of infection. Therefore, I assume that I will be able to donate? I still have visible scars on my arms, so I can’t hide them from the people who take the blood. I don’t speak about my past struggle, so I’m worried the questions the nurses may ask.

I haven’t been able to give blood until the age of 20, as I’m very short and you have to have a certain liters of blood ect. I hope they don’t weigh me at the clinic. I sound very negative around a situation I can easily avoid, but I really would like to give blood. I’ve always wanted to, but haven’t been able to because of my weight, now I am in my twenties weight/height is no longer a risk. I want to be able to walk in the clinic, donate, and return again every 3 months. Let’s hope its that hassle free. Am I being realistic? Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated!

I will do an update post next month, once the appointment has been. Thank you for reading. Wish me luck!

Books · Mental Health

Top YA books about Mental Health

YA is my favourite genre of books, so I have read A LOT! These are some of my favourites that focus on mental health, which I feel is important to read about. I’ve managed pick books to include topics of: Bipolar disorder, Depression, Anorexia, OCD, Agoraphobia and suicide. I would appreciate suggestions of books about mental illness, or comment your favourite below.

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When we collided by Emery Lord: 

I went into this book not knowing what it was about. A teenage girl moves away once she finds out she has Bipolar Disorder. It’s a love story too, she meets a boy. It was easy to read, but still very enjoyable. I haven’t read many books specifically on Bipolar, but this one is light hearted, despite portraying a manic episode.

It’s kind of a funny story by Ned Vizzini:

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I recently wrote a review on this book, so I suggest just reading that. It follows the story of a teenage boy who want’s to kill himself. He checks himself into a psychiatric ward, where he stabilises his depression. I highly recommend this book!

My heart and other black holes by Jasmine Warga:

This has to be one of my favourite YA’s. It is about two teenagers who both want to end their life, but lack the courage. They are completely different people but meet on a website called Suicide Partners; where you plan to commit suicide but have a partner to

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help you both. The ending surprised me. It made my heart ache at times, but would recommend for those who aren’t triggered by constant talk of suicide.

Winter girls by Laurie Halse Anderson:

I first read this book in my early teens, when I too was struggling with eating. I was not in the mindset to read this book, therefore I’d avoid this if you’re still struggling with you ED, as it has many triggers. I can’t remember it too well, but know it followed the story of a girl with anorexia.

 Turtles all the way down by John Green:

I recently read this book, and thoroughly enjoyed, I recommend to everyone, even if you’re not particularly wanting to read mental health related content. I was surprised by this book, I felt it gave a more realistic version of OCD compared to other stereotypical stories I’ve read. It had a weird side story, that I didn’t feel necessary, but I enjoyed nether the less.

Under rose tainted skies by Louise Gornall:

To start with, the cover is beautiful. This book wasn’t exactly unique, I’ve read similar. Despite this,I really enjoyed. It is about a girl with agoraphobia, and stays within her house. I didn’t relate, but still felt the anxiety when she did. It’s a short read, and I feel important to understanding severe agoraphobia.

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Mental Health

I forgot I had scars?

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of self harm, suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

Firstly, I would like to ensure everyone that I am not ashamed of my scars! I simply just don’t associate them with my current self. I’m so disconnected from self harming that I often forget that I have scars anymore, until I look down on my wrists and remember. It’s an odd feeling.

I sometimes wish they would disappear, I don’t dislike them, I just don’t want them there anymore. My scars have finally faded to white. I sometimes worry that they could affect my future career though, does it make me look less professional? I’m not sure, I haven’t researched, or know the opinions of others. It doesn’t affect my opinion of others at all, but I’m not sure if others share the same mindset? (opinions appreciated in the comments)

I have never known anyone else to have self harmed, I didn’t know it was really a thing until I searched it on social media as a teen. I’ve never seen others scars in real life, other than one time I saw visible scars on a stranger who walked past me in the street. I felt alone.

I no longer feel the need to cover my arms with long sleeves, which is a big step from the past. I even wear my watch visibly everyday! I haven’t touched a blade to my skin in over 4 years now, that’s a long time. I’m happy with the fading of my scars, but I don’t think they’ll ever fade completely.

I never thought it possible to be in a place where I not only don’t want to harm myself, but forget I even did. I am proud of myself, I am not ashamed to express that. I never speak of self harm in real life, but if anyone questions my scars, I’d be happy to answer, I won’t hide anymore. 

Thank you to anyone who read! If you suffer with self harm, I hope one day you can be in a position like me(never thought I would say anything like this..) I am here if anyone needs support.

Mental Health

I finally shredded my suicide letters

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of self harm, suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

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This is a really hard post to write, as it always brings me to tears when I think about it. I wrote my suicide letters. Yes plural, I wrote individual letters to each person in my life, all inspirational and targeted uniquely to them, I didn’t want anyone to feel guilt. I felt everyone deserved their own.

Even when the date passed that I had planned to end my life, I didn’t get rid of the letters, just in case I would spontaneously decide I would commit suicide again.

I finally destroyed the letters recently, as I am well enough to know suicide is not to be my way out, and hopefully never will be. It upsets me to think about as I was so close to saying goodbye to my family and those close to me, I couldn’t bear to hurt them in that way now, I didn’t see this is at the time, I believed they would be better off without me. It makes me feel guilty that I could have done this to them.

I still struggle with suicidal ideation, but not to the extent of intention. If you have ever survived an attempt, or even just an intrusive thought, you are strong, a survivor. Please seek help if you are struggling. I am here for ANYONE, simply pop me a message. Thank you to anyone reading. Stay strong.

I just realized I am writing this on suicide awareness day.

Mental Health

I’ll never self harm again?

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of self harm, suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

This post is a little insight to my personal self harm story. I haven’t self harmed in 4 years now, that’s a long time! Self harm to me was cutting my wrists and thighs, mostly with blades. It was a very private thing for me, no one knew, nor ever found out, until years later when they saw the fainted scars, which I dismissed as being a part ‘teenage hormones’, which the older generation happily accept. 

I no longer wear long sleeves, I still don’t ever have my legs out, but I think that’s just personal preference instead of not wanting my scars on show. My scars have faded from red to white, this makes them show more in summer. They are not so noticeable that everyone eyes are drawn to them, but are visible if you look. No one ever comments on them(so grateful) other than one experience at a nail salon.

The ‘reason’ I stopped self harming was by being black mailed by my partner, that sounds bad, but it’s not, I am very grateful. He said if I ever cut again, he’ll cut too, the same amount of times. (he has never self harmed, not suffers with any mental illness). I couldn’t bear him ever to do that to himself, so I forced myself to stop. It wasn’t easy, when I had the intense urge, I spoke it out with him and over time I guess it just got easier?

I am in a place now where I no longer have the intent to harm myself, nor ever see myself doing so. I never thought it possible to never even think out cutting, but that is my reality now, one I am very proud of. 

I never sought medical help, physically for the cuts, or mentally. I did this purely on my own, well with my boyfriends help. If you’re still struggling, please stay safe, get help if you feel you need it. I’m here for anyone who needs support. This was difficult to share, I’m glad I did. Thank you for reading!

 

 

Mental Health

I do CBT online?

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of self harm, suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

 

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A few people on my last blog post said they would like a separate post on my CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) experience. Yeah, that’s right, I do it online, through betterhelp.com. I have my own counsellor, whom I talk to daily through message, and once a week phone call. I’m still new to this service, I started about a month ago. This service isn’t free, although you can get it at a discounted price if you don’t have the funds, and is much cheaper than in person weekly therapy. To me this in an investment, something that will benefit my future, so I justify this spending,I paid for a 6 month subscription, and will decide at the time if i’ll renew. I had a week trial before I paid, you can message me if you want a code to be able to do this too.

I’ve always found it incredibly hard to talk, so being able to do it from the comfort of my home makes it that bit easier. My counsellor and I have started with CBT, which I am optimistic about, as I struggle with negative intrusive thoughts. It’s still very early stages, I shall update my experience in a few months.

After my negative experience at my doctors, I felt hopeful that there was actually another option out there. If I find it difficult answering a question or am unable to see the positives, my counsellor will send me worksheets to complete, which is helpful, It makes me feel better knowing there are multiple techniques out there. I have already learnt a lot about myself that I didn’t quite know before, I am more aware. My ‘recovery’ journey is only just beginning, I am more hopeful than before.

If anyone would like a more personal post, instead of an overview, I could do so. Any questions or blog post ideas you’d like me to create are very welcome! I hope this was helpful! If you are thinking of joining betterhelp, I’m here if you have any questions. Thank you for reading!

Books

The Ultimate Book Tag

downloadI recently saw this tag on ‘The Bookish Unicorn’, thank you for the inspiration, and everyone reading; go and check her blog out! I tag anyone currently reading, if you do decide to join in, tag me! Enjoy!

1.Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Not at all, I enjoy reading on long car journeys, although since moving out, I rarely go in cars.

2.Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you?

Cathy glass, I feel her perspective is very unique.

3.Harry Potter series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer. 

Don’t kill me! I dislike both, so can’t choose haha…

4.Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books…)?

Not really sure what a book bag is.. but I always carry a book in my handbag, just in case!

5.Do you smell your books?

Don’t we all?

6.Books with or without little illustrations?

Most books I read don’t usually have illustrations, but I like when they do.

7.What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

I don’t like being negative, but Perks of being the wallflower.

8.Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

I do! In primary school we had to do a presentation of our favourite book, I chose Wheres Wally? because it ‘had no words’. I was a secret reader, so had to keep my cool as a popular 9 year old haha. Still makes me laugh.

9.What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

It’s currently Catcher in the Rye.

10.What is the thickest book on your shelf?

The ghosts of heaven.

11.Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author? 

Nope, I love reading too much to write myself.

12.When did you get into reading?

I’ve always been into reading, but started obsessively at around 12.

13. What is your favourite classic book?

Does Catcher in the Rye count?

14. In school what was your best subject?

I enjoyed chemistry most, but got the highest grades in Geography.

15.If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated…what would you do?

I’d feel guilty! I’d pass it on to a friend, or donate.

16.What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?

I couldn’t say, I’ve never been into this genre of books.

17.What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?

I don’t film.

18.What is your favourite word?

raspberry.

19.Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

Just a nerd!

20.Vampires or Fairies? Why?

Fairies, vampires are scary.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

22.Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

These last few questions I’ve never been ‘into’ these genres, so can’t really form an opinion.

24.Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Forbidden love

25.AND FINALLY: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

I like both!

Well done if you made it this far! Thank you for reading! I really enjoyed answering the questions.

 

 

Mental Health

Fear of failure

download.jpg1Failure to me doesn’t necessarily mean failing, if I don’t achieve the best it still feels like a fail in my mind. If I put all my effort into a project and the outcome was a fail, that would just prove how stupid I am right?

Education and the fear of failing:

In secondary school I didn’t revise for any of my important exams, I believed it was better to fail alone, than to try hard and still fail. I’m not sure who I was impressing as I’m sure my family and friends were supportive as long as I was happy. I’d never failed anything before, I’ve always been quite academic, so I’m very unsure where this fear came from, I had no pressure to succeed other than myself. Yet the fear of failure was so overwhelming I let it take over.

What’s ‘annoying’ is I stilled passed all 21 exams I took, mostly A’s, nothing less than a B. Therefore this should prove to me I’m not as stupid as I think myself. Imagine how well I could have done if I revised even a little.

How I am now:

To this day I still hold on tight to this fear, and let it affect me. I am now studying at degree level and am overwhelmed with lack of faith that I constantly believe my assignment and grades will come back low, not that they have. I study from home, so mostly keep my education to myself, to ensure no expectations from others.

It affects my education most, but also feeds into my daily life sometimes. I fear playing sports at my gym or with my partners friends as I use to play lots when I was younger, so feel they have a high expectation of me. Which is ridiculous even in my mind as we only play for fun, and doesn’t really matter at all if I don’t play the best, yet it still stops me from participating.

I have no logic to why I am so afraid of failing. Maybe a severe lack of self esteem and faith in myself? I’m really not sure, but I wish I could suddenly overcome it. If anyone reading has a similar fear, or has any advise, please share below!

Thank you for reading, I hope you have faith in yourself!

 

Mental Health

How I manage anxiety at work

If you’ve been following my journey for a while you’ll be aware that I suffer with anxiety. It ranges from severe, to periods where it’s near non existence. I don’t have particular triggers, it just seems to fluctuate between good and bad. I’m studying for a degree currently, so only work part time. Here is a few tips that help me when I feel anxious/panicked in the work place.

  1. Distractions: This is the best way for me to prevent having an anxiety attack. I need to be distracted from my thoughts, otherwise I’ll go into overdrive. It’s naturally easy when my work place is busy, it’s simply too much rush to give any attention to the symptoms I start experiencing. If it isn’t busy, I distract myself by finding a task to complete that takes my focus.
  2. Recognising my physical symptoms: I sometimes get anxiety attacks that are more physical than mental. I can be mentally calm, but still get deliberating symptoms. When this happens I avoid certain things during my work hours, such not drinking caffeine and wearing comfortable clothes.
  3. Ice: It may seem odd but when I am very anxious I like putting an ice cube on my left wrist. It brings me to my senses, and really helps with dissociation that sometimes occurs with anxiety.
  4. Being open: This one is really hard for me, but one I have started using. I let my manager know, and they’re always supportive. I can go outside or sit down for a couple minutes.
  5. Lavender roll on: I think this is a placebo for me. But I often roll lavender essential oil on my pressure points as it’s known for calming. ( added benefit as perfume)
  6. Reassurance: It’s okay to feel anxious. I have to constantly tell myself that it’s okay to feel this way, and my colleagues don’t think I’m terrible at my job because of this. I’m so grateful I’ve got a positive work environment and that I’m well enough to cope with a job!

These are just a few little things that I do to help myself feel less anxious whilst at work. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them down below!

Creative segment

Questions from my readers?? Leave in comments.

I often get questions on my posts and emails so thought I would compile them altogether and do a ‘Q&A’ style blog post. (Probably put out next week)

Leave your question in the comments and you’ll get a shout-out when I put the post out. (Please state if you don’t want this,and I’ll put the comment as anonymous)

Questions can include anything!! Whether they are about me personally/mental health,book related,random or advice! I’m open to literally anything! (Helps that my blog is anonymous hehe)

I’ll be deleting this post after a little while, and keeping note of the questions. You can also email if you prefer.

Mental Health

Current update on my mental health

I’ve had a little bit of a hiatus and this is mainly because I’m in the middle of a blip. I thought I was doing horrendous but as pointed out from my partner I’m managing well. Despite my current brain, I’ve somehow kept going. I’m still at work, I’m still meeting my degree deadlines. This in itself is showing me how far I’ve come.

Thoughts to self harm have returned. I know I’ll stay safe, it’s just a matter of rationalising and waiting for them to pass. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to, I’m just aware I shouldn’t. It’s mentally exhausting trying to get through them. I haven’t cut myself in over 5 years, and the majority of that time the thought to harm myself hasn’t been present, so it’s a little hard that they’ve returned after so long.

Worthlessness is playing a huge part in my life currently. I’m finding it difficult to see why I should carry on doing all the things I am. I don’t want to engage with anyone as I don’t want to be a burden. I want to go without it affecting anyone. I rationally know this isn’t possible. I don’t even want to leave. I love my partner so much that it’s worth staying alive just to spend time together. I don’t want to burden him. I feel incredibly guilty and worthless that he has to deal with me. He deserves the world.

I feel guilty about the space I’m taking up. I don’t know what I currently should do. I know this feeling will pass (I hope) it’s just a matter of getting through. I’m currently home alone for a few days, so this will be testing. I’m annoyed that I’m experiencing this now. I have so much to do, so much to live for. I want to be alive.

I’m okay. I will get through. Just struggling.

Books

TEN SHORT STORIES by Roald Dahl; Book review

I’m writing this review on a train journey,instantly after finishing the stories, of which I flew through. Roald Dahl is my favourite childrens authtor, and upon finding out he also wrote adult books, I was very excited to delve into them.

I have read very few short stories, so went into this book open minded. Some of the stories were 10 pages long,others only 3. I enjoyed how you could read an entire story in just a few minutes. The aspect I enjoyed most about these short stories in the particular were the endings, often witty and clever. Stories you want to share with others mid conversation.

There is an underlying darkness to ending of each story, which really adds another element, and often takes you by surprise. My favorite of the stories was ‘Parson’s pleasure’. The stories are too short to give you any details without spoilers..

Roald Dahl is an author I adore, and this collection of stories just emphasizes that. I love the language used, the attention to detail , the way the stories unfold. I was hesitate to read some of his books not targeted for children and I didn’t want my opinion tarnished. (not that it could) This book bought me so much joy.

I definitely recommend this book to all ages and genre lovers. I found this book for 30 cent in thrift store! I adore my copy, a vintage style and the pages are tinted with age. Oh so beautiful! If you have read my post on my book minimalism, you will understand how significent it is for me to keep this book on my shelf.

Definitely a 10/10 read!

Mental Health

Is my journey over?

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

I’m writing this blog post as I’m currently in the middle of experiencing suicidal ideation. I’m having intrusive thoughts of suicide. I don’t feel I can control them. It’s distorting my rationale. I’m not at risk to myself,I know I do not want to go.

It’s difficult hearing your brain tell you to leave. It’s difficult believing your true self that this isn’t what you want. Whom do I trust?

I’m safe.

Knowing I don’t want to die doesn’t reassure me. What if my brain takes over completely? I’m not ready to say goodbye.

I’ve felt this way many a times before. Only a few weeks ago I was in a similar situation yet here I am,having had a good month.

It’s confusing being happy and yet also suicidal.

Reassuring myself that this feeling is temporary. (Not because my life will end,but because the thoughts will calm). Such seriousness should not be met with my sarcasm.

I’ve got through 100% of my suicidal thoughts, statistical I’m great.

Tomorrow will be a new day, and I’ll no longer remember the intensity I am feeling right now.

I’ll be ok.