Leaving for Uni!

So I’m going to pick up where I left off, leaving all the months I’ve been missing in action without an explanation.

And who knows??.. maybe at some point I will fill in the blanks with a post or two.

Here I go;

Currently sprawled across two mildly uncomfortable train seats, I begin to reflect a journey which seems much more significant than just a few train stops. My feet hanging over the arm rest and blood rushing down my legs, I have just completed freshers week. ✅ officially exhausted.

Having escaped with vague drunken memories, a new set of friends and only a small bruise – I feel proud for making it out in one piece.

Going to uni can be challenging for everyone faced with a new town, new people, strange surroundings and for most moving away from home. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of the whole “life changing phenomenon” but up until the week before I suppose I’d tactically avoided thinking of the concept.

You see, I seem to have made a bad habit, I worry about the things I can’t control and neglect the things I can. Take for instance packing my bag…

With the final day in sight, multiple nags and no registering reaction from me before I new it I was leaving “tomorrow”.

My cousin ended up taking over packing whilst I blew up an inflatable doughnut I found from at the bottom of my suitcase…..Why?..I do not know but I suppose yet again it was a lot easier to remain distracted than face the fact I was actually leaving.

Anyway, here I am narrating my new chapter, the start of new beginnings. I’ve flown the nest (well for 75% of the year) and now I shall take the foundations to build my independent “adult life”.

I aim to post weekly with some posts short and relevant others intense and mental heath reflective. So there you have it, my first week all done.

Be bold, be brave and jump into the things your to afraid to do because even if it all goes tits up – at least you’ll have a good story to tell 😝

Take care,

Kirsty 💕

Top tip when packing for uni; NEVER DO WHAT I DID PACK ASAP because not only will blowing up inflatables make you light headed, but spending your last day at home being chased around is not exactly the ideal.

Dream Big: DISNEY

They call it the happiest place on earth, a place where dreams come true no matter who you are or how old… 

Disney World

This last week I have spent at Disney has certainly created some magical memories. Up at the crack of dawn and super excited to explore the park – I didn’t know what to expect. 

For once in my life I’m speechless, no words can sum up the experience I’ve had here. A place where my inner child has been set free, where I am able to dance around the park, sing in my loudest voice (poorly I should add but…) with no worries in the world. 

I have finally felt able to appreciate how hard I’ve worked on balancing my mood and how I am able to enjoy my surroundings without the worry of my next “low”.

I think for so long I feared this holiday, I feared depression drowning the excitement so much that I never even appreciated the opportunity of going.  

But the reality of months waiting to get an appointment felt so distant in these moments. So distant that for the first time in months my family and I have had the chance to take a much needed break.

I think it is so important to get both your surroundings as well as yourself into a positive state, be with those you feel comfortable with no fear of criticism. For me this has been key to discovering myself and also realising that everybody has their own struggles.

So to all other dreamers out there, don’t ever stop to let the world’s negativity or your current situation dishearten your spirit. Work hard, dream BIG! 

America here we come!!

With less than 4 hours before we leave for America I can hardly believe we’ve made it this far…. Never in the three years of us planning and cancelling this trip did I ever think we’d ever get this close to flying. Our holiday we dreamed of – Disney Orlando Florida.

From mums many cancer ops/ procedures, Natalie’s spinal surgery, my Grandads heart attack and to top it all off my eating disorder, it has been a tough few years for everyone. We’ve faced a lot together and that’s not been easy, many tears have been shed, hands held and fingers crossed…. we’ve laughed, cried, screamed and been left feeling empty.!

This holiday has been our motive, the light at the end, the goal or maybe even the beginning of better times? 

It’s finally here. 

I haven’t let myself feel the reality that yes THIS IS HAPPENING, I suppose I’ve blocked it out filling my time with anything but planning. I’ve avoided packing until made to and had minimal input in deciding how to spend our days.

I’m desperately trying to remain positive but still fear its going to be ripped from our grip… 

But my family are my anchor in rough waters – and maybe we weren’t supposed to have it easy. Maybe it was this way because we’re some of the rare few who can handle these tough times and still carry on regardless. Maybe rock bottom will be the foundations in which we rebuild our life. 

Maybe this will be the holiday of a lifetime…
AMERICA HERE WE COME!
 

Head Meds?!

Recently, I have been hit straight in the face by my old friend depression, out of the blue and almost from nowhere – it’s back again. The same fog I cleared only 2 months ago has appeared once again in a different form…

Whilst scrolling through facebook the other day – up popped this picture of a beautiful field and the caption “ this is an antidepressant…”

It made my think how yes, going outside for fresh air is a fantastic alternative to being inside for days on end – but then again how it is not always that simple for everyone.

I started taking medication for my mental health just over a year ago now after accepting I couldn’t ‘fix this’ without an extra added boost. 

See, Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It isn’t your typical sadness but simply, dopamine is your drive in life, your ambitions; excitement and enthusiasm whilst serotonin is in charge of happiness regardless of your actual achievements. 

Basically, without the right amount of these chemicals no matter how much love, support, money or family you have around you it is very difficult to feel ‘ok’.

Imagine a bottle filled with the most glorious, colourful, magical concoction, it sparkles and fizzes, it has a light of its own, when you drink it you are in love — let’s call it ‘joy’; now imagine a great selfish, hulking beast comes out of nowhere, it stamps and shakes the ground, roars, snatches the bottle with terrifying hands, and tips out all the joy, because if it can’t drink it nobody can. Depression turns you into that bottle, empty, held in the shadow of a beast; strewn on the shore, wishing for the tide to wash you away.

I can’t take away the effect of nature and healthy living, I mean going for a bike ride can be the best escape for me some days! And it has such a positive impact on my mental health. 

Despite not yet finding the right meds for myself I still have some positives from them which without I wouldn’t be able to enjoy. A flash of inspiration as I walk through my favourite field, have coffee with a friend or sit in the sun with a perfect breeze. Deep down inside in them moments I feel a relief that things will be ok.

So please detach the image of people with depression being selfish and the stereotype that taking antidepressants is somehow a sign of weakness… because personally without my meds I am more likely to hurl myself towards a tree than go for the ideological stroll this circulating photo portrays.

“A breath of fresh air is a perfect aid for recovery – but for some this can never be a replacement of these life saving pills.”

As if I won Elft’s NHS Young Person of the Year!!! 

I still cannot believe what’s happened to me this week. Not only did I have the pleasure of going to London for the Elft NHS participation awards but I actually won my category – Young Person of the Year!

For someone who masks low self esteem and confidence daily, never in a million years would I have ever believed I would be standing in front of all those people accepting an award. 

Shocked and so overwhelmed

I am an advocate for Mental Health for no other reason than to help not only people struggling but to also bring better understanding to families, friends and the wider community to help ‘Break the STIGMA’. So to win an award for doing something I love is just so unbelievable.

People should be free to feel emotion and speak proudly about it. I want people to feel comfortable enough to express their truth, to let their walls down and actually live a little. 

I have spent my whole life trying to be someone else because I cannot stand the feeling of my own skin. I have treated myself in ways that I would never treat anyone else – judging every part of my personality.

I have never learned how to feel or process emotions. The way I’ve moved through my feelings is to never let them surface in the first place, replacing them with my eating disorder and other unhealthy coping strategies.

But moments like this outshine some of my darkest days.  Moments that keep me going, reminding me theres always something to look forward to, moments when I’m distracted and at peace, moments spent with amazing people…

Thank you to everyone making this possible. I have been given so many opportunities to meet and work with some incredibly life changing people. I have made so many new friends, spoke to hundreds of people and built my confidence to try new things. I feel deeply honored to receive this Award.

Thank you 

Exams – my own interpretations of impossible…

I did it!! I completed my AS levels and today sat my final Maths exam. Yes it didn’t go great but I’ve never walked in or out of that exam room any different – something I must learn to accept in order to move on.

 
 Regardless of how terrible I thought it may have went, the tears that came with it – I’ve achieved my biggest goal of this year “to complete my AS levels and sit all my exams”
It has finally sunk in, I’ve done what I didn’t manage last year, I’ve completed my goal and every single day despite of how hard it’s been I have got myself into school. 

And yes I will say (a rarity)… I AM SO PROUD OF ME 

SO many of us, myself included, go into exams knowing what they want to get…for some this may be high expectations and others just not to fail. 

There is a huge tendency to focus on the worse case scenario and what we DON’T want, and do you know what happens when we do this?

We continue to get the same thing, we continue to be stuck in the same vicious cycle over and over and over again…

What we focus on expands, replaying like a broken record over and over “I want to pass, I’m going to fail, I need an C, B or even an A”. 

What starts as an aim becomes an obsession that actually ends up a detriment of our study. We focus on something, we just keep attracting and creating the very thing that we don’t want in our lives… 

I’m guilty. I’ve psyched my self up for this date – the 7th of June – my final exam but unlike most who are happy it’s over I’ve dwelled on it like it’s the key to my life, happiness and possibility of any future.

I have worn myself down with emotions, nerves and fear and successfully made myself so unwell that I’m writing this from the bed I’ve crashed in with exhaustion. 

Unfortunately I’ve let the pressure effect me tremendously and now I’m sat here wondering was it really worth making myself unwell. Why didn’t I believe that yes it’s just a Wednesday. That fundamentally no exam can change the person I’ve become, no date any more or less significant. No grade can erase my current achievements or even change what those around me think.

I have learnt a valuable lesson that I hope will never affect me again.  I have achieved my own interpretation of Impossible just by sitting in that exam room today.  I hope you realise something too, for as long as you are alive it is always possible…

Take care lovelies ☺️

My BBC Video – Mental Health Awareness Week!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0ES3B1b14c&sns=em

Please like and share my film to help reach as many people as possible! ❤️ This is my video which was made and has just been published by the BBC, one of the many opportunities that keeps me going – thank you mosaic films! 🎥 …

As some of you probably know this week is Mental Health awareness week, with this year’s theme ‘surviving or thriving’.

Currently statistics show that nearly 1 in 10 young people aged 5 to 16 are affected by a Mental Health problem. This is one of the reasons I wanted to do something to help raise awareness and have done an assembly in front of my school every day this week with Ben who runs the NHS Break the Stigma Campaign. https://m.facebook.com/LetsBeOpenAboutMentalHealth/

I wanted to show that suffering from Mental Illness or poor Mental Health is nothing to ashamed of… It does not make someone any less of a person and asking for help is never a weakness – with it in my opinion actually one of the bravest things you can do.
If I were to go back to a year ago today things were very different for me, I was not attending school at all, I struggled to speak to my parents and when my best friends came to visit me in hospital I hid under the covers and cried because I was to anxious to see them. This week has shown me I am capable of anything and even though I struggle daily and have my own battles it won’t stop me from doing what I want to do to help others!!

I think my best advice to anyone is to reach out for help before it is too late. I made the mistake of letting things spiral before others had to step in and that’s something I wouldn’t want to happen to anyone else.

Whether it be a friend, teacher, helpline or a football coach it is so important that people don’t suffer in silence however small or big they think the problem is.

And even if it doesn’t affect you directly chances are you know someone, it could even be your parent, friend or maybe you don’t even know someone’s suffering.

So don’t be afraid to ask the question ‘are you ok’ because those three simple words can honestly go so far. Be trustworthy, Give the person space and if you’re concerned about someone ask for advice.

Take care of yourselves ☺️