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,

I've left therapy!

As it says in the title, I've left therapy. For those of you who are regular readers, you'll know that I've had three different types of therapy including CBT, hypnotherapy and general counselling both private and on the NHS. I spent many months battling to get therapy, but it has been the best thing that I have done; especially CBT. It has helped a lot and I advise anyone considering it, to at least put your name down as we all need a helping hand once in a while.

I must admit it is a very strange position to be in. After almost two years of speaking and challenges, it has been decided that I am well enough to leave. I suppose I'm both happy and sad; happy because of the improvements I thought I would never make, but I suppose I'm nervous that I don't have the support anymore. I have learnt a lot and I have improved a lot and for that I am grateful. Of course, I still have bad days and days in which I need help, but that's normal in recovery. 

All of people that have helped me through my therapy, have been amazing and I am very grateful for that. Remember, if at first you don't get on with your chosen therapist, there are many others out there that you may feel comfortable talking to. I know that it's hard, but unfortunately the main way to improve is through talking. I know many people have reservations about talking to a stranger and believe me in the height of my anxiety, I was petrified. But, as time moved on the easier it became. I knew I had to talk to someone, whether I wanted to or not.

I wish you all the best on your recoveries and remember, talking to someone is one of the best things you can do; especially a professional! Please, please don't feel ashamed either - there is nothing to be ashamed about, you are just trying to get better.

Just a quick note before I end this post; unfortunately there'll be no post on Sunday as I will be preparing for my German exam. Wish me luck, eh!

Best wishes,

Very inspiring blogger award

Yesterday, I found out that the lovely Anna from 'A whole lot of chitty chat' had nominated me for the very inspiring blogger award - Thank you!

The rules are as followed...
1. Link the person who nominated you.
2. List rules & display the award.
3. Share 7 things/facts about you.
4. Nominate 7 bloggers who inspire you.
5. Let them know you have nominated them.

Seven facts
It's hard to decide what to write, but here goes:
  1. I enjoy cycling and am planning to go on a cycling holiday this summer, which I may do for charity.
  2. I love going to music concerts and have been to many in the past.
  3. I plan to study Law at university.
  4. I can speak two languages; English and German (German, with varied success!)
  5. I have an obsession with jackets and coats (rather than shoes)
  6. I'm quite a deep thinker, so I love talking about world wide issues, finding quotes etc.
  7. I used to do Gymnastics when I was younger.
Nominate seven bloggers:
  1. I'd like to nominate Anna again!
  2. Finding Positives
  3. Anxious Ally
  4. The hopeful hummingbird
  5. Calm kitchen
  6. Laura lou rambles with you
  7. Upbeat uplifts
All of these blogs try to help others in some way or another, whether that's through talking about mental health or other issues; it's what I admire. I wish I could have nominated some others, but for the rest of the blogs out there who are sharing their stories; you're doing a great job. 

Best Wishes,

Miracle of medication

Mental health always seems to be surrounded by the word 'medication'. It's true to say that there are many people with mental health that don't take medication, but there are those that do and that's nothing to be ashamed of. What we must remember is that mental illness can affect people in the same way as a physical illness and should be and gradually is being treated with the same respect. It's also important to remember that one in four of us are going to experience a mental health condition in any one year, so why should those with the conditions not have the same help? Hence, if someone needs medication to live a 'normal' life then they have every right to do so and the medication is just a part in trying to heal and repair a part of the body. This is just like if someone were to take blood pressure tablets; it's all helping. 

I must admit that I was very reluctant to take any medication because of stigma and future prospects, but in the end it was a matter of enjoying my life once more or to carry on struggling. In the end after months, if not years of deliberation I decided to take medication. I know there are some out there who say "natural remedies are best", "medication isn't good" and so on. But, I had tried everything possible; herbal remedies, exercise, breathing techniques, visualisation, changing my diet, CBT, hypnotherapy and counselling. Although the CBT was the one thing that benefited me the most, nothing was making a massive difference. The continued absence from school and nothingness in life was no way to live and thus it was advised that medication was the way to go.

Luckily, the first medication I was prescribed was the one for me. It took a few weeks for it to work and to get the dose right, but after that it has been a great help. I can only describe it like a miracle. I am now going to school more often and it is less of a struggle than it was, I'm also doing things I used to do with more ease. I'd be lying if I said "I don't struggle anymore", but anxiety is less present. I still have bad days and there are things that anxiety still interferes with and things that I struggle to do and avoid. But, this is just something I still have to work on. 

What people often forget is that mental illness is often an imbalance of chemicals and medication helps to balance this out, just like taking medication for thyroid, for example. I think people see it as a problem because people cannot see mental illness and thus don't believe in the devastating effects it can have on the person, there is still the use of stereotypes and there is also the belief that all medication is addictive and makes you lose yourself. Of course, this isn't true.

Medication has improved my life more than I could have imagined. I was extremely skeptical at first, but it's better to enjoy life a bit more than to worry about the stigma. Please don't forget if you feel you are struggling, see the doctor and do what's right for you. Don't give up. 

Best Wishes,

Control worrying

Whenever someone thinks of anxiety, the first thing that usually comes to the mind is 'worry'. Yes, it is true that most of us anxiety sufferers worry, but not all in the way you'd expect. There are so many types of anxiety disorders that people's worries can come in all shapes and forms, whether that's through health anxiety or panic disorder and there may be certain triggers. But, even if this is the case; everyday we are prone to worry and many people have asked me how best to stop worrying, so I have compiled a few tips that may help you:

1. Write down your worries - writing you problems down not only relieves the stress, but if you organise them too, you can start a plan of action to combat your troubles.

2. One day at a time - often when you look at the big picture, you will start to become overwhelmed; I know the feeling! Thus, by taking one day at at time; organising that day and only focusing on what you are capable of doing in that day, you will be in control.

3. Talking - often when you talk to someone else about a problem, they may have a few wise words which may help you see things in a different light. I understand that not everyone has somebody to talk to, but there are charities if you feel you can talk to no one else.

4. Yoga - This may not be for you, but I often find that when you do yoga, you can have some piece of mind for a few minutes. Alongside this, you will be able to relax.

5. Understand - the most important, but perhaps hardest thing to grasp is that worrying doesn't change a thing. A very famous speech titled 'Wear Sunscreen' noted "worrying is as useful as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum". In other words, it doesn't change a thing. There are absolutely no benefits from worry. Thus, it might be better to go with the flow.
Best Wishes,