A letter to Gemma #MHAW17

Where do I start? You are such a great friend, you may not realise this but you’ve saved my life. Being able to speak to you about anything and everything really helps. I feel like a burden to you sometimes, but I know that is just my MH speaking, and I know you truly care about me, and that’s amazing as I feel like not many people do.

I love how you are always there for me, anytime, any day. I can always rely on you to cheer me up with your hilarious jokes (you are so funny it’s unreal)I don’t know how you do it, but whenever I have urges or horrible thoughts, speaking to you makes them all go away or makes them controllable.

I remember you helping me with finding sites for stock photos, and ever since then we have become so close friends, and I am so happy for that. If I didn’t have a friend like you, I don’t know where I would be, or what would happen to me really.

You are a star, you are absolutely brilliant and beautiful. You are so kind to everyone on twitter, and I am so fortunate to have you in my life, you deserve all the love in the world and all the chocolate.

I love love love your blog, you are such a talented writer, and you always help me with posts, you are one of the best bloggers in my eyes. I admire how honest you are and how strong you are with battling your mental health, your strongness drives me to beat my mental illness, it really does.

I wanted to write this to show my true appreciation to you, Gemma, I am currently sobbing whilst writing this (i truly am an emotional mess). I am so lucky to have a friend like you, I always feel like I don’t deserve you. I love you, you’re the best.

If you want to read her amazing blog or follow her on twitter, here are the links!

https://mysweetanxiety.com/

@gemcals

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Social Media & Mental Health #MHAW17

It was recorded on January 17, that there were around 3.773 billion internet users and 2.789 social media users.  81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day. this is likely to increase as more generations are born into this era. Growing up with social media developing has shown me just how powerful the influence of social media can be. Unfortunately, this influence can be both positive and negative with the creation of cyber bullies & trolls, and the general ability to comment on each other’s lives from behind a screen. But, I don’t want to focus on the negatives. I want to talk about the positive impact social media has had on my mental health, and how it can help yours too.

For me, social media has helped me so much. For four years, I had no one to talk to about my mental health. I was isolated and knew nobody to talk to. I didn’t even speak to my parents as I wasn’t quite ready for that.

I then googled mental health blogs, as I thought there would be people who blog, and there was. There were hundreds. I was scared to join in, but I did it as I thought it’d be good for me. I joined in January this year, and ever since that, I have made so many friends, and met a good friend also! Social media may not be the best place at times but I have found that the community on twitter is fantastic, it has helped me so much and gave me friends that I will have for the rest of my life. It is truly fantastic what a community can do to you, it can help you so much it’s unreal.

Twitter has to be my favourite platform. I don’t think any other platform comes close to it. Twitter has this extremely personal feel at times, especially with followers, and being in a community related to one single thing, you get to know people and make friends. It is great how easy you can find new people and new friends, that’s why I love it.

Here are a few of my favourite people in this community, they all are so helpful and supportive it is absolutely amazing! I would list them all.. but this blog post would be too long, literally, there’s like 500 people I could list!

Gemma – Blog / Twitter

Sophie – Blog / Twitter

Rich – Blog / Twitter

Nicole – Blog / Twitter

Laura – Blog / Twitter

Mike – Blog / Twitter

Rosie – Blog / Twitter

Rachel – Blog / Twitter

Liam

sources:
http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/
http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016-methodology/
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CBT: Fourteenth Session #MHAW17

This session we talked about me needing to go out more by myself, I’ve started going out more, with friends and my family but I only feel safe going out with them. I’m slowly going out by myself, to places like Starbucks but it’s such a challenge and I don’t stay there for long which is the problem. I need to stay there longer, like exposure therapy basically!

Behavioural Experiment

My therapist mentioned this, she wants me to go out 3 times within the next week, by myself and I must not go home if I have a panic attack. I must ride it out whilst still being out and away from my safe zone which is my home. Which will be really hard, but I can do it! I need to keep motivated! again, like exposure therapy!

Worrying and overthinking

I mentioned this to my therapist today as lately, especially the last few months, it seems to be getting worse when mostly everything seems to be getting better, which is annoying! I told her everything, that I never really go out by myself due to the fear of having a panic attack and having people laugh at me, we spoke about that and I told her it happened when I was in school and college, but not since. That is always playing on my mind though, I worry about what people think when they look at me, worry about what they might say if I am midst panic attack. She asked me a good question, it was “what do you think you look like when you have a panic attack? I basically said a mess, I feel really hot when panicking so probably red in the face, breathing all over the place and sometimes crying. She then asked me to stand up in front of the mirror. This was weird as I hate looking at myself in the mirror because of my BDD. Anyway, I did it. It was so worth it. She made me breathe really fast, which triggers a panic attack. She then asked me “do you look any different” and apart from a bit sweaty no I didn’t! This has changed everything for me. For ages, I thought I look so weird and horrible when I have a panic attack, apart from the crying and the sweatiness! – the room was so hot it’s unreal!

Safety Mechanisms

We spoke about what I do when I’m out to make me feel more at ease/safe. I said my fidget spinner, headphones, my phone and my fidget cube. She doesn’t mind me using these for now as I am getting close to being able to go out by myself a lot more, but soon I will need to try to go out without these, which will be a challenge but I am 100% up for it!

 

Therapy is going great lately, as you can tell by the blog posts probably! It is going so well and I feel like my mental health is the best it’s been this year, what a change! 2 months ago I wasn’t doing so well, but now I am doing so well! It does get better!

Liam

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25 ways to indulge in self care. #MHAW17

Self-care is incredibly important, on your good days, and your bad days. Self-care is always needed. I try to take the time to self-care every day or so, but when I’m feeling bad, it’s hard but it’s still possible! I wrote a post on self-care, you can check it out here!

This post will include 50 methods of self-care, however, self-care is different for everyone! It’s important you find a few things that you do for self-care so you can alternate them each day or so!

  1. Have a nice, hot bubble bath.
  2. Read a book you enjoy, even if you’ve read it already!
  3. Go for a walk or a run.
  4. Go fishing, it’s really relaxing!
  5. Take a social media break, at times we need to do this.
  6. Clean your room, organise things.
  7. Play your favourite song, whether it be a piano, guitar or whatever you play!
  8. Draw! Draw anything! Let your mind run free!
  9. Have your favourite meal for lunch.
  10. Listen to your favourite songs or listen to a good upbeat playlist! (Spotify has loads!)
  11. Watch your favourite tv show or movie. (I recommend Shaun of the dead!)
  12. Take a chair outside and watch the sunrise/sunset
  13. Watch Netflix all day, if you want! (my favourite self-care method!)
  14. Search positive quotes and write them down on a piece of paper.
  15. Do some mindfulness activities.
  16. Have a go at meditation!
  17. Have a pamper night with one of your best friends, or by yourself!
  18. Watch funny fail videos on youtube and laugh for ages.
  19. If you have a to-do list, cross out some to-dos!
  20. Practice breathing methods.
  21. Get a towel, lay down on some grass and watch the clouds move.
  22. Go for a nice bike ride with some good scenic areas!
  23. Fix something you’ve been wanting to fix for ages!
  24. Wear your comfiest clothes, may it be a onesie, a hoody or whatever!
  25. Treat yourself. That new thing you saw in the shop and you want? Buy it!

As I said, self-care is different for everyone! I have listed 25, some that I actually do on a very regular basis! If you have any different methods and would like to share with people, comment on this post and people will see them!

Liam

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Music & My Mental Health #MHAW17

For me, music helps me so much in related to my mental health, especially when I’m having a bad mental health day. I also love music so much (if you follow me on twitter, you can probably already tell that I love music so much and my music taste is so wide, I LOVE MOST MUSIC!)I find music really chills me out and makes me drown out the horrible urges and thoughts, especially if I play it extremely loud! – a tip I got from my therapist to help stop urges, and it works!

I find music really chills me out and makes me drown out the horrible urges and thoughts, especially if I play it extremely loud! – a tip I got from my therapist to help stop urges, and it works! I have heard from other friends that music also helps them, it’s a beautiful thing, right?!

I thought, why not write a post and tell you guys what my favourite songs when I’m having a bad day, a good day, in need of energy and when I feel good!

Music for when I have a bad day:

  • Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better
  • WALK THE MOON – Shut Up And Dance
  • The 1975 – UGH!
  • The xx – Angels
  • S Club 7 – Reach
  • Pvris – Holy

Music for when I am having a good day:

  • Ian Carey Project – Get Shaky
  • Christine and the Queens – iT
  • Clean Cut Kid – Vitamin C
  • The xx – Say Something Loving
  • The Cranberries – Dream
  • Theia – Roam

Music for when I need energy:

  • Skepta – Shutdown
  • The 1975 – Heart Out
  • Fickle Friends – Say No More
  • Cascada – Evacuate The Dance Floor
  • S Club 7 – S Club Party
  • The Veronicas – Untouched

Music for when I feel good:

  • Good Charlotte – Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous
  • HOLYCHILD – Happy With Me
  • Kesha – Your Love Is My Drug
  • The 1975 – Loving Someone
  • Sia – Cheap Thrills
  • The Wombats – Greek Tragedy

I could of literally probably list about 50 songs per list but you know… that’d be too long and you wouldn’t read it.. right?

If music helps you, then stick by it! If it doesn’t, try and find some songs that cheer you up, I guarantee music can help in some way, it’s a beautiful thing!

Liam

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What having mental illness’ feels like. #MHAW17

I thought, with it being Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 this week, I felt like asking my followers/people on twitter what they would tell someone if they had to explain how it feels like having mental illness’

Here’s what I got from all my amazing friends on twitter! (Some chose to be Anon)

 

“It’s like you’re screaming and no one can hear. You almost feel ashamed that someone could be that important, that without them you feel like nothing. No one will ever understand how much it hurts. You feel hopeless like nothing can save you. And when it’s over and it’s gone, you almost wish you could have all the bad stuff back, so you can have the good” – @amylouiseblogsx

 

“It feels like you’re suffocated, suffocated by your own self. By your own mind, by your own brain. It also feels like your brain is turning on you, making you feel all these horrible thoughts and negative things. It makes me feel like I am alone in this battle. It makes me feel like nobody likes me and everyone finds me so annoying and pathetic as I am struggling so much” – Anon

 

“With BPD I have no idea what’s coming next. I can go 0-10 in a matter moments. I have periods of stability and periods of depression. Living with MH problems is so hard because the right support isn’t out there. If treatment was more accessible lives would be made much easier” – @ohevieee

 

“Yanno when you’re playing sims and you take the ladder out of the swimming pool so they can’t get out and drown? That.” – @rosiebsteele

 

“Living w/mh problems is like you’re drowning in the sea of your mind yet to everyone else it’s like you’re swimming. it’s exhausting.” – @LiVNiZZZLE

 

“Don’t judge people. You have no idea what’s going on in somebody’s head. Living with a mental illness is a daily battle. You need to focus on getting through each day. Not every day is a challenge, but when the good days come around they are amazing” – @louisechatters

 

“For me, struggling with your mental health is like being let down by a good friend. You’ve an influence on them, but most of the time you’ve no conscious control. Disappointment creeps up on you when you least expect it, and no matter how hard you commit you always seem to revisit that feeling of being let down every so often.”                – @gemcals

 

“Living with a mental health illness can be more than crappy. I have had some very dark days, days were I wasn’t sure I wanted to the the sun rise the next day. Some days I don’t get dressed, some days I don’t talk to anyone. The self doubt the low self worth can be isolating and extremely demoralising. That said there is a light. There are so many amazing people out there ready to help and support you. Mind, Samaritans, Rethink Mental Illness, to name just a few. Not to mention the online peer to peer support you can find. Please remember you are worthy, you are loved and there will always be some who will listen. You are not alone.” – @Mike_Douglas_

“Living with a mental illness is a constant challenge. Every day is different, some are easy but some are very difficult. It can be almost humiliating knowing that you don’t have full control of your brain. Normal things people take for granted such as going to the shops or calling a friend can sometimes be impossible, making life very lonely. But, the more you learn about your illness, the better you can make your life. I have found self-care routines that help and medication helps to stabilise my mood.”             – @OceanofFearXx

 

As you can see by all the awesome people telling how hard it can be to live with mental illness’ you will be able to tell that it is extremely hard, so if you have a friend or a loved one suffering from their mental health, be sure to be there and make sure they don’t feel lonely!

Liam

 

 

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CBT: Thirteenth Session

I was really calm before this session, mainly due to the fact I had propranolol (it helped me so much, I was the calmest I had ever been in months, it was absolutely amazing)

After having a pretty good week, meeting a really good friend, challenging my anxiety and going two weeks without any sort of SH, I came into this session really confident, happy and calm.

As usual, like every session, I filled out the GAD-7 PHQ-9 questionnaire. Scores keep slowly coming down! Woooop! This session was mainly filled with body confidence, getting higher self-esteem and things related to this.

We spoke about being on propanolol, I explained how good I felt after having it yesterday, and my therapist said that since I am now on something to take away the physical symptoms of anxiety, now I can challenge in mentally and start beating it and controlling it, which I am so excited to do!

My therapist explained this “Big I, Little I” technique used in CBT. It is a really good technique! You draw a big I and write positive things about yourself, may it be your body, your personality etc. It is something used for BDD at times and just self-esteem improving and such!

We managed to come up with all of this in the session! I am surprised as I felt like I had nothing positive to say about myself, but with just talking about myself to my therapist, we came up with so much! It’s my goal to fill the Big I in before my next session!

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(excuse my horrible handwriting and the horrible picture quality!)

I’m trying to be as positive as I can, as I feel like positivity is key when you’re fighting your mental illness’ So, positive positive positive for the next few weeks!!!

Liam

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Living with a speech problem

I’ve been unable to speak properly all my life, I’ve had years of speech therapy but it hasn’t worked, one bit. I have dyspraxia but I have not officially been told if it’s linked to my dyspraxia. Something has to have caused me to not be able to speak, but no consultant has found out why. I can’t pronounce certain letters like G, Q, K, V and others. I also stutter so much and speak very fast, people say I speak too fast so much, but I can’t control it. I wish I could.

I get annoyed with myself so often for not being able to pronounce things properly, and when people ask me to repeat what I said – everybody does this, even family (I can’t blame them for asking, if they don’t understand something, they would ask as they want to know). I get so angry with myself but I need to learn to not, but it’s a really hard thing to learn, hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it one day. I can’t help that I have a speech problem, but my god.. what I’d do to just get rid of it somehow.

Countless years of speech therapy, attempting so many different methods and it’s not worked.  If I remember correctly, I didn’t learn to speak until pretty late, like 5 or 6?

My life with a speech problem has been hard, it is the cause of my social anxiety (80% certain) Bullying, people asking you to repeat every single thing most of the time. It’s certainly very frustrating.

Bullying has been a big problem, especially in high school, I expected it to be honest, but it was constant throughout high school. Comments, people purposely not pronouncing things right when I come into the room, or into the area. People mimicking me, telling me to “learn to speak properly” A comment which has been said many, many times. If I could… learn” I’d actually love to be able to speak properly, it’d change my life, completely. It has been something which people just seem to notice and say things about, it stops me from going out because I am scared of people not understanding me, people saying things and judging me.

I wish I could speak properly like people can do. It’s something that has affected my life in many ways, it has made me have so low self-esteem, it’s made me scared of going out, and possibly the cause of most of my MH problems really. If I was able to speak properly, would I not be so afraid of what people think about me? Who knows…

 

Liam

 

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CBT: Twelfth session

// TRIGGER WARNING – SELF HARM //

This post was meant to go up yesterday, but I actually went out and socialised! Shock! I had a great time and challenged my anxiety in multiple ways!As I made a list in the previous session, throughout the week I was trying to tick things off, and add things onto it. I found it really motivating to do so.

As I made a list in the previous session, throughout the week I was trying to tick things off, and add things onto it. I found it really motivating to do so.

I filled out the usual GAD-7 PHQ-9 questionnaire. The scores are going down slowly, which is great! We focused the session on what we can do to get the scores down. She mentioned that my depression can go down with doing things, challenging it. Not staying in all day where it’ll get worse and then the self-harm starts again. I’ve only self-harmed once in two weeks! I am beyond happy about this, things are looking so good it’s brilliant I LOVE IT! We also talked about the CBT formula and the cycle of depression, which I am apparently slowly breaking! Woo!

I mentioned how I seem to be so agitated and I tend to just snap at people lately, even my parents and sisters. I seem to snap for some reason. It makes me feel so crap when I just shout at them but I have no reason why I do so. I also explained how I sleep so much and it’s not making me feel any better, so she wants me to set up a schedule, for each week – I had one with my previous therapist but with my relapse of SH and being moved up to higher intensity therapist, I didn’t really stick by it.

The schedule for this week included getting up at 10 am, prevent boredom by doing things I love – reading, blogging, writing, fishing, listening to music etc. Go out with a friend, which I did yesterday and it was the best day for a long time! It also includes me buying a journal which I’ve already done – god I am getting this scheduled one brilliantly!!! I told her about my low self-esteem and how I feel about myself. She then mentioned trying a “positive qualities log” as she explained how people may say nice stuff, but when you’re struggling it just goes over your head and you don’t really take notice. This log should help me with that. I have to write everything people say positive about me, may it be in person, on twitter or anything!

After the schedule idea was explained and it sounded really good, I think it’ll help a lot. We talked more about my irritability, and like my snapping at people. She mentioned a stress ball and asked what I do to chill… I then realised I don’t really do much to chill and that’s where I could be going wrong. I need to chill out more.

I went on to how I feel about my depression getting better, but my anxiety is still really bad. I know that I am going to ask my doctor about propranolol to reduce the physical symptoms but I also need to make my anxiety go down with other things, not just medication. We are hopefully going to look at that soon – if my doctor does give me propranolol that is!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

 

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CBT: Eleventh Session

// TRIGGER WARNING – SELF HARM //

I went into this session the best I’ve felt in a long time. I only self-harmed once in 7 days. I am so proud of myself for being clean for 7 days. I told my therapist this obviously, and she was so made up and she knew I was going to be so much happier when I start going out more. I went for a meal last Friday, a party on Saturday and wales on Sunday. That is such a big step for me with my social anxiety!

My therapist did say that once I start fighting my anxiety and panic attacks and start going out more, my depression will get slightly better over time and my self-harm should do.. and it is!

We basically just talked about what I did the last week, and what I wanted to. There was no CBT involved really, it was just talking and I love it when the session is like that, it’s ace to get things off my chest! I told her about my blog and volunteering with time to change. I also told her that I’m starting to really have an interest in mental health, however, I’ve not done any a-levels and spent my time in college training to be a chef so my life can only go down one route, but as my therapist said.. there’s always time to change! I can always do a-levels whenever I want to! Or even a counselling course!

She asked me to write a list of things I wanted to do. At first, I listed about 3 things as I was struggling, but we got talked about what I want to do and the list was massive!

The list is:

  • Go out more – challenge my anxiety
  • Start working again
  • Read more – it’s a good distraction for me
  • Going out alone – don’t be afraid to go out by myself
  • Go to London – meet some of my really close friends from twitter!
  • Meetup in July – try and go to a meetup in July.
  • Blog more, and do media for time to change.
  • Host talks – Something I’d love to do, express my passion in mental health and host talks in youth centres, schools etc.

I never realised this until yesterday. It’s good to have a list of goals what you want to do, it keeps me motivated, and whenever I feel low, all I have to do is look at the list to get motivated to feel better.

I’d recommend making a list of things you want to do, I am always adding things to it, it’s not a list of what you need to do as soon as possible, it’s just for motivation purposes and it’s helping me already!

As always, thanks for reading!

Liam

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