Posts Tagged ‘#DLYG’

Sticks and Stones

Just snap out of it! You lazy so and so! You’re all dangerous! You’re making it all up, just get a grip! <~ These are just a few of the things that the people in our world believe about the mentally ill… This is a stigma! This is hurtful and dangerous. More alarmingly is the number of people who believe it…

We all know the old addage: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” But this is sooo NOT true! Words are extremely powerful! Every sylable carries the weight of a thousand thoughts and every letter the judgement of those who do not notice the pain. We really do not give words enough credit. We use thousands of words every day; we express exactly what we intend and we do it so carelessly… Half of the time it’s like our mind has a direct line to our tongue that bypasses all logic or filters or even compassion. Most of the time we can get away with it because calling a pen that won’t write “stupid” doesn’t really matter… slamming a door while muttering hateful things under your breath can go unnoticed but when these words come out without a compasion-check, that’s when everyhing starts falling apart. At first you may not notice… you may not see the dissapointment or fear of judgment on the face of the person whom you’ve just hirt more than any stone ever could. And then again, maybe you do. Maybe you notice their sadness and regret the words that fell out of your mouth but then what? What do you do about it? Pride gets in the way of most apologies. Shame prevents us from acting honourably and admitting to our mistakes outwright. So instead we change the subject saving ourselves from the awkward moment while the other party is left to ponder the words that we just dropped on them; the words we were too afraid to apologize for; the words we can never take back.

But we can always try. Always! It is up to change the weight of these negative words into something more managable… something caring and heartwarming… something we can actually be proud of. You and I have the power to filter our words and change those little voices in our heads into positive ones. To be confident enough in our own abilities to see the best in others and not feel the need to use their weeknesses against them. It is up to us to change the way we perceive those who are different and those who are asking for help. Instead of seeing each other as attention seeking competition, we need to see each other as support in this hectic struggle known as life.

We are the difference…

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You Matter

Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in all of the mundane things that make up our lives. And somewhere along the way, we start to forget who we are and the value we add to life. You start to loose little pieces of yourself… at first you don’t notice but one day you’re staring at your computer and you ask yourself “What’s the point?”

When you suffer from depression, this question is one you ask pretty much every day. And finding an answer isn’t always easy. But then again, easy doesn’t make for a very interesting life. So every day I focus on one #ReasonToSmile. just one little thing about the day that is completely me and makes me smile… even just for a while. Whether it’s drinking chai tea out of my favorite mug or playing fetch with my overly ball upsessed dog or watching my favorite 90’s TV shoew re runs… it may not seem like much but when the rest of your day is filled with dispair, that one little moment is everything…

Like all things, if you do them repeatedly they become habit and feel more natural, so eventually these little moments of happiness becomes normal again. These little moments all make up the little peices of you that matter. As long as you keep reminding yourself of what makes you happy – even if it is just for a minute – you will never loose yourself completely.

If any ever tries to convince you that you are not worthy of happiness, know that they are wrong! You matter! Noo one can tell you otherwise, not even that little voice inside of you… We are own biggest critics but we can fight back against the mean things we think about ourselves and change the voices in our heads to make them like us instead (best line ever written in a song paraphrased!) You deserve to be happy!

Don’t Lose Your Grip Zimbabwe

Don’t Lose Your Grip has been around for the last 2 years. For Chrisselle and myself, it was a way of honouring our friends memory and coping with her suicide. Along the way we made some amazing friends and helped a few people open up about their mental health. This has been great but in 2013 we decided that we needed to take it to the next level.

On the UK front Chrisselle has been raising money for local charities with her Cupcake & Tea events in Livingston. This has also been a great place for people to find support in their local community while being able to open up about the mental health issues that are so often swept under the rug. Along with the fundraising teas, she is working on setting up local therapy & support groups and planning a charity benefit later this year. All in all, things are moving forward quite swimmingly.

We still have our weekly #TopicsToDiscuss about mental health on Monday’s and eating disorders on Tuesdays to raise awareness and remind people that it is ok not to be ok… Opening up about these serious issues are key in the fight against judgment and stigmas. And of course we still have our #InspirationalSongOfTheDay competitions because the way we see it, whatever you’re going through, someone else has also been there… and they probably wrote a song about it. Music can get through to us when ordinary words seem futile. Reminding each and every person suffering in silence out there that they are not alone is just one of the benefits of our twitter account.

On the Zimbabwe front things are just getting started… We have set up a Zim twitter account so that we can targert Zim specific stigmas and challenges regarding mental health. Every Thursday at 8pm we’ll be having a stigma-busting discussion on twitter called  #TTDzim (Topics To Discuss Zimbabwe) and hopefully every conversation will bring us one step closer to understanding and a judgement free country. We’re also urging our followers to kick off their tweeting day with a #ReasonToSmile and posting something positive about their day or something they are looking forward to on their page on a daily bases. We are currently in talks with a few professionals to help us set up a support line – someone you can call when you are feeling depressed or worried about a friend or need help getting in touch with a medical professional. Help is available, sometimes t is just hard to find… We want to do everything in our power to make support more accessible. And once we have our network of professionals set up, we want to set up a support group in every town.

No one should be judged for the way they feel and everyone should have the oppertunity to get help. Our world isn’t perfect and there is still a long way to go before we reach our Utophia but that doesn’t mean we should give up or stop trying to get there. The power is in our hands and we’re tired of waiting for someone else to be the change that we can be but we can’t do it alone, so join us on twitter or like us on facebook and let’s save some lives one conversation at a time…

Sleep Is Overrated

“Sleep is overrated” “Efficiency is a word insomniacs use to defend their caffeine addiction” “Sleeping more than 4 hours a night is pointless” All of these phrases have been used about by me… but secretly I would love to be able to sleep for 8 hours straight. I would love to wake up feeling refreshed rather than with a headache. I would like to actively go to bed every night and just sleep rather than pass out from exhaustion. I would love for my eyes to not burn from pure fatigue. I would love to not fall under the insomniac umbrella. But that’s just not meant to be…

Tonight in our #TopicsToDiscuss we asked our followers how they would identify insomnia and where they think it comes from. They pretty much said what the NHS said too

Insomnia is a side effect of many things. Stress. Depression. Bad eating habits. But what side effects result from your insomnia?

  • I struggle to remember simple things sometimes
  • a huge one is the paranoia
  • finding it hard to focus
  • I get really irritable and withdrawn
  • also feel thirsty more and snack on biscuits and other junk food.
  • some people that live with this disorder see things as if they are happening in slow motion, wherein moving objects seem to blend together

There are many levels of insomnia and this is also what makes it so tricky to diagnose. Insomnia is both a symptom and a side effect and that confuses things a bit, especially when you are trying to figure out how to treat it. We asked our followers the following two questions:

What do you do to trick your body into sleeping when you simply can’t stand to be awake any longer? And what has helped you retrain your brain and allow yourself to get some sleep?

  • have a bath in lavender – calming affects of certain smells can help release the tension that is keeping you awake
  • hot milk – it may seem old fashioned but the lacto has a soothing effect on your body that allows it be calm and sleep more peacefully. Plus it is associated with bed time so psychologically there is that advantage too
  • healthy eating is very affective – sometimes just eating less ‘heavy’ meals at night will make a difference. If your body does not have to digest food, it means that it can shut down and relax and not mess with your subconscious throughout the night either
  • caffeine a no-no – if you have a problem with sleeping obviously drinking coffee right before bedtime is not a good idea. A cup of tea or horlics is a better option or simply just a glass of warm milk. But just be careful not to force your body into a detox if you are slightly addicted to caffeine as this could be counterproductive. And sometimes depriving yourself of sleep during the day can help you regain control of your body clock, so coffee is not 100% bad… it’s just something you need to be aware of. There is also a chicken and egg conversation about which one came first: my caffeine addiction or my insomnia?
  • Senses – what you smell and hear makes a difference. The atmosphere that you require to get a good night’s sleep is very important. Try to eliminate all of the things that distract you in your room. Even having too many pillows on the bed or light shining in through the window can affect your sleep. Changing to darker curtains may help.
  • Noise and sounds can also interrupt your sleeping pattern – some people prefer to drown out the sounds with music while others prefer earplugs to remove all sounds completely. You need to try it out in order to determine which one will work for you.
  • Exercise – can be a good way to get rid of all of the extra energy you have and allow you to relax and get a good night’s sleep
  • Pen to paper – writing down all of the thoughts in your head when you want to go to sleep is also a useful tool. If you allow yourself to write these thoughts or concerns down then it gives your mind permission to let go of the thoughts and not fear losing them overnight by allowing you to sleep.
  • baby concept – same routine every night, brush your teeth, comb your hair, listen to the same music or watch the same movie. Like a baby, your body will get use to the routine and realize that you want it to go to sleep. Sometimes it’s like your brain is afraid of missing something so it wants to be awake all the time and if you teach it what to expect and what will happen next, it will realize that there is nothing to be missed by allowing you to sleep

In the medical profession they also use these 2 techniques

  • paradoxical intention – you try to stay awake and avoid any intention of falling asleep; it’s only used if you have trouble getting to sleep, but not maintaining sleep
  • biofeedback – sensors connected to a machine are placed on your body to measure your body’s responses, such as muscle tension and heart rate; the machine produces pictures or sounds to help you control your breathing and body responses

All of these techniques worked for someone… and it most likely failed for someone else, so try them out and let us know how they work for you. There are always more options and new things to try, as long as you are willing to keep looking for that solution, we will be here to help you too.You should consider visiting your GP if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep or to stay asleep and it’s affecting your daily life. Do not wait until you cannot stand it anymore. You have the power to reclaim your bed as a place of comfort.

Leave your comments about tonight’s #TopicsToDiscuss or tweet us @dontloseurgrip you can even suggest a topic for our discussion next week.

Reality of Recovery

There are so many people still suffering in silence. That’s more astonishing when you consider how many people use the internet every single day and have access to knowledge and support and help, yet it does not always seem like enough.

One of our aims with Don’t Lose Your Grip is to give others who are going through or have been through the struggles that we are facing a platform to speak openly and honestly and most importantly in a judgment free environment. Our weekly #TopicsToDiscuss does just this.

Tonight we back to our routes a bit and reminded our followers that we do these discussions because we have been there… It really is that simple, we have been in similar situations and we want know how much opening up about these issues that are considered taboo has meant for our recovery.

From a personal perspective: I haven’t really been eating in a healthy manner and I can feel it throughout my body. I can feel my energy levels dwindling and my control slowly dissolving. I know that this is not acceptable and that I can’t go back to the beginning of my eating disorder struggle. I can’t go through all of this pain and loneliness again. I can’t start all over again. I can’t give up all of my triumphs in one foul sweep. I simply can’t! For the last week I have been eating only my 3 favourite foods. And only eating half portions… This scares me. I know how hard I have worked to get to this point of not allowing my eating habits to control me; I know how many times I cried and begged for help without anyone being able to read the signs and I don’t want to go through it again; I don’t want to go back to that lonely place where I hate myself.

By now I’ve realized that I am not alone in my struggle and whatever I’m going through, there is probably someone else out there who feels to same. So we asked our followers to share their recovery fears with us. These were some of their fears 

–          Not knowing when you will relapse

–          Fearing the relapse

–          Not knowing if it will ever happen again

–           The fear of losing my strength

–          That doubt in my mind that I never did fully recover and it will happen again

–          The fear that I’ll never actually beat it, that it’ll just be sitting there waiting for me to mess up again

It comes down to realizing that there is still so much about eating disorders that people have not been able to articulate or understand. These are all things that you won’t find on a recovery pamphlet. People don’t talk about the reality of recovery openly enough. This sets us up for a dangerous fall because we have no idea what to expect and that builds so much anxiety and fear. We need to talk about these issues more openly! We really need to get to a stage where people do not judge you for the label of your disorder.

And then, as soon as you open up about your disorder, everyone wants to ‘fix’ you. And as they through their ignorant comments about, they don’t realize that they are actually hurting you a lot more. This is why we asked our followers what the worst advice was that they have received regarding their eating disorders. This is what they shared

–          “You’re doing it for attention; you’re being so selfish”

–          “Just get over it”

–          “Just eat one”

–          “you need to get some chips inside you”

–          “You’ve got to have SOMETHING!”

–          “When you’re at work, leave your issues outside”

–          “Go on a diet”

–          “your being pathetic now, grow up”

–          “you are too fat to have had an ED”

There were a few extra implying that you can just switch your disorder on or off whenever you feel like it. Plus a few where they were told that it was their choice to suffer from an eating disorder. These ignorant comments saddens me… if you do not understand what someone is going through, don’t patronise them by spewing out the first phrase that comes to mind. If you really want to help, give them a hug and tell them the truth: tell them that you don’t understand and that you just don’t get it. At least that way we have the opportunity to give you more information and let you in on the other side of ED; the side that no one really talks about.

One of our followers commented that some think we do it for attention. So when people die from EDs, is that for attention seeking too? It really hit home how much these simple little phrases can affect our choices and lives. Simply by allowing an ignorant and negative comment in, we’re placing ourselves at risk. Going on a diet to reduce the amount of food intake or your weight can result in an over correction and lead to anorexia or bulimia and all the way back to over eating again. Finding a balance is hard under any circumstances but when you have this shadow of an ED constantly following you around; it makes the subject a lot more sensitive. When someone mentions food, your mind automatically races to figure out what they are implying about you; how this mention of food will affect you and what everyone else expects you to do about it or how they expect you to react to it… That is a lot of thought that goes into just one bite. There is a lot more to an eating disorder than just eating.

The emotions that are involved are far more powerful than the physical aspects. The scars that we hind behind our ED are the ones that last the longest and you can be on the healthiest eating plan in the world but if you do not take care of the emotions behind it, you cannot succeed. We asked our followers which things have resulted in their relapses. These were just a few

–          SCALES!!!! They always renew the obsession with getting on multiple times a day

–          Magazines like Vanity Fair which forces the idea that being super, dangerously skinny is beauty

–          Too many bills to pay and pressure of everyday life

–          Normalisation of junk food always tells me I’ll be able to eat it this time… because other people can

Realising that the things that most people do not give a second thought to affects you this much is tough… Trying to remove them from your life or finding ways around the pressure is just as tough and when you have to do all of this while being judged, it a hundred times worst. That lead us to ask what has helped our followers find the strength to keep fighting and we got two very clear answers

–          Support from friends or family

–          Music

Having someone who can remind you of all of your strength and beauty when you cannot see it, is extremely powerful. Having someone to go to when nothing makes sense is very useful and knowing that you can build up a relationship of trust where they see you for more than just your diagnosis, is truly amazing. Support is a big part of recovery.

We have been big advocates of the power of music from the get go. We have always believed that music is just one more way to express how you feel and remind you that someone else has also been there and experienced the same trials and emotions and they made it… If they can do it, so can you. Music gives hope when words fail. Also the reason we’re dedicating our #InspirationalSongOfTheDay competition to #20DaysOfRae by Rae Earl.

So what did this 2hour conversation between friends in a safe environment mean? Well, maybe nothing to you… But for me, it was great to talk about the things that society tells me to keep secret and it is nice to be reminded that you are not alone every once in a while. It validates the feelings I have by showing me that I am not the odd one out. It reminds me that I have a lot of support.

Ok, so it’s not exactly a world changing event but it’s a start… It’s a place for people to express what’s on their mind without being afraid of the judgement and everyone is welcome.

Work To Change The World

I’ve been career hopping for the last 6years… I remembered the moment when I decided to abandon my dreams and go in a totally opposite direction. I could just never figure out why I actually made the change.

Last Sunday that all changed. I had a penny dropping moment! It was huge and such a relief after years of feeling like a total looser but now that I understand it means I have to get out of this funk of dwelling around in circles and actually chose what I want for my future.

As a little girl I always believed that I could change the world and I really, really wanted to do just that! I found an artistic way to do that and help people understand someone else’s perspective and I was really good at it. But then my dad died and I made a lot of decisions during that period… a lot of them hurt the people around me and I started doubting that I was worthy of changing the world. Who says that my way is better? Who says that I know better? Who says that my vision was the right one… maybe I was more blind than everyone else put together… So I turned my back on the thing I loved and my biggest passion because I was scared that I would screw up the world.

I moved to the opposite side of the world and wanted to do something so implosive that the only ones my actions affected were the ones inside the building and I was just as affected by theirs but the rest of the world had no idea what we did or who we were and that was the way it was meant to be. I loved it… I loved not having the pressure of changing the world on my shoulders. You need to understand that since I was 4 years old, I wanted to make a difference and safe the world and this idea grew over time and eventually mutated into this insane amount of pressure that I was placing on myself… 15 years of dealing with this pressure and finally I got a break from it. Like I said, I loved it… well, for the first 2months that is. I started to feel something was missing but I still really liked the people around me and the fact that I could control this microcosm of a world we worked and pretty much lived in, so I stayed another 4years.

As a Gemini, I adapt and I work really hard to become the best at everything I do – I don’t always make it but most of the time trying is more than enough. I got a little lost in being the best and lost myself in the process. So one day I woke up and I realized that I wanted more than an awesome career; I wanted a life. Once again I moved to the other side of the world and started over. Yet another career that had nothing to do with previous ones…

Two years later, I still feel like a failure at this job (my directors and co-workers would disagree) and I couldn’t understand how I could be this miserable in my working environment and yet be so incredibly happy at night when I close my eyes. On Sunday I realized that even though my job doesn’t affect the world and I do not feel like I am superwoman for doing it, its mediocrity allows me to do something that is actually changing the world. I get to work with the amazing Chrisselle on a little project we call Don’t Lose Your Grip.

For those of you who do not know – DLYG is basically a support network for anyone who suffers from an eating disorder, mental illness or self harms. It is also a place for friends and family members of sufferers to ask for advice and be exposed to the experiences of others that can help them understand it better. We discuss all of these issues openly in the hopes of reminding each other that we are not alone. Ok, so I did not singlehandedly save the planet from a meteor that would have destroyed it or find a cure for global warming but I like to believe that through this project, we have made at least one person’s life a little bit better… and that’s pretty cool.

So yeah, my job sucks sometimes but as long as I get to be part of something as amazing as Don’t Lose Your Grip, then it’s a sacrifice I’ll gladly make.

Love Never Fails

I’ve been suffering from depression since the age of 7. But I didn’t realize this because well, I was 7 and back then people didn’t talk about it.

I barely understood emotions, let alone the fact that they affect each of us differently. I had a good home: both of my parents loved me; I had a dog; I got A’s in school and I had friends and played sport… but I couldn’t understand why I was so sad all of the time.

I tried to distract myself… by playing with my dog; always doing my homework and dragging my friends outside to play sports. It worked, sort of… I had enough reasons to pretend to be happy. I had enough excuses to hide my pain and fear behind smiles. But then I got a little older and at 14 I realized that all of my friends were in that constant giggling phase and how much it annoyed me. At first I thought it was just because it’s sort of annoying but then I realized it’s because I couldn’t. I couldn’t giggle or laugh out loud. I actually became one of those people who would substitute a laugh by saying “Ha, that’s funny”. I couldn’t remember what my laugh sounded like and to make it worse, all of the things that I was able to use as distractions were no longer working. Instead of giving me a momentary relief, they were just reminding me of the fact that I needed a relief from being me!  And so, I had to find new things to help me find or rather fake ‘happy’.

I changed sports; took up drama and debating and I was even a cheerleader for 3 days before I came to my senses – I have no rhythm and I am not flexible! I changed subjects and my career path and I secretly hoped that it would get better. It didn’t really. I mean, I had a lot of fun and made really amazing friends and experienced things that I will remember forever but when I was alone, I was still me and I was still sad and it still hurt.

But I was finally old enough to understand psychology and with the help of some older therapists I got to take a closer look into my life and figured out a few things that I could make peace with and let go and a few months after my 15th birthday I had an amazing revelation of forgiveness that helped me breathe a little easier. And for a while I was only sad sometimes. It was around this time that one of the therapists who’ve known me for quite a while mentioned to me that she noticed that was suffering from manic depression and that she wanted to help me. The thing was, I didn’t want to be suffering from manic depression and I was scared of what helping me would entail. So I brushed her off and said that she was overreacting and that I was fine.

That’s when I realized that my hiding techniques needed to be updated. I filled my schedule to the extent where I would pretend to have watched TV shows that my friends are talking about when in fact all I did was spend 15min reading TV guide between all of the other activities… Thinking about it now, it seems really crazy but to me, it was the only way I could ensure that I had no time to think by myself or about myself. The distraction was great, ok not really. It stressed me out a lot! I was so busy all of the time and never slept more than 3hours a night and as productive as that part of my life was, just thinking about it exhausts me. And when High School came to an end, that’s when my little plot went up in smoke…

I was really stressed and lost and couldn’t figure out how to ‘be normal’ or at least calm.  I spent a summer getting back to family and nature and that was pretty cool. I found a couple of reasons to smile and it made the bad times seem not so bad. And then my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 Cancer, my dad died, my life changed and I moved to London. I started a new life and hoped that I could run away from my depression. That didn’t work… As much fun as my new environment was, depression was creeping back in and this time its hold was a lot stronger than ever before. When I finished studying I started to see my life flash before my eyes and I was that confident that I was where I needed to be anymore. So, there I was: lying on the bathroom floor hoping that something would happen and magically it would all make sense again; that everything that I had been through would not have been for nothing; that I was strong enough to go back and face my life. Sadly that was not even close to what my mind wanted. I would spend days not sleeping and then crash by sleeping for 30hours straight. My eating habits were, well erratic to say the least and getting out of bed was a massive effort let alone getting out of the house. I did have a few friends who never gave up on me and kept dragging me out. I’m really thankful to them, because without it I would not have been able to make it through those years. But just like before, none of those mini distractions were able to ‘fix’ my depression and the thoughts that were stuck playing on a loop in my mind…

So once again, I changed my surroundings and moved to the other side of the world. I thought that maybe simpler would be better and that if I could just go back to the basics, everything else would make sense again. That’s not exactly what happened. Instead I just had way more time to myself and the loop of negative thoughts in my head just became louder. It was also during this time that one of my friends committed suicide. This rattled me a lot! More than most of the people in my life realized. See, to me, she had so much more to live for than I believed I did. And I was so close to the edge myself. Push the thoughts of ending all of it out of my head was getting harder. If Lacey couldn’t cope, what chance would I have of living a happy life? Or even just surviving?

But once again my friends came to the rescue. One simply talked to me about his problems and allowed me to realize that I was not completely alone in my misery, plus it gave me the opportunity to put my painful experiences to good use by giving him a little bit of advice. Then there was Chrisselle, after everything that she has lived through, she managed to turn it into something productive. All of her pain and anger channelled into making a difference. This life saving difference goes by the name of Don’t Lose Your Grip.  It saved my life. Chrisselle saved my life.

Not only did I have a way of coping with the loss of a friend and a reason to give a positive meaning to this pain but I also had something to do when being stuck in my head got too much. And one day as I was talking to all of these people on the DLYG twitter page, people who were also going through the things I was feeling, I realized that this was a great opportunity to talk about our fears and fight stigmas publicly. One thing lead to another and that’s how #TopicsToDiscuss was born. It’s an open platform that allows all of us and the DLYG followers to share their views and opinions on everything from Mental Health issues on Monday to Eating Disorders on Tuesdays and Self Injury on Wednesdays.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about these things openly and honestly but the way I see it, if we don’t, who will? We have the opportunity to educate those who have experienced our thoughts by sharing the thoughts we have kept secret for far too long. Occasionally we ask questions we do not even have the answers to and every once in a while someone new will join the conversation and we’ll be able to change their negative perception of mental health or eating disorders or help them see beyond the scares of selfharm. That, to me, is a victory.

Every conversation we have brings us one step closer to an accepting world. One without judgement.  One where love never fails…

Be Kind To You

Last week I launched an impromptu challenge to all of our twitter followers. The concept seemed simple enough: write something positive about yourself down on a piece of paper and then stick it to your mirror…

Nothing complicated about that right? Well, not really. Have ever really thought about it: thought about the things that you think about? Thought about the way you see yourself? Thought about all of the times that you judge yourself? Well when it comes right down to it, there are way more negative thoughts floating around inside our heads than positive ones. This needs to stop! We need to get rid of these negative leeches but by doing taking this challenge with our followers, I discovered something. A big flaw in my strategy… You can’t just push the negative thoughts aside or magically find positive ones, it takes work and time.

So, we’ve adjusted the challenge. Basic psychology reminds us that you can’t change a habit (which is what thinking these negative thoughts is- a habit) You have to replace it with something else. So the revised challenge is to start by admitting that you are thinking negative thoughts and then re think the thought while looking for a positive silver lining…

Yes, ok… it might seem idealistic but why? Why can’t we take back control of our thoughts? Why can’t we fight to be positive? I don’t see any reason why we have to allow ourselves to stay trapped in this sucky circle of destruction. Yes, I know that sometimes we have mental health issues or even physical issues that can contribute to our negativity but that doesn’t mean we get to stop trying… it is still your life, no matter what!

So here’s the logistics

Step 1: Write down the negative thoughts that have gotten stuck in your head, on a piece of paper and stick it to your mirror. This might seem counter productive at first: why would you want to be reminded of the negative thoughts? Well, you don’t want to be reminded of it but you still have to admit to it to yourself before you can start working on changing it.

Step 2: This is crucial!! You need to take a second and re-think that negative thought and finding a silver lining to that dark cloud. Once you have thought of a less negative way of seeing that particular feature, write it on a piece of paper and stick it OVER that negative thought.

Yes, that is the challenge… Get rid of the negative thoughts in your head by putting them on paper and then replace that negative thought with a positive one: first on paper and then in your head and your heart.

This isn’t always going to be easy. This isn’t something you can do for a day and suddenly be fixed. This is just one more step we can actively take to get our lives back get control back.

Are you up for the challenge? 

Worth the fight

I don’t do discussions about ED just because I care; I do it because I’ve been there. Every bite is a mixture between a victory lap and the sinking feeling of defeat. I don’t talk about mental health just because a few of my friends have tried to commit suicide, I do it because as soon as I open my eyes I have to start fighting a daily battle just to make myself get out of bed… And then I look at the person next to me and it seems to come so naturally to them. I don’t speak openly about self-harm just because I’m worried that my little cousins or even my kids one day will be stuck in this same pattern of pain. I do it for them and everyone out there feeling as alone as I have felt most of my life… to a large degree I do it for me.

There are a million things I feel I should say to all of you bothering to read this little piece of me but basically I just want you to know that you are not alone and slowly but surely we are all learning to understand not just the disorders and illnesses that mess with us on a regular basis but we are also helping others understand that there is more to us than a frustrating diagnosis. You are amazing and if today is not going that well. Just remember one little good thing that has made you smile in your life so far. You just need one little reason to smile, even just for a moment… It does get better and it is worth the fight.

You are not alone

Innocence Where There Is None

We have all been through some tough stuff growing up; some of our issues are more obvious than others; some are way too easy to hide but ultimately we all have our own daemons to face every single day. So it’s not hard to believe that we lost our innocence a really long time ago.

But there was this one place we could go, we could just be ourselves – sometimes a little more confident self – and not have to worry about the judgement of others. Here’s the best part, everyone has access to this amazing place because it’s all wrapped up in two little words: social media.

Yeah, that’s right: Twitter, Facebook and Skype are just some of the places where so many of us have found a voice and the confidence to be honest with ourselves about all of the confusion we have to live through. If you’ve never felt alone or lost you probably wouldn’t understand the appeal of spilling your guts on the internet in the hopes that just maybe you will find someone out there who is willing to listen and maybe even help you understand yourself… That first moment when someone else accidentally (sort off) blurts out their inner most emotions and you recognise them as your own, that moment is pure bliss. Just knowing that you are not alone in whatever pain you are facing is such a relief!

Many people in the field of psychology are of the opinion that putting a lot of people with ‘issues’ in one room will only lead to chaos and a full-blown meltdown but then there are those of us who have set out to prove them wrong. See, from experience I can tell you that it’s not always easy to watch your new-found friends being sad or trying to make it through that dark place because it reminds you of how easy it is to slip back into old habits. But there is safety in numbers and nothing can keep all of you down for long… So sooner or later, after the crying and some random fighting, you end up just talking…

Being allowed to breathe and smile and laugh and cry and sing all in the same moment is a real gift. You get advice from 20 different sources so you only have to take the one that suites you best aka the one you would have made anyway, it would just have taken you longer. You get to debate the existence of Pluto in its capacity as a planet while discussing your favorite song on YouTube and pouring your heart out to someone who has also been there…

Those moments of laughing over our elaborate gourme sandwiches and trying to sync our live streaming videos while video dancing on Skype… those are the moments that can get you through the bad times. Having 12 conversations at the same time and confusing the hell out of each other… those are the moments that give you strength when your pillow is stained with tears. Playing your favourite music artist in shuffle mode just to see how many times you can get your songs to match with someone on the other side of the world… those are the moments that help us smile when we seem to have no other reason to.

Those are the memories I cherish. In those tiny moments of happiness that seem to last forever, we get to experience ‘innocence’. Something depression or being bullied or feeling alone took from us; something we forgot we ever really had.

If you have a moment where you can find someone who has survived what you are currently going through, then you are lucky. Take it and keep it and remember that you may feel alone right now but when you are willing to open up, you will find that you are a lot less alone.

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