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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