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Mental Health

What’s In My Grounding Box?

Having to deal with depression and anxiety daily for years, I’ve had time to try a bunch of different techniques to help me cope with the effects. Mindfulness, exercise, therapy and even podcasts. The problem is that they either don’t work or I’ve become almost desensitised to the benefits after a while. It’s that or I just have a really weird head that gets bored with things quickly.

To be honest, it’s probably the latter!

Since I’ve tried the more common ways, I tried to create my own way to ground myself. My depression and anxiety love to hit me at the same time. Much the same as a child’s Christmas Eve box of goodies, I have a box of personal things to help keep me calm.

Photo by Luku Muffin on Unsplash

What is a Grounding Box?

A grounding box/a self-soothe box is a box of items that help calm and relax you when you’re panicking, stressed or in a low mood. It’s different to everyone that has one. What you might find calming might not work for anyone else. We’re just made that way!

It’s better to make this kind of box when your mood is positive. That way you’re able to think clearer and pick items that mean something to you.

Even though your box is unique, it’s important to include sensory items. They’re super helpful for grounding:

  • Sight
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Sound
  • Taste

What’s in my Grounding Box?

The thing you’ve all been waiting for! The actual content of this blog post. I tend to waffle when I’ve done research into a subject. I wanted to make sure that I did this right. All of the items below might seem weird to you but they really help me.

Sight:

For the sight portion of my box, I have pictures of my parents. While thinking of them really hurts sometimes, it leads me to start thinking of my childhood does make me smile. It’s fun to think of all the stupid memories that are connected to the pictures.

I have their wedding photos (I was only a sparkle in their eye but I still remember what my mum told me), postcards with positive affirmations (my friend Lindsey gave me those), snaps of places I’ve visited (Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Los Angeles) and more.

I also have a cat book that talks about autism but is full of cat photos! My friend Kate got it for my birthday this year and it’s so cute!

Smell:

Smell is a big sense for me and I’m not talking about my massive nose! I’ve always been sensitive to different smells (both positive and negative). To help keep me relaxed, I have two scents connected to my parents. There’s Chanel No.5 for my mum and Brut for my dad. Whenever I smell these I just feel happy. My dad always bought Chanel for Mum as a gift and I continued to buy it after he passed away. Brut was my dad’s favourite aftershave and I would always smell this whenever he was getting ready to go out.

I have a small spray of each in the box for whenever I miss them. I even sprayed my memory teddy with Mum’s perfume for during the night,

Touch:

Another fun sense for me. I have a brain stress ball that Mum gave me years ago that I still squeeze to this day. My box also has a fidget cube that I love playing with, especially the button I can click and move around. Even though I can’t fit these next two items into my box, I still have them close by:

The weighted blanket was a birthday present to me. I’ve been wanting to own one of these for years but they were always super expensive. After seeing a friend chatting about hers on Twitter, I discovered this blanket that was so much cheaper! It’s a gorgeous pale pink and I’ve been lying with it over me during anxiety attacks. It feels great!

Sound:

I’m super sensitive to sound so have to be picky with what I choose for my box. Even as I type this post, I can hear my new neighbour’s booming voice. It’s grating on my nerves but I have my red blanket to play with. I have the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and Enya on my old iPod (yes, I still use mine! haha!) to listen to. There is something really soothing about these two soundtracks. Enya has an incredible voice and the Fellowship of the Rings/Chronicles of Narnia make me feel safe.

Not in my box but use it with my box: my spotify playlist called Music That Makes Me Feel Better. Basically a 12h list of songs that do just that! I can listen to it when I feel the start of anxiety or when I’m sleepy.

Taste:

The final sensory group in my box and the one I have to be a little careful with. Normally I could have a bar of my favourite chocolate in there or different snacks but these actually trigger me more. The life of having an eating disorder, I guess. Instead of snacks, I have relaxing teabags from Pukka and Heath & Heather! They make my favourite kinds of herbal tea and the tea also keeps me hydrated.

Normally I wouldn’t be too far in my head to grab water so tea does the trick.

What would be in your Grounding Box?

Grounding Box

Lifestyle Mental Health

How I’ve Been Coping With My Binge-Eating Disorder

If you’ve been following my mental health journey over the last few years then you’ll know that I’m currently battling a binge-eating disorder. Weight has been a demon of mine I’ve battling ever since I was a teenager.

Before I carry on with this post, I’m going to pop a TRIGGER WARNING right here.I will be chatting a little bit about my BED history and therapy so don’t want to trigger anyone. You’re more than welcome to read some of my other random blog posts.

Where did all my problems with eating begin? This post will explain all about my nightmare with food and what caused me to lose all kinds of control with it. Even to this day I can’t read my own post due to being triggered by it. It’s something I’m working on in therapy.

Late last year I contacted a local eating disorder charity called First Steps to be assessed for possible therapy. I’d already done general therapy but these guys would focus solely on my eating disorder. The assessment was an experience for me since I’m still trying to learn how not to feel guilty. Guilt is a major thorn in my side.

That’s where my brain is at right now.

binge-eating disorder

I started my ED therapy on 13th January with another wonderful trainee called Lisa. I was pretty nervous on my first session with her because I had to have my camera on. It’s something I try to avoid whenever possible but I’m kind of not allowed to. They understand that it’s difficult for sufferers but it’s one hurdle I’m managing to overcome. It’s a little easier on the phone because the camera is pretty teeny so I don’t have to see my face. Haha.

You’re probably wondering what my sessions have been consisting of.

It has mostly had a jumble of usual therapy stuff (chatting about my past and my emotions) and also focusing on my relationship with food. If you’ve suffered with either a binge-eating disorder or any kind of eating disorder, then you’ll understand how awful it can be to think about food.

It’s crazy to think that something vital to our lives can also have a negative impact.  I feel so many different emotions when we chat about my week and food diary:

  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Relief

Over the first 4 sessions we’ve spoken about my relationship with bread and how my disorder is almost a type of self-harm. I never thought about it that way before but it makes sense. Every time my ED has flared up, something traumatic has happened in my life. Whether it’s after being bullied or a death in my family. I gained a whole bunch of weight after my dad died, then went down to 8st after my GP said I was morbidly obese at 12st and then put all the weight back on after mum died.

So many little connections.

Something I love about therapy is that you’re not judged. You can literally talk about anything (within reason) and not have to worry. My brain does worry about what she’s thinking but I have to let those fears go. I have 15 sessions left to go with Lisa and I’m really hoping to finally make some progress with this. I’m tired of these thoughts and need to take back control.

Even though I’ve lived through these 4 sessions, I literally can’t remember everything we talk. A lot of it is just talking on the spot, sometimes sharing my mood tracker (which Lisa really seemed to love) and going over my mood. One day I could be okay and the next I feel like I want to disappear. I hate having to think about myself when I know others are struggling much more than me.

We did come to the conclusion that my eating habits and body image may be genetic. Both my parents struggled with their weight so it was a sure thing that I would as well. I guess it just depends what happens in a person’s life to kick-start a particular way of thinking. Mine came in the form of bullying, genetics and life. One of my dreams for doing all this is to not only eat what I want without thinking about the consequences and feel comfortable in my body.

The other things I can do with First Steps are some workshops. These are group activities and carry on for as long as I want them, even when the therapy is over. These are some of the workshops I can take part in:

  • Dance Movement
  • Skills for Carers
  • Art Creative Workshop
  • Eating Disorder in Student Services
  • Waiting Well Support Group
  • Thursday All Ages Support Group
  • Body Image Workshops
  • Stand Up (Comedy) To Mental Health Recovery

I’m excited to work on my body image because it’s an utter nightmare right now. I can’t look at my reflection in anything without wanting to cry or avoid. It’s my goal this year to think at least one nice thing about myself and I will do it! I had been planning to do a diary entry post about my therapy sessions but I’m not sure how well this one will do. Let’s see!

If you’re struggling with any kind of eating disorder, don’t suffer alone. There are more of us out there than you think and, like First Steps says, ‘eating disorders are not just about being underweight’. They come in many different forms and your feelings are justified!

Have you ever had to deal with a binge-eating disorder personally or through family?

binge-eating disorder

 

Mental Health

How Music Can Boost Your Mental Health

A couple of years ago I wrote a post introducing my Spotify playlists. I have a weird jumble of music tastes from Taylor Swift to BritPop to film soundtracks. In it I mentioned that music can be both a great up-lifter and helps my mental health when it kicks in.

Out of all the things I’ve used over the years to help me, music has definitely been the top pick. It has a certain magic to bring back forgotten emotions, turn you into a child and motivate you to work harder. I’ve used it to push me through deadlines, to forget I’m sweating on a treadmill and ignore noisy neighbours. I even studied music for a GCSE at school (and passed! Haha!).

I thought I’d chat about why I think it’s a great way to boost your mental health! Let me know in the comments if any of these connect with you!

MusicPhoto by rupixen.com on Unsplash

Music literally makes you feel happier

We all know that chocolate makes us happy (mmm…), but according to scientists, listening to your favourite artist/song releases dopamine (the happy hormone in your brain). I have a happy playlist to listen to whenever I need to smile or want to think better thoughts.

What’s on it?

A lot of Taylor Swift songs and nearly all three of the Chronicle of Narnia soundtracks.

I know what I like and these are what I like! Haha!

Music tends to mean fun

Whenever you think of music it usually means dancing, listening to live music or maybe even filming a TikTok. I’m one of those unique people who never went clubbing or regularly listened to music at person. On the few occasions that I did, I was at my local arena watching my favourite bands:

  • Steps
  • Boyzone
  • McFly

Not many but I did see them multiple times which was amazing!

I do remember dancing to Steps and Spice Girls when I was a kid and amazed that I still remember a lot of them. I guess that was what bands did. Made easy dances for you to do! I even got my mum to do a couple of dances which was hilarious.

When your mental health takes over your life, it’s easy to forget what fun is. If music gives you that back (even a little bit), then don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself!

Music allows you to escape

Just like reading, music lets you escape from a bad day or from the hustle and bustle of a packed train. Listening to Taylor on the early morning commutes to university made things so much easier. I do love mornings but it takes me a long time to wake my brain up.

Anyone can wake themselves up to Shake It Off!

Sometimes my thoughts can’t handle the here and now and want to take me back to when life was less complicated. As I’m writing this post I’m listening to Boyzone’s version of She Moves Through The Fair. I constantly rewinded my Walkman to hear this song over and over on trips up to Scotland. It’s so relaxing and haunting! Perfect for an Irish band!

These days I have a lot of those older songs on my Spotify and it’s just nice to look back fondly.

Music helps you to connect

No matter what mental health condition you have (whether it be depression, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia…), it can be hard to connect with other people. You might have been bullied/harrassed in response to it or scared to be judged for it because of stigma. Believe me, I’m right there with you. To this day I haven’t told many of my IRL friends about my depression or anxiety.

Maybe they’ll stumble on my blog one day and make life easier for me…

It’s amazing how easy connecting with other people is when it comes to music. You might have shown love for a recent song/band over social media and mutuals have contacted you to show the same love! I’ve done that a few times for Taylor Swift and have friends go ‘OMG YES!! ME TOO!’. Got to love when that happens!

Fingers crossed that 2021 allows us to go back to concerts!

What are your thoughts on music boosting your mental health?

Music

Mental Health

2020: The Year That Silenced My Voice Everywhere

A couple of you may have noticed that I haven’t been active during 2020. If you have known me for a while, then you know I never shut up usually. Whether it’s chatting away to people on Twitter or commenting on a bunch of blogs, I was always around somewhere.

However communication has never been easy for me.

For the first couple of years of my life I didn’t really talk. I spoke to my family fine but never felt comfortable talking to others. I was constantly told I was shy and that I lacked confidence. If only they knew that I was actually autistic. As I grew older and discovered acting, I found my voice. I was able to chat more with people and make a few friends. I was still incredibly awkward but I tried.

Unfortunately 2020 really smashed all of the progress I’d been making over the last few years.

It stole my voice in more ways than one.

2020

I first noticed that I was talking less a week or so into the first lockdown. Since I live alone I don’t particularly talk to anyone anyway. If I do, it’s usually to say hello or good morning. I was on a course at the time and we were having to talk over Zoom like a lot of people. I started not wanting to chat verbally to everyone and preferred to type. It wasn’t compulsory that I had to talk so I didn’t.

Things just started to snowball from there.

From choosing not to speak on Zoom to not answering a phone call to not chatting online.

The world was just too much and I guess I just felt safer in my own little bubble. I could hide away and no-one would notice. Obviously that was my mental health talking. You don’t realise that until the last second. I just didn’t know what I could say to people. They had their own problems to deal with and it was almost as if I’d forgotten how to talk.

2020 had stolen the voices of a lot of people this year.

We haven’t been able to see barely anyone and it has been mad!

So…have I struggled as much as I have? There is a saying that if you don’t use something, it becomes rusty. That seems to have happened with me. I didn’t have news to share, couldn’t post anything blog-related and my life was just boring. People did try to chat with me more (love you, Lindsey!) but I lost my words.

My days ended up consisting of sleeping, journalling and Youtube.

My mental health has been such a pain in the bum. Just when you think it’s going to leave you alone, it pops up. Another thing that prevented me chatting are the reminders. Being reminded constantly that I have no family closeby to see (as my bubble) or friends to see from a distance. As selfish as it sounds, it made me feel worse. I have no-one for Christmas but myself. It hurts so much and has always been my worst nightmare.

I am striving to do better just by writing this post. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever be perfect at this communicating thing but I will try. I refuse to let 2020 make me go mute and back a decade. Too much work was put into talking more.

If anyone else has been going through the same problem, let’s talk to other. We can say hi, ask how our days have been and even something random like cats. We’re all in this together! Hopefully 2021 will treat us better and enable us to rediscover our voices.

Have you struggled with anything like this during the year?

Lifestyle Mental Health

5 Survival Tips For Living With Noisy Neighbours

If you have followed me on Twitter for the last couple of years, then you may have read tweets about my noisy neighbours. I was told that the area I lived in was lovely and quiet and, for the most part, it was. Except for the two sets of neighbours downstairs.

The people down below me were alcoholics and their neighbours were drug addicts.

You can imagine some of the fun I had with them. From loud music until midnight to windows being smashed and constant daily yelling matches. My mental health really took a massive down turn especially when lockdown started. Not being able to escape the noise was a nightmare!!

That’s why I needed to find ways to stay sane.

noisy neighboursPhoto by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

Purchase noise-cancelling headphones

This might seem a tad over the top but I literally would have snapped if I didn’t have my headphones/ear protectors. Whenever the yelling started or went on for too long, I just grabbed these and distracted myself. I popped on my ‘Music That Makes Me Feel Better’ playlist on Spotify and prayed that they would eventually stop.

I’ll be honest and say that these didn’t always work.

Sometimes I just didn’t want to put them on and ended up in tears. Why did I have to put up with 6 hours of music blaring through my floor?

Knowing I wouldn’t be escaping them for a long time, I bought myself some BEATS Studio 3 Noise-Cancelling Earphones. These were pretty expensive but I needed them to work!

Keep a diary

This was a tip given to me by my local council.

If I was to have any chance of complaining about my noisy neighbours in future, I had to keep evidence of what they did and when they did it. The things they told me to jot down were:

  • How loud is the noise? Is it annoying?
  • When does the noise occur? Is it early morning or late at night?
  • How long does the noise occur?
  • How often does it happen?
  • Would an average person find the noise disruptive? Do you have a sensitivity to noise?

It was irritating that I had to jot down these since it happened so often but I needed proof. The most annoying thing was that you could only just hear it on recordings I took. You had to be there to hear how loud they were being.

Talk to your neighbours

The first thing your local council will probably get you to do is chat to your neighbours first.

As someone who hates any kind of confrontation, this was extremely difficult. I didn’t want to be the one causing a problem to them. It sounds dumb but that’s just me. If your noisy neighbours are generally okay to chat to, then just chat with them about it. You’d be surprised how many people don’t even realise that their music/TV is that loud, especially if they have hearing problems.

Only do this if it’s safe to do though.

There was no chance in hell of talking to the addicts. They were too violitile and honestly terrified me! A lot of the people on my street are elderly and were too scared to report in fear of retaliation.

Related post: 5 Frustrating Habits I’ve Developed While In Lockdown

Call the police

I lost count the amount of times I secretly called the police on the addicts. You know when you see clips of people crouched in a ball and whispering into their phone in case they were heard? That was me at least 5 times this year. You literally can hear everything through my walls and floors. Since I knew the people below me chatted with the people next door, I was scared that they would tell them who called.

Thankfully the 101/999 call handlers were really understanding.

Never be scared to call the police if you feel like a situation is getting out-of-hand and/or dangerous. When I heard full-on yelling outside, I didn’t immediately react because it wasn’t new to me. However I did get scared when they started banging on windows, doors and then smashing the window.

I found out recently that these calls helped in getting them evicted.

Talk to someone

Everyone in lockdown has felt trapped in their own homes.

It doesn’t matter if you live alone or with family, you’re still dealing with the same problem. As much as we’d love empathy to be real, people don’t always know what you’re feeling unless you tell them. If you’re living alone, chat to friends or family you feel close to about the situation. They might not have experience of what you’re going through but they might be able to give advice you didn’t think about.

What advice would you give for surviving noisy neighbours?

noisy neighbours

Mental Health

How Therapy Sessions Have Helped My Mental Health

TRIGGER WARNING: This therapy post will touch upon issues of depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

As of last week I finished my therapy sessions with my clinical psychologist. She was still in training and coming to the end of her placement so couldn’t continue. She told me that she was sending me a summary of everything we’d been up to over the last few months at the end. I thought this would be a great opportunity to look back on my little therapy journey and chat about the different techniques we tried.

Some of this was both super interesting and very difficult.

Taking part in these kinds of situations and bringing up your past can be almost impossible to do. I’ll admit that I had a handful of weeks where I just couldn’t talk…at all. The thought of communicating hurt. That said, I don’t regret doing it at all and have taken steps on what to do next.

Hopefully this post will help you decide on whether therapy is the right choice for you or not.

therapyPhoto by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

According to my summary, we used the early sessions to try and make sense of how my ‘current difficulties’ might link back to the experiences I went through as a kid. It was incredible to see just how much I’d been affected by my childhood. We chatted about my severe bullying, the sexual harrassment I went through aged 11. That and losing my dad at 14.

It might not sound a lot but each of these experiences shattered me over and over again.

I told my therapist that they had left me feeling like I was different, worthless and unlovable. It’s probably why I really struggle connecting with or trusting other people. I’ve been trying to keep myself safe over the years by hiding myself away from others and wearing baggy clothes. I never realised how much of a bully I’d become to myself. Taking over from the school bullies and making my own life a misery.

As messed up as it sounds, these were my ways of coping. Obviously they had serious consequences: social isolation, depression, anxiety and an eating disorder.

Therapy taught me some really interesting theories regarding these issues such as the Set Point Theory. According to that, our bodies are controlled by genetics. Our parents gave us our looks, metabolism and apparently the possibility of weight gain/loss. My family weren’t necessarily the skinniest of people so it isn’t that surprising that I’m also plus-size.

Doesn’t mean I have to like though!!

We did a confidental questionnaire with questions we’d created and sent out to both her colleagues and some of my friends. I didn’t know who answered what but it shocked me that so many people had the same thought process as me. Knowing that I wasn’t alone did make me feel less weird. I was even concerned about a couple of people!

Other methods that we did to help were:

  • Doing a form of aversion therapy (looking at myself into a mirror, using Instagram filters and keeping a selfie on my phone).
  • Keeping a food diary
  • Reading documents in between sessions

To be honest I think this therapy only scratched the surface of what’s going on inside my head. It’s going to take me at least a decade of help. I’m currently on a waiting list for an Occupational Therapist to help me with my social issues and another list with an eating disorder clinic as an outpatient.

This pandemic has left me on the very edge but I’m still fighting.

If you want some of the documents that I received, I’ll leave a link to a couple of them below. Don’t be afraid to try therapy. It’s extremely difficult but it helps.

It’s different for everyone so what helped me might not help you. You and your therapist will figure out a plan together. I can’t wait to carry on my journey and to build on what I’ve learned over the last few months.

Have you ever done therapy? What were your thoughts?

Lifestyle Mental Health

5 Ways To Reset For The Upcoming Week

One of my favourite type of vlogs to watch on Youtube is looking at how people prepare for the upcoming week. They’re so much fun to watch and you get some amazing ideas on how to reset. There are a bunch of things you can do to get you ready for a brand new week! Whether you do nothing at all or try to get as much done as possible, it’s still your Sunday. Self-Care Sunday!

Let me know what you guys do to prepare for the week. I’m nosy, okay?

Tidy rooms

This isn’t something I always do on a Sunday.

It tends to depend, as everything does, on how my mental health is doing. There are days when I can stick on Spotify and get things sorted. Other days, I’m lucky if I can even do the dishes. I think there is a saying that ‘a tidy house makes a tidy mind’ and that is so true.

A big trigger of my anxiety is being untidy. I’ll be honest and say that I do have an okay flat, but I do tend to have piles of different things on my sofa. I accumulate it all during the week and I don’t have a lot of storage. If I keep it close to hand, I’ll be able to grab.

Tidy around and you’ll start the week all clean!

Do nothing

It’s a little contradictory that this one is doing nothing but yeah…do nothing.

Our weeks are usually pretty hectic (ignoring ‘Rona) and we don’t always have time to sit still. On Sundays, we can. Well, most of us. If you work Sundays, I admire you greatly!

What better thing to do than have a Sunday reset.

Reset yourself – mind, body and soul. Do some yoga, catch up on sleep, watch some Netflix and chill. They say Sundays are meant to be a day of rest!

Do some self-care

If you are doing nothing, that means you have time to self-care. I’m so guilty of not looking after myself any day of the week and it’s a serious problem. Maybe that’s why I watch so many videos. I’m living my best life through these vloggers!

  • Put on a face mask
  • Paint your nails
  • Have a nap
  • Read

Meal-prep for the week

Since we’re having a reset and preparing, why not get some meals cooked for the rest of the week? That will take one thing off your to-do list.

I’ve tried a couple of times to meal-prep but I’m still trying to find the best things to cook. I’m super indecisive especially when the weather is warm. I hate cooking when it’s super hot outside! People get hangry for food, I get hangry for being a freaking tap!

Create a plan

My favourite for all things to do during all this chaos!!

Life has been so unpredictable this year and I’ve hated it. All the things we were supposed to do went the metaphorical window and left us all with cabin fever. I’m hopeless when it comes to doing nothing since my brain doesn’t switch off. I have to be doing something!

That’s why I try to create a plan on my reset day. I write down all the things I want to do/need to do during the upcoming week and make a list. Which things are super important and need to be done earlier in the week, which can I delay to later in the day…

What things do you do to reset for the new week?

sunday reset

Lifestyle Mental Health

How Much Should We Really Share Online?

Share OnlinePhoto by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Over the last couple of decades, our prescence online has reached an all-time high! More and more people are using it to capture moments, share memories and following people they love. It’s crazy how addicted we have become on sharing everything and anything online.

From a baby’s birth to saying goodbye to drooling over food, we share it all.

I never realised how much we share online until I started thinking about it. While it’s easy to focus on the positives of social media, it got me wondering: do how much do we really share online? There are so many out there with power to ruin our entire online experience and sometimes even our lives. They troll, bully and blackmail with the info that you’ve put out there.

I promise I’m not trying to put people off using social media once it’s pretty vital to a blogger! I’m just typing out loud, that’s all.

No matter which social media you use (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube or Pinterest), there is always the possibility of being targeted. As a blogger, we’re in the unique circumstance of sharing our lives online. There aren’t many jobs/hobbies that do that (right now) and it’s something that we’re slowly starting to learn more about.

When I was 11, the internet didn’t even impact my life at all. I didn’t even own a computer or a mobile phone.

The only time I got to use a computer was at school and, even then, it was rare! We had a computer corridor we got to use every now and again and the screens were black with green writing. I think they were Acorn ones and the only excitement I got was playing a game called Castle of Riddles!

As I went through school, social media became more and more apparent. People were learning what selfies were, they were texting more and doing poke wars on Facebook. It wasn’t until I was leaving school that I was introduced to Twitter and I fell in love. It was so much fun seeing what your favourite celebs were thinking or doing. I wouldn’t say that I became addicted to social media because  my mum had already set a limit on online time.

2008 was when I started to write and share more of my life online. I fell in love with a website called RupertGrint.Net and actually joined them as a news poster at one point. I’m still friends with one of the girls who ran the site (hi Steph!). It was writing on this website that introduced me to writing posts of any kind and I fell in love. How could I have not known about this world sooner?! Eventually I discovered the downside of how much we share online.

I started to hear horror stories of girls being groomed by men, teens driven to suicide by trolls and data being leaked. Just those 3 things stopped me from sharing as much as I did. I deleted where I lived and just gave the county, didn’t give me my proper first name until a few years ago and wouldn’t post local pictures. Even to this day, I don’t even follow local accounts out of fear that people will track that.

Now that we literally share everything online, it’s scary! How much do you think we should share online? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially from my blogger friends!

Do you think we’re now at a point where we should be more careful or are we fine as we are?

Mental Health

Why I’ve Lost Myself To Depression Recently

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

TRIGGER WARNING: This will talk a lot about depression and negative thoughts so please don’t read if you’re struggling right.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written an honest-to-god kind of post, but I feel it’s right to. You may have noticed that I have been more odd than usual since the start of lockdown.

The truth is that I haven’t taken to this ‘new normal’ well. In fact it had made me the worst I’ve been for years. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to describe what my mental health has been like and the only way I know is through a blog post. I’ll try not to waffle on too much but maybe someone else will have felt the same.

So…what has been going on in my mental health world?

My eating disorder is out of control.

My brain refuses to work so I have horrendous concentration. This is the main reason why my posts and social media have been so sporadic. I ended up leaving a couple of comment swaps because I wasn’t able to read/comment on other posts. It’s made me feel like not only a hopeless blogger but a rubbish human being.

I haven’t felt human.

I’ve done human things such as getting up, eating and going to bed. That’s it. I haven’t been able to function during phone/zoom calls, haven’t been able to get fit or do any of the things most people seem to be doing. It isn’t for want of trying. I truly have tried my hardest every day to write a post or even to sit up on my sofa. The fact that I’ve even left bed is a miracle.

If it wasn’t for the fear of being sectioned during a pandemic, I would have voluntarily sectioned myself at the start. I’ll be honest and admit that I have felt nothing but a shell. My parents always taught me that I should be thankful for having my strength and my health, but I don’t feel it. Just because I physically look fine doesn’t mean that I’m not in agony.

Somehow I’ve lost who I am to my mind.

It’s taken control over everything I do and I hate it so much. I feel like I’ve forgotten who I even was before my depression appeared. There are pictures of me as a kid smiling and giggling and I literally can’t think of a day when I’ve smiled this year. You know you see those pictures of someone with a smile mask part off and the other part has tears? That’s me.

This blog has been my baby for 2 years now and I discovered that it was triggering me. The idea of not posting as often as other people, not having the motivation to schedule posts or posting on social media. I have tried to post a little on Twitter but even that has been a massive struggle. My depression makes me see the online world as everyone mocking me for my failures. Believe me, I know no-one is but that’s mental health in a nutshell. The only person mocking me right now is myself. Therapy is ever so slowly trying to help me see through that.

I guess it’s just hard to be positive when your world was already burning before all this.

All this said, I still aim to be there for friends who are struggling. If I can relate somehow to what they’re feeling, I’ll be there with a funny gif or a listening ear. I’ve had a small handful of people who I have spoken to in DMs when I’ve been super low and they’ve been a god-send.

I can’t say that I’ll post much while I battle this but I appreciate you being there anyway. There’s no question to answer for this post. Just stay safe.

 

Lifestyle Mental Health

5 Frustrating Habits I’ve Developed While In Lockdown

frustating habitsPhoto by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

We’re 5 weeks into this total lockdown and I’ve really started to notice some frustrating habits that have developed during this.

I mean…my brain has always been a bit foggy and weird, but it’s actually been extra annoying over the last month and a bit. It helps that we’re all in the same boat so probably share some of these habits.

If you feel how I do, let me know so we can rant about it together!

Awful Concentration

I always thought I had pretty decent concentration considering what my head goes through but that is non-existent right now. I have never known it to be as bad as this. I’ve been trying to keep things as normal as they were before and it just isn’t happening. The one area I’ve really noticed this is writing blog posts!

I have so many ideas that I want to write and, every time I sit down to type one out, I’m left staring at my screen. It is really starting to annoy me and it’s a surprise that I’ve even managed to type this one. I guess I understand that we’re all going through an extremely rare situation and that will have a big impact. I just wish that it gave me a break every now and again.

It’s not just blog writing. I have awful concentration when it comes to reading too! *sob*

Even less sleep

Sleep has forever been a thorn in my side.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve struggled sleeping whether from nightmares or over-thinking. As I’ve gotten older, insomnia has become my partner in crime and has been walking around my flat at all hours of the morning. I’m trying a bunch of different things to make me sleepier but not happening right now.

These days I’m lucky if I get even 4 hours sleep. It doesn’t help that my neighbours drive me around the bend with music and fighting, but my brain just won’t switch off! I’ve tried writing things down, turning my phone off, listening to music and pillow sprays…nothing.

If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them. I need all the help I can get.

Snacking

Okay, due to have a binge-eating disorder, snacking is one of the frustrating habits I’ve had for a while. (Don’t worry…I’m seeing a clinic to help me figure this out!)

That said, snacking has been going alongside the lack of sleep.

The more I think about it, the more I’m starting to realise I snack to keep control. My life has gone completely out of control due to this stupid virus so eating is the only thing left to me. I snack if I’m bored too, I reckon. Surprisingly my snacks are pretty healthy, such as fruit and coconut yoghurt. It’s just the frequency of when I have them.

I’m trying to drink more to see if that curbs the craving but no luck as of yet.

Irritation

This is one of the few times that I’m actually glad that I live on my own.

My mum could have vouched that I have a bit of a temper when I have things on my mind. It might surprise you but I think that’s just my Irish side coming out! In normal circumstances I can only rage and rant internally and keep from people seeing how irritated I am. However I’ve noticed how easily irritated I’ve been these last few weeks.

Sun blazing through my window? GAH.

Birds tweeting too loudly? SHUT UP!

Accidentalily scratching myself with a sharp nail? WHY?!

It’s no surprise that I’m getting more and more grey hairs! I bet I’ll be more grey than brown by the end of this! Haha!

Crying

Out of all these frustrating habits, crying isn’t that much of a surprise.

On a lot of my school reports I was told that I’m a little sensitive. That I would cry over little things and that I had to try and toughen myself up a bit. Considering that I was bullied horrendously through school, I think they should have picked on why I cried so much.

Zipping forward to present day, it’s also no surprise that I’m crying more.

I’m stressed!!

If I wasn’t already on medication for my mental health, then I would be yelling at my GP to put me on some as soon as possible. The last time I cried was last Friday when my antidepressants didn’t come up with the rest of my repeat prescription. I thought I wouldn’t get any for the next 4 days, the lady on 111 kept asking why I couldn’t have family fetch them for me from Tesco and my anxiety was already through the roof.

I broke.

It’s all sorted now thankfully (at least for this month) but I expect I’ll have more days when I’ll be a sobbing mess.

What frustrating habits have you noticed since lockdown started?

5 Frustrating Habits