My year in review 2014

I don't know how I can begin to comprehend the journey that has been this year. If you've been following my blog, you'll know that last year was "hell in more ways than one." You can read more about 2013, here.

Although the year had a rocky start, with my worst depressive episode, it was immensely better than 2013. Anxiety was still a big problem in terms of school, but by beginning a course of medication, life became so much easier. I began to tackle the things that scared me the most. I was definitely pinned to the post between life and death, but I can happily say that this year has been one of the best in a long time, and for that I am forever grateful. 

I don't think you can truly experience the beauty that life holds, unless you have been to the darkest depths. This year, I have felt the fresh air like never before and held on to moments with every last grip. In a way, I can experience life at a new level. This year, instead of having limited positive experiences to talk about, I have too many to list; from getting into university (I have to say, I am having the time of my life), meeting my idol for the second time, being discharged from therapy, conquering some of my anxiety triggers, concerts, travelling; the list could go on.

Never did I think that I would experience happiness again, and even though I still have my bad days, and although I know haven't gotten over my anxiety completely, my life is a world away from the last year. It's almost incomprehensible. Once I was on the tightrope between life and death and now I am living independently and discovering happiness once more. I cannot thank my family, friends and teachers enough, as without them I don't know where I'd be. And of course you, the readers of my blog have been super supportive and for that I thank you. I wrote in last years', year in review that I hoped that the next year would be more of a dream than a nightmare, and my hopes have become a reality. At the beginning of 2013, I couldn't leave the house. And now, at the end of 2014, I am living independently. I never thought it possible, but life is full of twists and turns. You can do it. 

When people ask me what my greatest achievement is out of this continuing process, I have to think. But, my answer always remains the same. "surviving" I say. "Because I never thought I'd see the day." 

Best Wishes,

19 things I've learnt

Since recently turning 19, I thought it would be a good idea to write down 19 things I've learnt in the 19 years that I've been alive. Perhaps this will act as a bit of memoir to my younger self and to others.

1. Always be yourself. It sounds so cliche but there isn't anything more true. Yes, you may get stick for it, but persevere. It's definitely worth the time. Don't worry about what others think of you.

2. Don't give in to peer pressure. I know it can be extremely hard. But, at the end of the day you will be doing what you want to do with your life instead of spending it living other peoples'. Anyway, a friend isn't a friend if they're making you do things you don't want to do.

3. Family is extremely important. Always make time for them.

4. Some friends will come and go, but there will be those special few that you must hold on to.

5. Love can be beautiful, but it may not last. Don't let it consume you to the point that you cut out everything else in your life. You'll regret it later.

6. Education is the basis of all things. Work hard and you will reap the rewards. I know you may not want to do that homework or revise for the test, but I promise in the end it will pay off. And whether you like it or not, teachers will impact on you for the rest of your days.

7. On the other hand, don't let school consume you. Unfortunately, the government puts a lot of pressure on schools and thus on pupils to do well. Try not become too overwhelmed. Remember your goals and you are your own person.

8. Life can be magical. Sometimes things can happen, which you would never have thought possible. It's beyond comprehension; embrace it.

9. Money isn't everything. Yes you need it to survive, but one day you might get told you only have so much life to live. You'd wish you'd spent it enjoying yourself, being with the ones you love and lessening it's importance, rather than waiting for a rainy day you may now never reach.

10. Be nice to people. You don't know what they're going through. Don't create unnecessary drama, but stand up for what you believe in. 

11. The most toxic thing you can do is to compare yourself to others. It's difficult not to, but in the end "the race is only with yourself". It's your life to lead.

12. The darkest and hardest of times make you appreciate life when you come out of the other side. You are stronger than you think.

13. Give yourself credit. Be proud of your achievements.

14. There are heaters and drains in this world. Don't waste your time hanging around people who are toxic. There are only so many chances you can give.

15. Worrying doesn't improve things in any way. It only makes things worse. The things you worry about the most, highly likely won't even happen.

16. Remember to take a step back now and then. Remember the pillar between life and death.

17. Nature is amazing. Observe it and experience it as much as you can.

18. Time is not a limitless supply.

19. It's true you don't know what you've got until it's gone; cherish every moment. In the end, being surrounded by the people you love and the memories they hold, is the only importance. 

Jon's confidence

Guest blog post from Jon.

How to build confidence when you feel like you don´t have any!

We all want to have an inner sense of confidence, and to live life carefree without any doubts. The problem with anxiety sufferers is that at times we can be full of doubts. So how do you turn things around and start to develop a strong sense of self-assurance?

Learn how to deal with yourself, not the situation
First of all you need to take practical steps in learning how to deal with yourself. In facing situations you find difficult. You can´t wait for confidence or you´ll be waiting forever. So take a deep breath and step outside your comfort zome. Willingly put yourself into situations you try to avoid. Speak up! Accept that you will feel nervous but don´t fight it, just go with it. Act in spite of how you feel. This is the key!

There´s no magic bullet in building confidence. You need to prove your doubts wrong. And then to prove them wrong again and again! By facing situations that make you feel anxious over and over again you will develop that voice inside you that says ¨I can do it!¨

Constantly remember past success
To help this voice grow you need to take note of such moments where you faced your difficulties and overcame them. To do this I recommend you keep a journal. At the end of each day write down the difficult moments you faced and how you dealt with yourself successfully. Also review your past successes daily. This will reinforce an attitude of confidence. Also in your quiet moments such as waiting for the bus you can reflect on your past successes. Remember how good it felt to come through the other side despite how you felt and give yourself a big pat on the back.

And then next time when you are going into a moment you usually find difficult take a moment to think of some of your previous successes and bask in your glory. Really appreciate how great you have done! And then you can go forward into the situation with an inner confidence that you are becoming a stronger person.

Make lists
Another thing which will helps reinforce, and build your confidence and self.esteem is writing down positive thngs about yourself. I recommend making lists of your positive attributes, past achievements, compliments people have given you, and things you´re good at. And then reviewing these lists daily. This will get you into the habit of seeing yourself in a positive light, of seeing yourself as a confident person who holds themself in high-esteem.

These things actually happened. So whenever you are feeling down, and need a little pick me up, you can remember your past successes, or something from your list and you will instantly feel better.

It´s a marathon not a sprint
Becoming a confident person takes time and commitment. By keeping a journal and lists and reviewing them daily, little by little you will transform. And before you know it you won´t even have to think about it anymore, you will just be a confident person. You´ll feel great with an deep sense of satisfaction of having grown into the confident person you deserve to be.

This all takes work. But it´s more than worth it. Seeing yourself change into a more confident, self-assured person is a great feeling. The act of taking control and becoming like this through your own effort is deeply satisfying, and gives you more confidence to go into the future with more enthusiasm. So, don´t wait any longer. Start facing difficult situations, focus on the positive, remember your successes, and start being the confident person you really are!

Just say yes

Generally speaking, saying yes provides more opportunity and better experiences because you're doing something you don't usually do.

Of course the typical difficulty that you and I face, is that sometimes saying yes brings overwhelming fear which means we cannot physically do it, or we may face panic attacks and other struggles.

But, you can do it! By saying yes, you will be undertaking exposure which is what many therapists ask you to do to reduce your anxiety. For example, by saying yes to catching a bus, you are exposing yourself to the situation and ultimately reducing your anxiety in the long run. The more you do it, the less your anxiety until you no longer have it. For example, I can now leave the house, catch buses and ask for things with practically no anxiety. But, there once was a time when I couldn't even walk towards the door.

Do you want to go clubbing?, travelling?, do you want to go to a party? All of these things would provide anxiety for me, but you have to leave it behind as it will. By doing these things, you'd probably have a good time despite your haunting thoughts. You have to try and go with your gut feeling and take a change. Perhaps try and set a goal and say you'll say yes for a few days. See how you feel, even if it may cause anxiety beforehand. I guarantee, that the things you've wanted to do, but have been scared to say yes to, will be fine. 

Of course there are priorities, and you may not be in your stage of recovery where you feel comfortable. I have to say this was the biggest thing stopping me. When my anxiety was quite severe I didn't feel anywhere near ready to be doing the things I am doing now. So, it's totally understandable if you can't say yes to everything right now. Don't beat yourself up about it, I can totally sympathise and understand that mindset. My anxiety still stops me from saying yes to things now, but as time is moving on for me, the more things I am able to say yes to, and I only feel this way because of the stage I am at. It does take time to train your brain to battle the doubting thoughts, so try to be patient and keep going!

If you want to read more about this, you can click here for my Life Vs. Death post.

Best Wishes,


For some this post may be triggering, so please don't feel you need to carry on reading. The charity Samaritans are here to help, you can call them on 08457 90 90 90 (UK)

I've decided to take this step into writing this post because I very rarely see anyone talking about this topic directly. It's always covered up or ignored even though the loss of life is very real. Suicide, which I'm sure many of you are aware of, or have thought about is the taking one's own life. I know for many this post will want to be avoided because you don't want to think about it. But, this is exactly the point. Suicide and it's awareness cannot be ignored for any longer.

Here in England, there is a death every two hours.

This death could be your family member, your friend, your partner, parent or teacher. This is what makes the statistic even more shocking and the worst part is that people still ignore it. Suicide is a very real problem and there is the possibility that someone close to you is experiencing suicidal feelings or has tried to kill themselves. You may not even know and that is the scariest part. Occasionally however, a person may show signs of needing help or even directly asking for help. Please make sure you are a listening ear. Try just to listen, and to not make any comments on the matter. There are signs to be looking out for and ways to help, which you can read about, here.

Suicide isn't always directly connected to a mental health issue and there doesn't need to be a reason for it. Either way, it can still be fatal.

By writing this post, I don't just want to raise awareness, but I want to make sure that you understand something. When we feel suicidal, there is no way out, there is no help, there is often the feeling that no one understands and some people even feel that no one would miss them or love them. But, let me tell you this; people will miss you and people do love you. Whatever you are facing, and for however long, whether it's months or years, you can keep going. Often, the endless pain with no happiness for so long, and even the loss of what we once had leads us to feeling that we don't have the strength to carry on and I know that it is what you experiencing. But, let me tell you even when you feel you are taking your last few breaths, you do have the strength to carry on, there is a way out and it will come in time. Life is very unexpected and one day you will find the light again, and you will enjoy the love of life once more. I don't blame you at all for feeling like you do, but trust me when I say it will get better. Even if what I'm writing sounds like a shot in the dark and completely false, I do know that you can get there. 

Best Wishes and keep fighting,

A new chapter

I am officially a Law undergraduate; it's strange to hear myself say these words.

I have really been enjoying university so far. It's a world away from home and I'm glad I made the move. I'd be lying if I said anxiety isn't  something I have to cope with on a daily basis, but I'm hoping to continue to tackle it before it becomes too much of a problem in my every day life at university. On the other hand, I have met many different people from all walks of life. I have found that some of these have been through similar issues that I have, which still surprises me, even though one in four experience problems with their mental health in any one year. I'm lucky to have met people who are as understanding.

Meeting new people has meant I was out almost every night for freshers. Although it was somewhat out of my comfort zone, I found a good group of people I could and can have a good time with. It just shows that stepping outside of your comfort zone is something we should all try once in a while. Cooking is still something I am getting used to and I'm sure that I'll get there eventually. But, for the moment I reckon I'm a long way from being the next winner of Masterchef! 

It's been over a month since moving out and yet it feels longer. I already feel I have embraced my independence. Taxis and buses, food shopping, budgeting, cleaning, joining societies and going to see a new doctor are all a main part of my life now. I didn't think I'd ever be able to get my independence back, but I have. I hope that from reading the beginning of my story of anxiety, to reading where I am now will give you hope. 
Once, the sheer thought of getting in a taxi would send panic through my body and stop me from moving and yet, I can now get in a taxi by myself. I know that it can seem that you'll never recover and you'll never be able to do the things you love; I have been there. But, you will get there over time, you just have to ride the wave with the knowledge that there is light at the end. Never be ashamed of your journey; you're not alone. 

I will keep you updated with my university journey and I hope to be back into a blogging routine very soon. Feel free to ask me any questions about my recent move! You can do more than your mind thinks you can.

Best Wishes,

I'm off

This is it. In less than a week I will be at university. It's weird to think of because of my poor attendance throughout my A-levels making university seem impossible. Nevertheless, I am going and it just shows that you can still live your life even with anxiety. I have to admit, it's like waking up from a nightmare. I've finally woken up after all of these years and I'm about to start a new chapter. It's been 10 years of battling with my mental health and finally I have made it and I can't quite believe it. Thinking back now, it's like having all of my memories flash before my eyes; all of those days anxiety drained my hope and life, and then the rare light that picked me back up again. I can remember it all as if it were yesterday and it's the strangest feeling. I know that I've not recovered from my anxiety yet, but I am a whole world away from where I was before. I'm sure that university will be a challenge even without anxiety troubles, but will also be the making of me. 

Not only is it weird to think I am moving out soon, because I never thought I'd see the day. But, because I have been quite complacent; I guess I just don't feel old enough yet. Supposedly you never feel old enough anyway, you just learn how to deal with things; no one really knows what they're doing! Not only that, but I have to leave my friends and family behind. I know it's not forever, but I won't see them as often. I don't want that to come any quicker than needs be. 

I'd much rather go now than experience the hell which was my anxiety at school for another year. I'll never forget the people who've made this possible for me and who've kept me going during the darkest of times. I appreciate it more than words can say.

I guess it's time to start packing! It's time to move on and begin another journey. Let's hope it's more of a dream than a nightmare this time!

You can do it!

I can't be happy

How many times have you heard someone say to you to "just be happy" or to "cheer up" and yet it feels like an impossibility? I know we all have down days; when we feel sad and tired and times when little words of encouragement and doing what we love can make us feel a whole lot better. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

There have been so many occasions where people have said to me, to "just think positively, when you do that your whole mindset will turn around." As much as I tried, I just couldn't think positively. I just couldn't change my life around. Thus, when someone says to you to just be happy, some people just feel they can't. It's not through a lack of trying that people feel this way. After all, who would want to be in darkness for their whole life?

Depression is something that many people describe as a black hole which can't be climbed out of, a weight on a sunny day, when everything is going well in life, but yet you cannot get out of bed in the morning.

Depression takes away the ability to do what you love. It is a real illness, which many scientists believe is based upon a chemical imbalance. Depression can physically stop you from doing things. You can begin to eat more or less, becoming more tired and angry, or struggle to sleep. You can lose interests in the things you once loved. You can lose concentration and have suicidal thoughts. From the inside the person may feel utterly hopeless and doesn't want to talk to anyone or do anything. They will be in turmoil. A complete lack of lust for life. This isn't ignorance, this is just the sheer lack of capability to face anything without feeling like you're going to explode.

For many on the outside and who have never experienced depression, I can understand how it is difficult to accept why people just can't do things. But, even if you don't understand it's important to be patient and to be there for the person. The worst thing you can do is be confrontational towards them as this just makes it worse and pushes the person further into the darkness than need be. Often when you're depressed you feel isolated and alone, and you need to just be there to look after them until they feel ready to face the world again.

Depression is a serious illness and needs to be regarded with importance. Please don't brush it aside. Don't forget to get professional help if you or someone you know is really struggling. You've got this.

Best wishes,

The end?

What a difficult few years it's been, but I can proudly say that I've gotten into university to study Law; which has been my lifelong ambition.

If you have read my blog post about my struggles with school, you'll know that I've missed around a year of my A-levels. But, I was still extremely determined to get the grades in order to get to university. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten into my first choice university as I didn't get the grades and they weren't going to give any leeway either. And as much as I wanted to go to that uni (a lot!) I still managed to get my insurance choice, so it's still somewhere I'd like to go.

I was absolutely devastated when I found that I didn't get into my first choice university, devastated. And at the time, it wasn't confirmed that I was into my insurance choice either, so I was very lost and angry at myself. I don't think the outcome would have mattered as much to me, if I had been at school full time without any troubles with my mental health. But these last few years and my battle with anxiety has been absolute hell; taking away my education and opportunities. Everything I loved became everything I lost. I worked so hard to even step inside the school gates and to keep on going, and not doing as well as I hoped, was destroying.

But, what I must take from this is a greater sense of self worth. I managed to get into university, which a few months back would've been impossible, let alone taking my A-levels. It would've been completely out of the question. I am disappointed, but I must be proud of the fact that I can say that I couldn't have worked any harder and that these are my results at the end of it. If I didn't work as a hard, I wouldn't be where I am. I must put into retrospect that my grades are good considering my attendance. Not only that, but I mustn't be as hard on myself; not everyone can be the best all of the time. I've always been seen as a "bright" and hard working student, and as my anxiety got hold, my grades began to drop and I began to lose the very thing I was really passionate about; making me feel stupid. As hard as that is, I am where I am and I am who I am. No matter what the hardships, I know my triumphs and that is what I must hold dear, no matter of others opinions. At the end of the day, life doesn't always go to plan and you may feel you haven't got the justice you deserve, but it's something you have to grow with and sometimes that may be for the better. 

It's time to begin the next chapter of my life. I am both excited and terrified. I hope you will all follow the journey with me!

(And would you believe it, I'm currently writing this blog post whilst travelling on a train by myself! Who would have thought it?!)

Finally, If you're going through a severely difficult time, keep going. I was so distraught, but I held on and now I'm here. Something I would never have thought possible. I have been where you've been and I know what it's like. It can get better.

I'm proud of you!

Best wishes,

Compulsory education

I wrote a few months back about mental health in academia or rather the lack of it. This post is going to be focused more on the need for it rather than the pressures and protection.

I've been wanting to write this post for a while and is something which I am extremely passionate about, due to my own experience of mental health in the education system. However, what had sparked this post was a tweet from @Mentalhealth_ed who have set up petitions to the secretary of education, to make mental health in education compulsory. You can visit their website, here.

You see, mental health is extremely common, with 1/4 experiencing a mental health problem in any one year. More importantly though, 1/3 in every school class will experience a mental health problem. That's the same probability as some physical illnesses and yet, mental health is still not addressed as important or fatal, which of course it is.

The anatomy of the body is taught in biology, but yet mental health is left out of it. Furthermore, in personal development there is the discussion of drugs, alcohol and sex to an extent which may or may not be successful, but yet no talk of mental health. Until you go to school, you are surrounded by your families opinions, and at such an influential age this is all you really know. Thus this is where school becomes an important information source. With young people spending more time in education than outside, surely it's highly important to prepare them for future life and everything that can come their way. By educating early, we can get people to really understand the reasons and reality to mental health. In this way then we can battle the harmful and horrific stigma of the straight jackets, murderers and schizophrenics. 

If we aren't going to learn about this in education, then where will we learn it? We won't learn about it in the community, because many still believe in the myths. They aren't educated on mental health, which isn't always their fault; it's what they've been socialised into. I have written a lot more about the stigma, here and whilst we are working on the government, you can voluntarily read about the myths, here.

It's not just the education during these school years, but the importance in noticing how many pupils go through mental health problems. With mental health in schools still being taboo due to the lack of education, many will keep their mental health a secret as it is seen as 'bad' and this is extremely dangerous. Many teachers don't have the knowledge of how to act and pupils don't know how to act around them with only knowledge of stereotypes. With it being so common, not only do we need to teach to get others to understand, but to support those suffering. We must let them know it's okay to talk and you shouldn't suffer in silence.

Many of you retweeted my tweet about mental health and education, which is amazing; it just shows how many people see compulsory mental health in education as important. Please help us to raise more awareness and change the current situation by sharing this blog post, and using the hashtag #compulsorymentalhealth on twitter.

Let's just give ourselves one last reminder. Mental illness kills and destroys. Physical health is attributed with the same statistics and has more attention paid to it, but the same if not worse consequences can occur from a mental health condition. People have lost and are losing friends, family members, colleagues, sons and daughters, mums and dads due to the mental illness that is eating them away and yet this still isn't regarded as important enough to educate about. Because there aren't straightforward scientific methods to determine the diagnosis of these conditions, it's brushed aside. Because you can't see internal bleeding or a lack of white blood cells, it's regarded as inferior. But, let me ask you this; would a person stay in hell if they had the chance to leave?, would there be tears running down their face with absolute dread in their eyes, with a racing heartbeat if they weren't trying to get over the fear attributed with their mental health condition? It's time to face the fact that mental health does exist. We know that it can be a chemical imbalance and we can see from the outside the absolute turmoil in people's behaviour. Now's the time to educate, to get rid of the stigma and to save lives. 

You probably know someone who is suffering with mental illness or are yourself. Please sign the petitions to improve peoples lives for the future. 

Best wishes,

As a parent how should I act?

Firstly, I am not a parent and nor do I have any experience of being a parent, thus I can only write this post from my perspective and what my parents and others did for me, that has helped me through my battles with mental illness.

I often get lots of tweets and emails about how people feel they cannot talk to their parents in the fear that they won't understand, they will look down on them, or they will just laugh at it and these stories often sadden me. As a sufferer, it's important to remember that what you're going through is not your fault and if someone is willing to listen and try and understand, then that's great. I know it is hard to talk about your situation, but you may be surprised at how postively your parents may act and if they don't, you could inform them on what you're going through; there are various websites out there that can help you with this.

As a parent, the most important thing you can do is be there for them and be a listening ear. Unfortunatly, even parents don't sometimes have the answers. The worst thing that a parent can do though in my opinion, is to just tell someone to "get over it", to say "it's not real", to just "think positively" and to kind of ignore it. This suggests to them, that mental health shouldn't be talked about and is bad, which of course is not the case. After all, mental illness can kill just like a physical illness, so it's important to take it seriously and not brush it aside.

In terms of getting help, there's a range of services out there, which sometimes can be hard to find. Nevertheless, both the public and private sector have options to help. All your child wants is support, so it's always nice to know that a parent will support them through finding therapy, going to the doctors and taking medication, if that may be the case.

Mental health is also a very sensitive subject, and hence why I think it's important for my mental health to only be discussed with those I trust and not told to others which may make the situation worse, and to make me feel uncomfortable.

Again, I am not a parent, but this has been the most beneficial for me. Let them know that you can talk to them, even if you may feel awkward about it. Discussing what kind of support each person wants whilst going through these mental health issues, is also important. "What makes the person feel safe?" "What makes them feel comfortable?" As I'm sure many sufferers can relate, we don't want to be smothered with mental health talk all of the time! But, battling mental illness is often too difficult to cope with on your own and this why a support network is beneficial. 

I know it's hard for both sides, but trying your best to talk is a great step in the road to recovery. You can do this!

I'll leave you with a video, which may help begin your conversation on mental health:

I am not disordered

Hi! I’m Aimee from

Amy, has kindly asked me to write a guest post about being an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital to give some insight for those who have never been admitted.

I was first sectioned in 2009 when I took my first overdose in response to auditory hallucinations and I remember having absolutely no idea what was going on. I’d heard horror stories about our local psychiatric hospital and the police and hospital staff kept using terminology that I had never heard and didn’t understand; no one thought to explain it all to me.
In my second admission, I was sent to a PICU for the first time; a PICU is a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and once again, the seriousness of this was never explained to me, I just remember being told that the doors were locked. A Unit that is meant for some of the most mentally unwell people was used because I kept escaping from the open ward and the police told hospital staff they could not keep looking for me every single time I ran. That PICU was where I met my first inpatient friend; she persuaded me to finally tell people about my trauma and although I also had my first experience of ‘seclusion’ (a slightly padded room that you are usually kept in after needing to be restrained and sedated) there, it still wasn’t a particularly memorable experience. My third admission was the result of a ‘psychotic episode’ in which I’d become completely lost and consumed with my hallucinations and delusions. I was kept on a PICU for about three months and I saw a lot of poorly people, one of which, assaulted me. I was later told that this admission was used to determine whether I had psychosis.

From then (early 2010) until summer 2012, I never spent more than a month in hospital though I was admitted many times as I continued to overdose, self-harm and experience hallucinations. I was eventually diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and on one of my numerous admissions, a Doctor advised that my community team begin looking into a specialist hospital for me. I didn’t even know places like that existed! The first hospital I was assessed for, refused to accept my risk and I remember thinking ‘I’m never going to get better; no one will give me the chance.’ Then finally, I was admitted to a specialist ward in a private hospital, two and half hours away from home.

I've been here for 23 months now and as cliché as it sounds, it’s been a rollercoaster! Being an inpatient for so long has its positives and negatives. Probably the best thing has been that it’s meant my Doctors have gotten to know me properly which has meant they’ve got a better understanding of things. Another positive is that because it’s a long-term ward, I've made some amazing friends and I'm actually getting better because that’s what this ward is for. All of my previous admissions have either been about keeping me safe or trying to break my cycle of self-harm, so no hospital has ever actually tried to work through the causes for all of this. The two main negatives that I see are being away from home for so long and it’s sometimes quite an intense environment to be ‘living’ in. There’s always going to be some girls that don't get along and I've witnessed many arguments and even a few physical fights. There’s also the odd upset from staff when there’s a lack in communication/organisation or a let-down. But ultimately, I’m so grateful that my funding was approved for me to be here; this hospital has genuinely saved my life.

Life Lessons

I asked for the help of the people of twitter again for today's post. I wanted to be able group together people's life lessons, favourite quotes and things they would tell their younger self in the hope that others could benefit from it. If you have something you would like to share, don't forget to leave a comment down below.

I tell myself everyday, that today is going to be ok. - Angela Wood

Every time you give in to your fear and retreat, you are feeding the illness. Soldier on, it will boost your confidence! - BlueBelle

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain'. Sent by Gemma Sturgess.

"Nothing needs to be the end of the world". Anxiety makes this hard to believe, but it's true. - Lexie Mayhew

Do NOT start smoking - Mez Jones

"Live as if you are going to die tomorrow" - Sent by Mez Jones

Have the courage to be yourself, for many people are very understanding and supportive (most of the time!) - Dr Andrew K Black

Talk to a trusted person about your anxiety and emotions. Seek help sooner. Knowing others have the same helps - Dig-iT

Sent by Daenerys Targaryen

Live life and be true to yourself. Get help with your depression and psychological help about all have fun and smile - Mitch Mitchell.

To my younger self - laugh often, be mentally/physically good to yourself, encourage others, pray - Generally anxious

A life of fear and avoidance leads to a small and unfulfilling life. Still fighting my way out after 20+ years if it. - Ian Hoadley

Read 'Peace is every step' by Thich Nhat Hanh - David Czekaj

However strong you are, we all have a tipping point. Don't beat yourself up. When you're at your lowest, the only way is up - Lisa.

"What you focus your attention on, grows. Remember the good times, laugh often and forgive 
and let go of the past" - Sent by Kirsty Ellis.

Grab every opportunity, don't wait for it to happen or you'll still be sitting there when you get to my age. #havenoregrets - Weller is God

Sent by Pete Cropley
I would tell my younger self "You're allowed to not always be at your best. It's ok to fail, that's how you learn." Hugh Gallagher

All you need is awareness - Roger

Advice to my younger self "Have the guts to just be yourself, we are all different in so many 
special ways" - Brian Daly

Instead of wasting energy on the things you can't change, accept them and focus on the things you can - Girly Girl

People who matter love you for who you are. Don't think about what others think, they don't matter - Stacy Leigh K

"Everything's going to be alright in the end, if it's not alright, it's not the end!" - Sent by Surena Chande

"Failure is a good thing. But once you've failed, there's nothing to be afraid of anymore" - Sent by Skye McAdams

"Whatever happens tomorrow, we've had today" Skye McAdams

Note: There may not be very many blog posts over these next few weeks as I have a lot of exams to prepare for. I probably won't be able to stick to the routine of posting on every Thursday and Sunday for a while either, but I will try my best! 

Best wishes,

If you were struggling with your mental health...

Yesterday, I asked for the help of the lovely people of twitter. I wanted to make a blog post to show others that they are not alone in their battle against mental health and thankfully, quite a few people were very supportive. They all completed the sentence "If you were suffering from mental health, I would..." Before I write the answers, please don't forget to share this with someone who needs it. Often, reading that so many people offer support is just what people need.
If you were struggling with your mental health, I would...
Reach out to someone close to you and have hope - Emma Wakeling

Talk to people, true friends will understand - Nigel Moore

Acknowledge that it's a real illness and try not to feel ashamed or weak. Also, be kind to yourself, be kind to yourself - Scarlett Curtis

Talk to someone and don't shut close family and friends out - Miss B

Stand by you no matter what - Starlet Survivor

Tell you that you will get better - Pete Cropley

Talking is the best therapy. Find someone you trust and tell them how you are feeling. A problem shared in a problem halved. - Kb

Hug you and tell you are not alone. - Emmie Lou

Always talk about how I am feeling with close family and friends - S Harte-Latremouille

Offer you a listening ear or a hug. Or both - Jen

Give you time to talk - Teresa Tinsel

Approach somebody about it, speaking about it has changed my life! Don't suffer in silence, you don't deserve to - Anna

Tell you that you are not alone and I will listen. Talking about it decreases the hold it has on you.
Don't blame yourself. Be kind to yourself, relief will come soon enough. - Noll

Listen. Be there. Bring cupcakes (I bake when I don't know how to help) and make tea - Kim

Tell you that I understand and am here for you - Kendra Kantor

Say never hide how you truly feel to enable you to get the help you need - Heart of Totnes

I'd say don't suffer in silence, talk about it, seek help otherwise your problems will only exacerbate - Blue Belle

Try to understand - Duncan green

I would tell you that everyone suffers differently. Don't feel like a failure is your symptoms aren't "textbook" - Jeni Smith

I would get a friend to help you or family, it worked for me - Mary Scales

Offer you unconditional support - Adam Male

Do what I could to help. Give you a big hug until it stopped hurting - Miss Laurie Aschcroft

Hold your hand - Marty

Please believe the people who tell you like will get better - Carrie

Don't be afraid to talk to friends - Noll

Do my best to understand - Debbie Blythe

I would eat a piece of chocolate and check in with my support system - LasMesha

I hope this has helped you in some way. If it has, please share it. Remember that you're never alone, what you've just read is a prime example!

Best Wishes,

I've left school

Friday was my last official day at school.14 years of education has finally come to an end and it's the strangest thing.

For those of you who've read my post on school, you'll know that I've had severe struggles with it. Who would have thought I'd ever be writing a post about leaving school at the end of an academic year, rather than writing a post about leaving because my condition meant I had to. I guess it's an accomplishment! But, it's still weird to think i'll no longer be looking out of my bedroom window (unless I fail & have to retake!) hoping that one day I'd be able to make it to school, just like any other person. It's the weirdest thing and I almost can't explain it. I spent days in turmoil because I couldn't get to school and all of these past two years trying really hard to get into school. Only recently has it become easier, but just when I'm getting used to it, it's time to leave. 

14 years is a very long time and it's difficult to write about it in so little words. I suppose I could say that I've learnt a lot, I've grown as a person, there have been awful times, but there have been brilliant times and all of it I will never forget. I know I've missed a lot over these last few years, whether that be making memories or learning in lessons and even though it's painful to think of it, I know that I've got memories that I can cherish.
Best Blogger Award!

I will never forget my teachers either and it's true to say that most people don't. Over these past couple of years especially, I have seen how much effort is put into keeping the school running and students going and I am extremely grateful. My teachers have been amazing and I'll never forget the support they've put in place to help me through some extremely difficult times. They, alongside my family and friends have kept me going.

If you follow me on twitter, you'll know I tweeted about the 'best blogger award'. Friday was our leaving assembly and as part of it, various people were given awards. A few months ago, my teachers found my blog and thus the award was given for blog writing, helping others and recognising my general struggle. I really appreciate the thought.

I suppose it's time to conclude this post. Well, It's come to the end of an era and it hasn't quite sunk in yet. I'll never have another lunchtime at school or a lesson, but as sad as it is and as fast as time is going by, this is the end of another chapter which I know I can revisit. It's so strange, as I remember the first time I met one of my teachers when I was 5 like it was yesterday. I'm 18 now and I'm wondering where all of the time has gone; It goes so incredibly fast.

If there's one thing left to write, it's that "life is short" and It does sound cliche, but it's true. Time is incredibly precious and it's stops for no man. I hope that you spend it wisely and do what makes you happy. If you find yourself in a difficult place at the moment, whether that's in terms of mental health or not, please keep going. I know you feel time is passing you by and you have lack of control, but you will get there in the end. I spent many a day thinking that the only way to survive was to quit school, but I held on and I'm here now at the other side. It's true to say, I'd never thought I'd see the day.

Thank you to everyone who has played a part in keeping me going over these past few years throughout school - you know who you are! It has been an extremely hard and without the support, I don't know where I'd be. It's true - people really do leave an impact on your life and it's important to cherish them.

Until next time,

What is therapy like?

If you've read my last blog post, then you'll know that I've left therapy. For many of you the word 'therapy' may scare you, but I promise you it's not as bad as you may think. Perhaps it's the unknown that is daunting, but in order to improve I'd argue therapy is the best way to go. Therapy can come in a range of different forms, both private and on the NHS and can include hypnotherapy, CBT and general counselling amongst other things.

In terms of how it works, you first have to apply. From my experience, I went to the doctor to ask about what's the best counselling service, but unfortunately they weren't much help in terms of giving me places to go to. But, I'd still advise you to see the doctor first as a number one priority. In the end, both my mum and I had to go on our own hunt to get an application for NHS counselling. I had applied via a form and my parent talking on the phone. After a few weeks, I was put on a waiting list, which unfortunately was very long. As my condition was deteriorating, I had to go and find a private hypnotherapist, which helped me through a bit of counselling and visualisation work. Hypnotherapy isn't what you think - no one is trying to get you In a trance!

After a while, I was eventually given counselling on the NHS. I had initial meeting where I had to fill in forms and answer questions about my condition. At first, I didn't feel comfortable with the therapist that I was seeing, so I asked for someone different and one which was closer to my home town. It began with the therapist telling me a bit about herself and me having to fill in depression and anxiety forms. I was allowed to bring a family member with me and after explaining my experience in detail, which was very hard, my therapist decided to choose a therapy for me, which was CBT.

Each therapist you have on the NHS has a certain number of appointments they're allowed to make, before you move on to someone else. Each session with my therapists consisted of filling in depression and anxiety charts, risk assessments and a bit of chat before being set goals for CBT. You can read my CBT post, here. Each week I would go out and try my best to complete each goal, which was challenging to say the least!

After a while, I had to be moved to see another therapist, where the appointments were longer. There was still aspects of CBT, but more talking about the root causes and trying to change my mindset. The appointments didn't just take place at my local doctors practice, but she would come to the house if I couldn't make it to the practice. With some of CBT challenges, she would come with me. For example, if I had to catch a train. This was really helpful as I had someone to help me through it.

After almost two years in therapy and now taking medication, it was decided that I was well enough to leave, which I discussed in this postTherapy may be hard in the beginning, because anxiety makes you want to run away from all social interaction possible. But, talking and exposure through CBT has been so beneficial. Please don't bottle up your feelings and please seek professional help if you feel you need it. 

If you have any more questions about my experience with therapy, then feel free to ask.

Best wishes,