Saturday, 24 June 2017

Mental Health Diagnosis: One Year On

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A year ago today I was formally diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, although I knew that I was suffering from the illness long before that. It was also the day that Britain found out they were leaving the E.U so a pretty awful day for most of us in the U.K. actually? I remember the day vividly. I had an 8:30 am appointment which is just as well really because I had a three-week wait before then and it was the longest three weeks of my life.

I got up, found out we were leaving the EU and then made my way over to the doctors. I was a nervous wreck, but I knew I couldn't carry on the way I was. I needed help. And help I got. A prescription of 25mg of fluoxetine was put in my hands, and I was told to make an appointment with a counsellor at the surgery. 15 minutes later I was on my way home, partly relieved that he didn't dismiss my condition but also scared. 

I knew I couldn't keep it a secret from you guys. So I sat down and wrote a blog post about my experience. It's incredibly raw and honest. You can read that blog post here. I can't remember the rest of that day to be honest. It's all a bit of a blur. I remember being frightened that I was going to be taken away and locked up for admitting I had something wrong with my mental health. Of course, that wasn't the case. 

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

10 Problems Only People Who Dye Their Hair Bright Colours Will Understand

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It's been a while since I wrote about anything other than mental health. I know that's what I'm kind of known for now, but I had this post idea come to my mind one day, probs when I was in the shower, and I was like yes, this is quality content, I need to whack out this post. 

Mental health awareness is so important don't get me wrong, but I'm not just a noisy, angry mental health campaigner all the time, I do have other interests. Dying my hair is one of them. Don't threat I'm not going back to my cringey beauty blogging days #RIPthriftyvintagefashion but ya know I thought it's good to break up the seriousness of my blog from time to time with a bit of light hearted fun.

I've been dying my hair for around four years now. I've been golden blonde, dark brown, black, auburn, bleached blonde, an amalgamation of those whose colours in one. I have also dip dyed my hair green and purple. It's safe to say I have my fair share of hair dying experience, however, it wasn't till I decided I wanted to experiment with unnatural colours that I unveiled a whole can of worms which come with dying your bright hair colours, I naively had no idea about. 

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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Fashion To Die For

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On the 24th April 2013, 1,129 people died, and 2,500 were injured when a building called Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh. This eight-floor building collapsed despite numerous safety concerns about appearing cracks in the walls from the workers. Their worries were ignored, and they were sent back into the building to carry on working.

The top three floors were added without permission. This extra pressure upon the already unstable foundations contributed to collapse during the morning rush hour. 5,000 people mainly women were employed in this factory. These women were not just women they were wife's, daughters and mothers. They slaved away for an unprecedented amount of hours, in unsafe working conditions for minimum pay just so they could make your clothes and feed their families. The clothes you buy from the likes of Primark, Matalan and Mango. 

On a tragic day in 2013, hundreds of kids were made orphans. Hundreds of women suffered life-changing injuries, and all the workers lost their job. Their only source of income that was paying for the food they give their children. That £5 Primark dress doesn't sound so appealing now does it? 

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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

My Favourite Films Which Accurately Represent Mental Illness

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I love watching films. It's definitely one of my few methods of 'self-care' I use to make myself feel better when I'm having a rubbish day. I like all genres of film really. I love horror and thrillers to distract me and give me that artificial anxiety, if you like, which I like because it's controlled compared to real anxiety I experience in panic attacks, which I have little control over. I love comedy's and Disney films to make me laugh, and I also love films about mental illness. 

When done right, films about mental illness can be fantastic. Mental health is such an important topic, which we all need to be talking about. However, sometimes you need to implement it within mass media to get people's attention. I mentioned this in my post all about TV and mental health, which you can read here. It's the same with film. To get people's attention and get meaningful conversations started you need to target what people know already. Far fewer people will watch a documentary about mental health than the number of individuals who will see a blockbuster movie, with a lead actor which focuses on mental health in some kind as a theme throughout.

There are a lot of films out there which really don't do mental health justice. They inaccurately display mental illness in some way which subsequently adds to the stigma. However, there are some films which do an excellent job. These films need more recognition and acknowledgement, which is why I'm sharing three of my favourites with you today. I hope you enjoy.

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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

10 Things You Will Understand If You Struggle With a Mental Illness

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One in four people struggles with their mental health, in any given year. That statistic is so well known now it has almost lost its meaning. Sometimes you will never know what it is truly like to struggle with a mental illness until you have been through it yourself or watched a loved one go through it. The media, mental health charities and bloggers can throw stats at you left, right and centre all day long about how many people struggle with a mental illness, etc. but I truly believe you will only understand what it's really like to suffer from a mental illness, once you are on the inside. 

I find comfort in talking to people who also struggle with their mental health or a mental illness, whether it is OCD or not. There is something magical and unifying about listening and sharing your problems with people who really understand because they have been through what you have been through. Even if it's a completely different mental health issue to what you struggle with, there are some very common problems and features, that nearly everyone will experience when they struggle with their mental health.

This leads me on nicely, to today's post. I often read Buzzfeed when I'm bored, I mean who doesn't? In particular, I love reading the articles or watching the videos about 'things you will understand if...' these are often quite trivial things. For example, things you will understand if you live in the south or things only girls understand, etc. I think the same can be applied to people with mental illness. Which is why I came up with this list of 10 things I know I have experienced through being mentally ill and I'm pretty sure others would have too. 

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Monday, 29 May 2017

Blogging: Three Years On

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Just a little side note before I get started. This post isn't strictly about mental health although I am going to go through the highs and the lows of my blogging journey so far which includes mental health.

I've been blogging three years! Three years can you believe that? Like if my blog were a child then it would be walking, talking and probably being a right pain in the bum by now. My blog has come on leaps and bounds over the last three years, more so in the last six months. There have been highs and lows. There's been changes in direction and a whole lot of content written.

It's so strange to think that such a large fragment of my life is documented online, for everyone to see and read? Isn't that kind of scary? I don't know about you, but that freaks me out. On this day, three years ago I decided to start a blog, and I'm still doing it three years later. I'm amazed at myself how I've kept going for so long, the time as flown by. I thought we would pause time today ( metaphorically speaking) and take a trip down good old memory lane to reflect on my blogging journey so far.

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mental Illness And Labels: Helpful Or a Hindrance?

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This isn't something I've really given much thought of before. That was until we studied, Rosenhan's study; on being sane in insane places (1973), in my psychology class. Rosenhan conducted two experiments. In the first one, he gave confederates, acting as pseudopatients the task of getting into a psychiatric hospital. They complained of hearing voices. In particular, hearing three words ' Hallow' 'empty' 'Thud', they reported no other symptoms. All eight of the patients were given the diagnosis of schizophrenia and admitted to hospital although this symptom alone is not enough for someone to be diagnosed with schizophrenia

Once the patients were in the hospital, they started to act as normal. They said they were fine and reported no symptoms. Yet on average, the number of days someone stayed was 19, with the most being 52 and the least being seven. While in the hospitals they took detailed notes about what they were observing and their experiences. Firstly in secret, but once they realised no one was fused, they did it in public. However, the nurses in the hospital saw this behaviour as a symptom of their disorder calling it excessive writing. They also believed queuing for lunch was unusual and another symptom of their disorder.

In the second experiment, Rosenhan said he was going to send pseudopatients to the hospitals, and they should look out for them. 193 were reported as fake by at least one member of staff. Yet, Rosenhan sent no pseudopatients. In experiment one they made a type one error; diagnosing healthy people as sick and in study two a type two error; diagnosing ill people as healthy. You may be wondering what on earth has this got to do with mental illness and labels, but let me explain.

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Saturday, 27 May 2017

My Mental Health Goals

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I'm not a very goal oriented person usually. I'm more of an ' I'll just do my best, and that's all I can do' kind of person. Which if you ask me, there is nothing wrong with that at all. Try telling my teachers that though! Ha! Most assume that because I'm predicted an A that's what I'll get at the end of the two years of A levels. Not taking into consideration any personal or emotional factors which may hinder my success.

What is success anyway? Like seriously. Am I only worth the letters on a piece of paper? Is my value just a percentage or success rate? I'm a figure at the end of the day, to my college. The more people who go to top universities, the better the college looks. That's all they care about at the end of the day. At college, they consistently set us targets and goals to achieve. Most of which I ignore and forget about.

I will always do the best I can on the day. That means sometimes I will underachieve and sometimes I will overachieve. That's just how it is, but I will always do my best. Nothing becomes before my mental health and wellbeing. Although I do not like educational goals, I do think it's important to set goals relating to your mental health. *Segway into the point of this post* Which is why I thought I would share with you, a little update on how I'm doing with my mental health and what I'm hoping to achieve in the future.

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Friday, 26 May 2017

What I Wish My Friends Knew About My Struggle With Mental Illness

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 For all those lessons I've walked out of. For all those days where I've blanked you and for all those where I have been so hyper I've been bouncing off the walls. I'm sorry. For the times you saw me cry my eyes out over nothing or the times I've been too anxious, too out of touch with reality, to understand what's going on around me. I'm sorry. 

I'm not a reliable or dependent friend. As Forest Gump once said; life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. I guess I'm that box of chocolates. You don't know if first thing on Monday morning, I'm going to be happy and cheery or coming in crying from a panic attack. You don't know if by Wednesday I will talk to you or if I'll blank you yet again. 

Most people have mastered the art of hiding and covering up emotions in public places. If they are feeling sad or anxious, they will push it under the carpet until they are home and cry there. But not me. When you struggle with your mental health, there comes a time where you get sick of putting on a play every day to fit in with everyone else because that's what you think you have to do. Because that's what others do.

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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Why It Is Okay To Put Your Mental Health First, Over University

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University! The thing that is at the centre of my nightmares most evenings! Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly, but seriously university scares the hell out of me! Even without my OCD, I don't think uni is for me. Like seriously, uni and I just won't mix! Alcohol, sharing things with other people, loud music, late nights, vomit- the list could go on! Let's be Frank here; it's not going to be for me!

I know that university isn't right for me now, and I still have a year before I go. Unfortunately, some people won't realise that university might not be for them until they are actually in the middle of it. Whether that be because of stress, homesickness or the onset of a mental illness. Mental illness can hit anyone at any point in your life. Including while you are at university. Mental illnesses are very likely to occur while you are university due to the large amounts of things happening all at once and it just being a huge period of transition for you. 

Someone who knows, all too well what is like to struggle with a mental illness at University is Sophie. I am so proud of Sophie for sharing her story, as I am sure SO many of you will be able to relate to her experience. University isn't for everyone. Sometimes it is but your mental health gets in the way, and your studies need to be put on hold. That's totally okay! You should not feel guilty for putting your mental health or physical health first above a degree! I hope you enjoy reading Sophie's experience as part of mental health awareness month. 

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

30 Things I Have Learnt From Struggling With My Mental Health

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Struggling with your mental health or being diagnosed with any mental illness is often perceived as being a very negative thing. Which yes, I completely can understand why. I wouldn't wish any mental illness upon my worst enemy. OCD, depression and anxiety from my experience are hell. OCD, in particular, has ruined and ruled my life. It's stopped me doing the things I loved and left me in a constant state of heightened anxiety.

However, mental illness is not a choice. Contrary to what some people think. Therefore, because I didn't decide to have a mental illness one day, I have to accept and deal with the fact that I'm part of the one in four club, the best that I can. Struggling with any mental illness is never easy. Understatement of the year there. 

But on a serious note, it's a huge learning curve for anyone. I've developed a lot as a person because of what I've been through. I've learnt a lot, through the years of struggling with my mental health. Both positives and negatives. However, I firmly believe that in every negative, a positive can be found. Without going through the debilitating lows, I wouldn't be passionate as I am today about ending the stigma around mental health and supporting those who also struggle daily with their own battles. That's got to be a positive right? 

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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

EMDR Therapy | What Is It And How It Benefited My Mental Health

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If someone told me that I would be paying £60 to watch a butterfly go back and forth on a screen for an hour a half every week, I would think you are joking but in reality that is actually what I do. EMDR is a type of therapy used for the treatment of a range of mental illnesses including PTSD, phobias and OCD. I have used EMDR therapy for my OCD since the start of the year, and I have found it particularly successful.

So what actually is EMDR? EMDR stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. Which I know sounds dead confusing and complicated but let me break it down a bit. The idea of EMDR is to change the way the brain thinks by reprocessing old memories which are particularly stressful or distressing. By working through them with a trained professional, EMDR helps you change the way you interpret the memory with the aim of making in just an ordinary memory and not one that scares you.

This is why EMDR is particularly useful for people with PTSD or who've developed phobias after particularly stressful events in their life's as it allows you to rewrite them if you like and understand how and why they've developed. By changing the unconscious mind, you can change the way the conscious mind understands these memories. I've not heard many people talk about EMDR in the mental health blogging community which is why I thought I would share my experiences today.

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Why We All Have Beautiful Minds

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I was in two minds about writing this post, and I definitely had no idea what I should call it. If you didn't know, I don't just blog about mental health, I also run my own business; Beautiful Minds. Beautiful Minds is a shop selling mental health awareness products which include stickers, prints and in the very near future a magazine, written by fellow mental health bloggers and individuals who struggle with some form of mental illness. 

The aim of this business is to spread awareness, support and reduce the stigma around mental health. After experiencing the mental health stigma myself and struggling with OCD, depression and anxiety for quite a few years without getting any help, I decided that this isn't right. Mental health is just as important as physical health, yet a stigma around mental health exists but not physical health? I don't think I will ever be able to understand this. 

We all have beautiful Minds. 

Even those with mental illnesses. 

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

How I Cope With Bad Mental Health Days

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Bad mental health days suck. There is no denying that. No one wants to feel rubbish all day, I know I definitely don't. We all have good days, and we all have bad days, that is just part of being human. But when you struggle with mental health problems your bad days can seem a million times worse. 

These days can be really hard. They have you feeling like you want to keep up and live in a hole forever. I know this is how they make me feel most of the time. However, you can get through them. You just have to find the right strategies to cope and help you push through the hardest and darkest of times.

To deal with these bad days, it's paramount that you find a few ways which you know help boost your mood and get you out of this negative state of mind. Obviously, they are not always going to work. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes it can be really horrible. On those days no amount of funny TV or chocolate will make a difference. However, I think it's always worth having a few strategies up your sleeve if you need them. To help you find what works for you, I thought I would share with you what I do on a bad mental health day. I hope you find this useful. 

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

My Relationship With Social Media And My Mental Health

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I want to say I've grown up with the internet but technically I haven't. When I was younger, the internet wasn't really a thing. I grew up in a time where the only device connected to the internet was a huge computer in the office that you played computer games on. If you so dared as to go on to the internet you were faced with the screeching racket that was dial up. The actual pain was unbearable.

As I got older, technology progressed, so did the internet and along came social media. I was a little bit too young for MySpace or Bebo but I remember vividly creating my Facebook and Twitter accounts for the first time. Little did I know that they would take up such a massive part of my life all these years later. Then came Instagram, Snapchat and all the others who made a considerable effort but failed.

All these years later, social media is part of my job, I guess. If I want to get my voice heard in this fast paced industry, I have to tweet, post and share my life online. I have to promote my latest articles and posts. Share what I'm up to on Instagram stories and make sure I tweet and interact with everyone regularly. If I don't, I'll lose my place in this ever expanding community.

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Friday, 19 May 2017

Aroma-what therapy? | Natural Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

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I'm not gonna lie to ya, I don't have a comprehensive understanding of aromatherapy. It's not that I'm against the idea of using natural methods to help improve mental health or that I'm sceptical if they actually work or not. It's just something which I don't really hear a lot about in the blogging community or from medical practitioners. 

I guess making sure that you maintain a balanced diet, regularly exercise, get a sufficient amount of sleep and have a good work/ life balance is using 'natural ways' to help your mental health. However, what about Products? I don't know about you, but I've never really thought about using products made out of natural ingredients to help my mental health. That was until Tisserand contacted me.

So what exactly is Aromatherapy? Google defines it as " the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing and cosmetic purposes." If that definition leaves you as clueless as it did myself when I first read it, let's have a read of what the experts at Tisserand say. Tisserand ensures that all their products are "straight from nature our essential oils are extracted from flowers, leaves, bark, woods and fruit and are always 100% pure and fresh." You may or may not know that I am working on becoming a more ethical consumer, being kinder to both animals and the environment. I was so delighted to receive these products as a spring in the right direction to do just that. When I found that they can also benefit mental health, I was pretty damn excited. 

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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Being Different And Why I Embrace It

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I am different. We all are. Even though we are made out of the same stuff, there is a million and one differences between each of us. Some of those differences more distinct than others. We all have our own unique set of DNA, fingerprints and other sciencey stuff, which I'm not intelligent enough to know let alone understand. No two people are the same. Even identical twins. We all have our own passions, interests and desires. Even the most similar of people still have their differences. 

So, if this is the case, why is it so hard to be...well different? If you are a bit odd, an outsider or weird, you don't fit in. People don't like people that are different. Those who don't preserve the status quo. In 2017, to ' fit in, a ' you have to spend your life pretending to be someone else. You have to like certain things, have certain hobbies, dress particular ways and so on. But what if you don't want to? What if the idea of going on nights out freaks you out? What if you want to dye your hair a bright colour? What do these people do?

THEY BE DIFFERENT! AND THEY EMBRACE IT!

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Having Pride In Your Mental Illness

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Here in the U.K. we have this learnt culture of a ' stiff upper lip' we don't like to talk about personal stuff especially if it's seen as taboo, this includes mental health. How many times have you lied about what you're going to the doctor for? How many times have you said you're going for a physical problem when you've actually been going to talk about your mental health? I know I have.

However, by not talking about mental health, it creates this stigma around it. People are afraid of talking honestly and openly about what is affecting them. They don't ask for help or admit that they are struggling, which results in them suffering in silence. No mental illness ever gets better by sweeping it under the carpet and ignoring it. 

This is why I think it's important to have pride in your mental illness. If you suffer from a mental illness, you shouldn't feel trapped, isolated or suffer alone. It's okay to not to be okay. Talking about mental illness is difficult, I know that I'm not an idiot. Despite what you may think, there are different ways you can take pride in mental illness if talking ain't really your thing. With the help of Motivational tattoos, I'm here to give you alternative suggestions on how you take pride in your mental illness.

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Little Ways To Look After Yourself

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I know you guys probably get bored of reading about my life all the time, so as part of mental health awareness month, I'd thought I would let someone else write a post for you today. Welcome. Meg, a 13-year-old lifestyle and beauty blogger.

Meg does not currently suffer from any mental health conditions so she can't talk to you about mental health. However, as a beauty blogger Meg has a lot of knowledge and understanding of little ways to look after yourself if you lack self-love, are a bit upset or just want to take care of yourself and your mental health a little bit better.

I hope you enjoy these quick little tips, for improving your mental health courtesy of Meg. 

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Monday, 15 May 2017

Why Your Comfort Zone Is Doing Nothing For Your Mental Health

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Opportunities always occur outside your comfort zone. 

We're all creatures of habit. Humans develop routines, and we stick to them. We like to feel safe, so we do things we know well. I don't know about you, but if you played back videos of my day, it would be bloody difficult to notice any difference from one day to the next. I think that's pretty much how must of us work isn't it? 

If you think about it, it is how we are brought up. We are conditioned to act and think this way. Most people go to some kind of playgroup or pre-school as a toddler. If you don't your first experiences of rigid routines would have been at school. So basically from the age of five, we've all been subjected to strict routines and rules which are drilled into us that we must follow and stick to no matter what.

Routines are important, don't get me wrong. If we had no routines and rules to follow there would be complete anarchy. Not to mention, we would all be so unproductive. In contrast, though, have you ever thought about what your comfort zone is doing for you? 
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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Growing Up With a Mental Illness

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As a little girl, I worried all the time. I would worry that when we came back to the car after a day out, someone would have broken into it or hit it and drove off. I would worry that when we came back from a day out, the house would be broken into. Every single time. 

I worried about all the things I said to people during that day and all the things I had coming up the next day, planning in my head how I was going to get through the day without embarrassing myself or things going wrong. I worried that people didn't like me. That no one wanted to really be my friend, they were just nice to me because they pitied me. In short, I worried about everything. It really saddens me to think of all the years I lost to anxiety, without even realising.

My main issue, which always has and always will be at the centre of all of my mental health problems in one way or another, is my overwhelming need for control. If you haven't already noticed, I'm such a control freak. It has to be done my way, or I'm not interested. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. I can comprise and cooperate with others, but if it's something I'm passionate about, I'll make sure I have as much control as possible.

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Saturday, 13 May 2017

My Favourite Mental Health Bloggers #2

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A while back, I did a post all about my favourite mental health bloggers, which I think went down pretty well with you guys. You can read that post here. There is way more than five mental health bloggers that I LOVE though. We are a little community that is ever growing. Which makes me so happy. I know it's not for everyone, sharing the most intimate details of your life online, but the more we do it especially about mental health, we are gradually breaking down the stigma and normalising mental illness.

Which is bloody fantastic, I'm sure you will agree! What I love about the mental health blogging community is how diverse it is. There are so many different people, from all walks of life. We have all united because of a passion of ours; spreading awareness of mental health. We use all the negative experiences we have been through and battles with mental illness in a positive way. To show people it is okay to not be okay. 

It annoys me that the mental health blogger community often gets overlooked. As soon as a major famous blogger or Vlogger opens up about their mental health ( which is great, don't get me wrong), They get a tonne of press, which is fine but there is hundreds of everyday folk who share their stories and don't get a look in. Which is why I'm sharing another five of my favourite mental health bloggers today! Make sure you check them out!

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Friday, 12 May 2017

10 Things You Can Do If You Are Struggling With Your Mental Health

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Mental health. We all have it, just some of us look after it better than others. Some of us take care of it fine, but life happens. Smacks us in the face and knocks us right off our tracks. When your physical health isn't great, you go to a doctor. So that means that when our mental health isn't great, we go to a doctor right? 

Well actually no, due to lack of understanding, funding and stigma, many people suffering from poor mental health suffer in silence, fighting their demons alone because the thought of getting help or speaking up about what they are going through is too terrifying, to even bare thinking about. 

MENTAL HEALTH IS AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL HEALTH. END OF. FULL STOP. BOOK CLOSED. NO MORE SEQUELS. 

I think you get my point. So why if mental health is just as important as physical health, why do 1 in 4 of us suffer from some form of mental health problem? Because people don't know that it is as important and there are so many different ways you can look after it. We are not taught the importance of self-care in school which I can never quite get my head around. This is why I wanted to share, 10 simple and basic tips, which you probably know already but neglect. There is nothing groundbreaking in this post, just straight forward advice most of us do not implement in our daily lives. 

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

TV And Mental Health: The Good The Bad And The Ugly

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I like watching TV, however, if there is one thing I don't like its bad representation. Bad representation of anything, whether that be LGBT+ rights, acknowledging people of colour and of course mental illness. TV shows are something which can either hit the nail on the end when it comes to representing a mental illness or completely get it wrong and end up offending quite a few people, myself included.

It's not all doom and gloom though, alongside the awful shows which made a complete cock up and didn't present mental illness well at all, there are a few who do an excellent job! Hooray! I'll admit there isn't that many, well not that I'm aware of. I'm always up for discovering new shows though so do hit me up with your suggestions. I still think it's good to acknowledge them though. It's incredibly important to bring mental illness into mainstream media but more importantly present it accurately. 

I don't think I would be alone in saying that I would rather have a mental illness not mentioned at all in TV shows then presented really badly. Whether that be suggesting that those who are mentally ill are all criminals and murders or if you have OCD you just like things neat and tidy. This does more damage than good, to be frank. I would rather not have it at all, but unfortunately, it does exist. There's not much I can do expect to call out the bad shows and hope they never get recommissioned. As always I would love to know your thoughts on any of the TV shows mentioned in this post, do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

How to Talk To Your Teachers about Your Mental Health

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Talking to anyone about your mental health isn't easy. Talking to parents, doctors, friends and teachers can seem virtually impossible for those of us caught in the mercy of any mental illness and are still in education. School/ college or Uni are awful at the best of times. Constant pressure, exam stress and trying to fit it. Struggling with a mental illness on top of all of that can make you feel like a ticking time bomb. 

There's an infinite number of reasons why students choose not to talk to their teachers about their mental health. Fear of rejection, fear of being laughed at and not knowing if they will actually understand what you’re going through or if they will just brush it off as a simple phase or 'something every teenager goes through'. These are just a few of the many reasons why so many young people choose to stay silent in school and not get the support they need.

Which consequently puts their grades and studies in jeopardy. If you suffer from a mental illness, it's not your fault. It's an illness, just like having a broken leg. You wouldn't be worried about getting extra support with a broken leg at school, such as being able to leave a lesson earlier. So why do so many students, keep their mental health struggles to themselves? Because of the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness of course. 

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Why It's Okay To Self-diagnose Yourself With a Mental Illness

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I think I need to explain that title don't I? I can feel myself getting a lot of hate for this post if I don't. Lol. 

To be able to understand other people and the world around you, you need to be able to critically look at yourself. I know that I am privileged. I'm a white, middle class, women who is growing up in a first world country with the incredible advances in technology unravelling quicker than we can understand them. These rapid developments in technology have improved and shaped the way we work, how we socialise and how we are treated when we are ill.

I have a roof over my head, money in my back pocket and food in my cupboards. I have friends and family who care and support me through everything. I have had an exceptional education. I realise how lucky I am to have all of this because there are people in the world who aren't as privileged as myself. These people aren't just in third world countries they are also your next door neighbours.

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Monday, 8 May 2017

My Favourite Mental Health Documentaries

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I love a good documentary. Not just about mental health. About anything really. I've watched all kinds of murder, medical and family documentaries. I don't know what it is about me, I just love to learn new things. Even if I'm not particularly interested in that topic, I'll probably watch it anyway because who doesn't want to learn a new fact that you can impress your friends with. Call me a nerd, I don't care. LOL!

You lot know that mental health is one of my biggest passions in life. I will fight till the day I die to remove the stigma, raise awareness and support those with mental health issues in any way I can. I love to learn about other people's experiences of different mental health problems that I haven't experienced and how they have overcome them, managing to get their life back on track.

For every naff TV show out there that portrays mental illness in a negative or stereotyped way, there is a fantastic mental health documentary to reverse the damage. Unfortunately, I know that documentaries of any sort, don't reach the mass audiences that sitcoms and soaps do. Which is why we need better representation across the TV spectrum, not just in documentaries. That aside, here are five mental health documentaries which do a fantastic job of portraying the reality of mental illness. It was so hard to pick my top five because there is so many that I love, but in the end, these five stood out to me the most which are why I choose them. I hope you enjoy.

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

How You Can Help a Friend Struggling With Their Mental Health

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It can be really hard to watch those around you struggle and suffer from any kind of illness, including mental illness. You may feel powerless in helping them. If you don't understand what they are going through you may feel clueless in knowing what to do. You don't want to get it wrong, but you also want to do whatever you can to help.

I'll tell you one thing, the fact that you clicked on this post means that you are a good friend. You have their best interests at heart, and you want to do whatever you can to help them fight their mental illness. Well done you. Your struggling friend is lucky to have you in their life. What's important now is that you put these tips into practice and do the best you can to help them through this tough time.

It's not going to be easy, but I promise you what you are doing is going to help. They may not want your help all the time. They may even be in denial about their mental health. The best thing you can do is be there for them, be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to them and a warm pair of hands to offer a hug, in times of need. I hope you find these tips helpful.

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Saturday, 6 May 2017

Why We Need Mental Health Education In Schools

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It's 2017, I can't believe that I have to write this article. But it needs writing because if we don't talk about this pressing matter, nothing will ever be done about it. 

MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION IS NOT COMPULSORY IN SCHOOLS 

How? Why? I don't even know. I can't give you any answers. If 1 in 4 suffer from a mental health problem and 1 in 10 young people struggle with their mental health, you would think that someone would have had the smart idea of making mental health education a mandatory subject within the education system. 

CHRIST NO! Heaven forbids, that's too simple!

Instead, young people are left to suffer in silence. Unaware that they are not alone, that there is the help and support out there. "Leave it to the parents! " they say " It's not school's responsibility" they shout from their 140 Twitter characters. I wonder if these people are blind or just plain arrogant to the world we live in today. 

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Friday, 5 May 2017

Private VS NHS Mental Health Therapy: The Pros And The Cons

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I have experience of both private and NHS therapy. Over the months of me going to both, I have noticed some distinct differences between the two. There is definitely pro's and cons of both kinds of treatment. Unfortunately for some, they will never get a choice. If there is one thing that I hate so much in this world, it's that your postcode and income affect the quality of care you receive as regards to your mental health. If you ask me this is just despicable and should NOT be acceptable. 

This post is in no way shaming one over the other. I recognise that they each have their good points and bad points. I'm not trying to say private therapy is better or something along those lines. I can only go on my personal experiences. I have my personal favourite, but I'm not saying this is the BEST treatment for everyone. We are all different. We have different needs, preferences and situations. What works for one person might not work for another. 

I'm doing this post to help those who are uncertain what therapy to go for. Maybe you are on an NHS waiting list and can't wait any longer? Maybe you don't know if private therapy will cater for you? Choosing the right therapy can be a difficult choice to make. Which is why I thought I would list the pros and cons of both, based on facts and my personal experiences. These are only guidelines. It is important you adapt them to your circumstances. I hope you find this post helpful.  

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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Mental Health: The Fact From The Fiction

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In 2017, I am deeply saddened to say that mental illness is a taboo subject. Granted we are getting better, and we have definitely moved on from the electric shock treatment days, but there is still a HUGE stigma about talking openly about your personal struggles with mental health. Every single day people face discrimination because of their mental illness. Whether that be in school, in the workplace or online. Not getting employed because of a past history of mental illness ( which doesn't affect the job they are applying for), being bullied in school because of an eating disorder or getting hurtful comments online because of a self-harm scars, are just some of the many ways, 1/4 of us still experience mental health discrimination.

Why? Why is this still happening? People don't know enough about mental illness. We are not taught about mental health in school. There may be an odd lesson here and there. That is NOT sufficient. It should be a regular part of the curriculum, from the age of five, here in the UK when children start school. My school focused heavily on alcohol and job prospects during year 10 and 11, completely ignoring the mental health crisis affecting 1 in 4 of their students. 

Due to this lack of awareness and education during school, young people don't know how to look after their mental health, how to get help if they are struggling with their mental health and definitely don't have an understanding of the different types of mental illnesses. Which means when they see someone who is performing an OCD compulsion, having a panic attack or is depressed, they think they are just doing it for attention. Oh yeah, and apparently they believe they are medical experts and a walk will solve everything. Thanks for that. 

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why

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For ages, I thought I would never watch this show. I've heard a lot, and I mean a lot about this show on social media. Some people singing it praises all day long while others outwardly despising it, for it's triggering and misinformed storyline. 

While on the one hand, I do acknowledge this show isn't perfect by any means, I also see the good that this show brings to society. Like most TV shows there is always things I would have done differently, 13 reasons why is no exception. On the contrary, I applaud them for being conversational and highlighting the topical issues that they did, in the manner that they did in this show. 

It goes without saying that this post contains spoilers. It's pretty hard to critically analyse a show without giving away a few crucial plot twists. So you've been warned. I know people have strong opinions on this show if you've watched it and you agree or disagree with what I have said I would love to know what you thought of it in the comments below!

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

My Top Five Mental Health Books

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I love reading. But I definitely don't do it enough. I think I say that every time I do a blog post about books...LOL. I guess some bad habits are just hard to break. If there is one thing I absolutely love reading about, it's mental health. Whether that be fiction, self-help books or personal stories, I just can't get enough.

I love to get lost in a really well-written book with an amazing story line and characters which you just fall in love with, the second they are mentioned. I love learning about different types of mental illnesses, which I haven't experienced. I enjoy finding out how other people have struggled and pulled themselves through the darkest times. I am not interested in success stories explicitly, just real stories. Books that show the reality of what it is like living with a mental illness. That it is not all sunshine and rainbows. I also like reading books that give me tips, advice and support, most commonly I find these in self-help books. Which I know sounds cringey, but trust me they are not all as bad as you think.

There are so many books about mental health that I could have included in this list. Perhaps I will do a part two at some point. I wanted to let you guys know my favourites, just in case you are looking for a new book to read, wanting to improve your understanding of mental health or are looking for something to help you start that road to recovery or just understand what you are going through. There is something for everyone on this list, I hope you find something that takes your fancy! 


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Monday, 1 May 2017

Why I Talk Openly About My Mental Health

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I talk openly about my mental health. Duh! I don't think you needed me to tell you that. Some people see it as inspiring, brave or courageous. I see it as speaking the truth. Not letting society tell me that I can't talk about something which affects every single human being on this planet. I am not ashamed or embarrassed to talk about my mental health and my battle with mental illness so honestly and openly and you shouldn't either.   

People worry about oversharing. I get that some people may be discouraged from sharing and talking about personal stuff because they don't want the whole world to know about their struggles.Some may worry that it could come across as self-obsessed. Talking about yourself day in day out. Maybe what is stopping you is worrying that people will think you are doing it for a sympathy vote. BOO HOO look at me with all my struggles and hardship...

You know what, I 100% understand that. Talking about mental illness isn't easy, and there is always going to be people who hate your guts, think you are doing it for attention or just don't agree with you that it is the right thing to do. And to them, I say screw you! The one thing that keeps me going, motivating me to continue to write about mental health, is all the people out there who struggle with their mental health, who think they are all alone. They believe that they are crazy. The only ones battling the demons in their head. 

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Friday, 28 April 2017

50 Feel Good Songs

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I love music. I think most people do. Music is pretty amazing if you think about it. It can make you cry floods of tears but it can also make you feel like you are on top of the world and no one can stop you. If you ask me that's kind of cool. When I'm having a bad mental health day, it can be tempting to listen to the sad songs playlist on Spotify, instead I wack on this amazing creation of mine.

When you have a quick skim read through what songs I've chosen, you will realise what a varied music taste I have. We have some bangers from musicals, 80's tunes and well just some really odd songs. But they all have one thing in common. They make me feel hella good. I smile, and I dance. Dancing and smiling are the best kinds of medications for poor mental health if you ask me.

I hope you enjoy reading this quick list and maybe you find a song that you love that you haven't heard before. There is no better feeling then finding a new song which you absolutely love. You might hate some of these songs, which is completely fine. You can create your own feel good playlists and play them whenever you are having a bad day.

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Why I Love Stationery And How It Benefits My Mental Health

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I'm an absolute stationery freak. I have way tooo much stationery. More stationery and notebooks than any girl could ever need. I have notebooks piling up in all kind of random places around my house, do I have a use for them? No! Did I think I would find a use for them when I bought them? Yes! Even though I have been through this cycle on countless occasions. I never learn. I fall into the trap of cute cheap stationery every time! How do the shops do it?

You can just imagine my excitement when I found out that there was not only a national stationery day but a national stationery week! YAS! Someone who understands and appreciates my passion and love for all things stationery. National Stationery week takes place between the 24th and 30th of April, celebrating all things stationery. You can get involved with the Hashtag #Writingmatters on social media to share your love for stationery. Come on it can't just be in who is so excited for this! GUESS WHAT? If that is not enough for you each day has a different theme, for example; Monday is pen and pencil day, Wednesday is world stationery day, Saturday is signature Saturday. Each day has its own theme, I think that is bloody genius if you ask me! 

You guys know that I am a mental health blogger. Maybe you're a bit puzzled right now as to why you are reading a blog post all about stationery. I agree, it's a little strange but let me explain. Stationery really benefits my mental health, in many different ways. Injunction with the national stationery week I thought I would share why. Enjoy.

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Friday, 21 April 2017

Let's Talk About Confidence

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We all hear the phrase; Confidence comes with age. Let me tell you that is 100% correct. I've always been a bit of a shrinking violet. I've always been shy and lacked confidence. I was always told to put my hand up more in class and contribute more to group work, but I never had the courage to do that.

Throughout primary and most of secondary school I was shy, struggled with putting my hand up in class, hated group work and the thought of having to read work in front of the class filled me with dread and fear. As I've got older though that's changed. I now have more confidence to speak openly in class. I enjoy talking to my teachers and like doing group work with my friends.

Granted, I'm not the most confident person in the world. I don't like working with people that I don't know and standing up in front of a class and doing a presentation is still something that gives me butterflies but not to the extent that it once did when I was younger.

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Monday, 17 April 2017

Why You Don't Have To Be Morbidly Thin To Have An Eating Disorder

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The most common type of eating disorder is EDNOS. What about anorexia or bulimia? Aren't they the most common? After all, they are the ones we know the most about and hear about the most often. I really doubt if many of you have heard of EDNOS and if you have you know very little about it. 

EDNOS stands for eating disorder not otherwise specified. This is where you engage in some of the behaviours which an individual with anorexia or bulimia would but not to the same extent or level. So you may binge and then purge, but you won't do it every single day, or if you restrict your diet, you may still eat one regular meal but fast for the rest of the day. That means there not as dangerous, right?

You couldn't be further from the truth. EDNOS and bulimia sufferers are more likely to die than anorexics. This is because on the outside they appear normal and healthy, but on the inside, it's a very different story. Binging and purging can mess up your digestive system, cause tooth decay and be damaging to your heart. Restricting your diet and excessively exercising can cause low blood sugar, low blood pressure and heart problems which could be fatal. 

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Friday, 14 April 2017

Trichotillomania and Me

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I recognise that although I have a lot of experience of mental health problems, I know that I have have not experienced everything and I never will. However, I want to provide a resource here on my blog that will help as many people as possible and that means letting other people share their stories on mental health. Today I am delighted to introduce Lucy, a talented, brave and amazing young lady sharing her experience of Trichotillomania. I hope you enjoy and maybe learn something you didn't know about Trichotillomania.

My hair has always been my token feature. Until I turned fifteen, it was long enough for me to sit on, and even now, at almost twenty-one, it’s the thing people most remember and recognise about my appearance. I’ve always been oddly proud of it, and am loathe to dye it or cut it too drastically.  So perhaps you can imagine my shock when, in Year 11, I found myself uncontrollably taking out my stress on the thing I most loved about my looks.

Like many young people, I was overwhelmed with the impossibility of balancing schoolwork, relationships and a half-decent sleep pattern, and after a particularly stressful day at school I staggered up to my room to escape from it all. But rather than feeling any relief upon dumping my bag on the floor, instead, I felt a burning sensation in my toes.

 It tingled its way through the veins, up my legs, red-hot, coursing its way up my body, causing my heart to race and searing my airways tight. My hands flew, entirely of their own accord, to my scalp. It was over in a split second, and I collapsed onto my bed, shaking, and utterly baffled. I opened my damp fist, clenched so tight my nails were threatening to pierce the skin of my palm. In my hand was a small, tangled clump of my own hair. 

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Monday, 10 April 2017

How You Can Raise Awareness Of Mental Health

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Next month is mental health awareness month. Mental health awareness week also takes place in May. I've got a couple of things planned in May to celebrate mental health awareness month. However, I thought it would be important to do this post before mental health awareness month commences so you guys can get as involved as possible.

Coming up with awareness ideas can be a challenge. You may think that you need a blog, YouTube or significant social media following to raise awareness. That's 100% not true. Social media influencers can spread awareness but so can any member of society. It's actually easier than you may have first thought!

You don't have to share your personal story. You don't have to do a crazy skydive or something outrageously brave. You can raise awareness within your day to day life without lifting a finger (quite literally) There are no excuses not to promote awareness of mental health. It's easy, cheap and affects everyone. 
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Friday, 7 April 2017

30 Reasons Why I Love Myself

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I'm fully aware that the title of this blog post seems incredibly narcissistic. Maybe if you have just stumbled across this blog post, you think I'm really big-headed or full of myself. I'll tell you one thing. I am definitely not. Self-love is so important, yet it's seen as being self-indulgent or self-obsessed. No wonder, many have never practised self-love at all.

Self-love is the practice of being kind to yourself. Self-love is being able to recognise that you are doing the best you can, given your situation. Self-love involves not beating yourself up for trying your hardest. You wouldn't constantly criticise your friends so why do we do it to ourselves? We are constantly too fat, too thin, too stupid, too intelligent, just not good enough. 

But to who's standards? Who says that big isn't beautiful? Who says being intelligent isn't attractive? Society. But not everyone in society agrees. The person who's being paid to write that trashy magazine article about worse dressed celebrities or how to lose five pounds overnight, could be sat that in a tracksuit, scoffing themselves with a McDonalds. You just don't know.

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Monday, 3 April 2017

How To Help Someone Having a Panic Attack

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I can't believe I've never written this post. Having a panic attack can feel like a life or death situation especially if you've never had one before. Even if you have had your fair share of panic attacks, they can still be pretty terrifying. Those who suffer from panic attacks regularly know they are not going to die and often can feel them coming. But what about the people around you?

Do they know what to do? Do they know how to support you? I'm fully aware that not everyone who reads my blog has mental health problems. And even if they do, they might not suffer from panic attacks. It's all well and good if the person having the panic attack knows what to do, but if the people around them just make it worse, what's the point in that? 

It's essential if your friend or even family member has a panic attack in front of you, you know what to do. I've been there for my friends who are having panic attacks, and I've been having panic attacks and my friends have been there for me. It's safe to say I have a lot of experience and know what I'm on about. I really hope this post helps you know what to do next time someone you know has a panic attack.

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Friday, 31 March 2017

50 Things I Am Grateful For

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Gratitude is so important. But it's something none of us practices enough. How many times have you moaned today? Probably more than the digits on your hands. We constantly hate our life's because they are so difficult. We never have enough time, enough money or enough energy to do what we want with our life's. We often forget how privileged we really are.

This isn't me slating you guys. I'm the same. I'll moan that it's cold or that the bus isn't here. But what I'm forgetting is how privileged I actually am, to be able to afford the bus fare which gets me to college four times a week or that I live in a country which is yes is a little bit chilly but also very rarely experiences devastating storms, hurricanes or tsunamis which destroy livelihoods by the thousands.

I didn't think I would be able to find 50 things that I am grateful for but it turns out it's actually pretty easy. By doing this blog post, I realised how privileged I actually am. All those things I complain about, actually millions in society, across the globe don't have access to at all. Yes, homework is annoying, but at least I have access to an education. Okay, I don't have enough money to buy that top I really like, but at least I have other tops at home which I could wear. You catch my drift.

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