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! 

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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 ☺️

Our Future Minds. 

Today I was told; ” I don’t think you should share about your mental illness, your not ‘fixed’ anyway”
…So instead I’m going to tell you I may never be ‘fixed’ but I’m not going to hide behind it. You should be happy, by sharing my story it takes away some of my illness’ power. It gives a purpose to the daily battle when things people take for granted l sometimes find almost impossible to complete.

You wouldn’t hide me away if I had a broken arm or leg. Instead your adding to the stigma…but I’m breaking it faster. 

✅Prince Harry – successful

✅Demi Lovato – successful

✅Charles Darwin – successful

✅Angelina Jolie – successful

All of these are sufferers of Mental Illness. Does this make them any less successful? Should they be hidden away and told not to share there story. SIMPLY the answer is NO. 

Ony a few weeks ago I was given the amazing oppurtunity to go to the ‘Our Future Minds’ conference in London with five others from around my local area and my CAMHS participation worker. 

The day was amazing, people from all over the country came down to meet and discuss what the future mental health work force should look like and how we can improve this in education. There was a selfie competition, plenty of pizza, social media streaming, Art and lots of disussions. 

I was shocked at the number of people that came from all different stories, backgrounds and parts of the country. Everyones had willingness to speak openly, knowing it was to benefit others and overall we all believed things still need to be improved. 

Its amazing how the way mental health is treated and educated across the country is so contrasting. With some stopped from attending sixth form, others who had fallen off radar completely when it comes to any education ( despite education being a human right) compared to others that had been welcomed with plenty of support? 

A postcode lottery where odds need to be changed in favour of ‘everyone’…and with almost all of us attending the conference wanting to pursue a carreer in the heathcare sector I hope this is something we can go on to do!

People ask me “do you wish you never had a mental illness?” my answer is always NO – with days like this adding to my many reasons. I mean its unpredicatble, the bad days are terrible and something I would never wish upon my worst enemy. But as cliche as it sounds its made me who I am today and the oppurtunities I have been given one of the things that keeps me going… 

Maybe the positives, the courage, and the fight needed to survive mental illness has helped to empower me further?… who knows? But whatever happens I am never hiding away, I will stand strong against stigma!