Day 12- A Year ( and a bit) With TTC

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

Day 12- A Year (and a bit) with TTC

Just over a year ago I became a young champion with Time to Change. Through this I have been given some wonderful experiences and have meet some even more wonderful and lovely people.

Initial Training

At the initial training was where we all met. It was a weekend long training session, and was full on but amazing. It was the first time I had been with so many people who knew what it felt like to be me and have experience of having a mental illness. Here I met all the other fabulous young champions as well.

Testimony Training

Testimony training was more intimate, there was around ten of us. It was here that I got to meet Rachel properly, who has now become a good friend of mine. Here we shared our personal stories and experiences of mental illness. It was a tough and emotional day but it was amazing to see the strength of everybody in that room, including staff who shared their stories. (Joss=Inspirational/Amazing)

My First Testimony Delivery and DoH

The first testimony I delivered was at a school in Leytonstone. I went with Joss. It was quite intimate, there was probably only about 15 people in the room, but I was terrified. It was the first time I had ever properly shared my story, but the teenagers who were in that room were so polite and listened to me, I was so honoured to have their attention.

I didn’t realise that my story would have so much of an impact but one of the teachers was crying and some of the students came up to me at the end and spoke to me. It’s an experience I will never forget.

This day wasn’t just that visit though. In the afternoon was asked to go to the Department of Health to talk about what it was like to be a Young Champion. There I got to meet the lovely and inspirational Sue Baker.

It was such an amazing experience to be able to speak about my experiences in front of people who I believed to be much more important than me.

My Second Testimony

For my second testimony delivery was with Tanne. I went to an all-girls private school just outside the centre of Bristol. This was in front of about 40 girls. I found it easier this time to deliver it as I had done it before. But I did feel the pressure as I wanted the girls to look up to me. I really hope they did.

Testimony Deliveries (going it alone)        

After these two testimony deliveries I ended up doing two whilst I was at steiner school doing some volunteering and one whilst I was working on NCS.

Whilst I was at the school one of the teachers asked me to deliver my story, he already knew it as he worked at my previous school, but he wanted me to share it with two of his classes. These classes we year 7 and year 8. He thought it be of benefit for them to hear it.

Straight after the first one I delivered to the year 8s I had a boy come up to me at the end and say thank you, as his uncle had taken his own life, and he was glad to hear somebody talking about the topic of mental health.

After the second one that I deliver to the year 7s I had one girl come up to me and speak about her anxiety and how she wanted some help, so I spoke to her about it.

I had these reactions straight after I had done it, but for the following three weeks I had more reactions.

I had the mother of the boy who spoke to me come up and thank me in the playground. I then had a mother of one of the other boys come up to me, hug me, and cry because her soon was so touched by my story and she wanted to thank me for sharing.

I also had a mother come up to me and tell me that it really impacted her daughter and she was glad that she now had insight and another mother emailed the head teacher saying that I had made her daughter feel like she was no longer weird and that she would be okay.

I was so shocked with the response I had but in a good way. I’m so glad I managed to have an impact in this school.

I delivered another testimony on the second phase of NCS to a group of 30 16/17 year olds and the reaction I got from them was very similar. I also had a few of them saying they were shocked and didn’t expect me to have any issues. They had previously spent a week and half with me, so I think it surprised them as I must of seemed “normal”, I tried to tell them there is no such thing.

Reading Uni Conference

Another event I took part in was a young people mental health conference at the university of Reading. I went here with Jacob, Mary, and Jack. Here we delivered our own stories of our experiences. My main focus was on the teachers who helped me- you can read a blog about them on here. This was an amazing experience.

Bristol Uni WMHD

With my new regional co-ordinator I help facilitate a stall at Bristol Unis world mental health day event. There I spoke to members of the public about mental health, Time to Change, and what they could do support a friend. It was a lovely positive day, surrounded by wonderful people.

 

What’s next?

Over this year I have met some wonderful people who I can now call my friends, Rachel, Jodie, James, Peter, Mary, Jacob, Jack and many others.

I’m currently planning to write a book, with the help of Jodie and Rachel.

But I also hope to just do lots more testimonies in schools as I like the idea I can positively impact people’s lives directly.

Thank you all for a wonderful year (and a bit) and I look forward to what we get up to in 2018.

Love Abbie xx

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Day 11- Favourite Books

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

Day 11- Favourite Books

I haven’t read a full book in a while but I wanted to write about some books that have stuck with me. Some of these are YA and some are not. These are just books that I’ve enjoyed.

Doing it: Let’s talk about sex- Hannah Witton

I have a fascination and interest in how society views sex and all things around sex. Which may be weird for someone who’s not interested in having it, but there you go.

Anyway this book is all about sex and relationships. It’s the sex education you probably never got, especially if you relied upon your local secondary school.

I engulfed this book within a day. It covers everything, from the very complicated laws surrounding the age of consent, to sexting, to orgasms. It’s fantastic.

It should be given to schools to give to teenagers. But even if you’re not a teenager and think you know what you need to about sex, then I highly recommend reading it anyway. I learnt a lot from this book and it is just so well written.

I love Hannah Witton so much.

I really think everyone should read this, and if you read it and enjoy it, then definitely check out her YouTube channel.

Moranifesto- Caitlin Moran

If you’re going to take advice from anyone, take it from Caitlin Moran. Moranifesto is a collection of all her different columns and new writings about all sorts of topics.

Her columns are funny and heartfelt.

I truly think she might rule the world one day.

She inspires me to better a woman.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson-John Green + David Leuthan

This book is one of the first books I read in a while after a long time of not reading. I read this within a day of buying it.

It’s a heart-warming story about two boys named Will Grayson who met in strange circumstances and helped better each other’s lives.

One of the Wills points of view is written by John and the other by David. This way of writing just works so well.

The characters are so loveable, and hilarious.

This is the perfect “coming-of-age” story that mentions sex, sexuality, and mental health. It’s just fabulous.

The Art of being normal- Lisa Williamson

Another heartfelt YA novel. I really can’t say much about this book as I don’t want to give it away, but this book is full of surprises. It follows the topic of gender identity. It is lovely and so current at the moment.

Like I said, I really don’t want to give it away, so have a read.

Am I normal yet- Holly Bourne

This book is the first book that is part of the spinster series that Holly Bourne has written. It follows a young teenage girl who is trying to follow a “normal” life after being diagnosed with OCD and having just come out of hospital. She is trying to have friends and be “normal” without her OCD getting in the way.

It explores topics such as mental health, relationships, and feminism. A wonderful YA novel for any age.

It’s all absolutely fine – Ruby Elliot

I first came across Ruby on Tumblr on her blog Ruby ETC. She’s an illustrator who uses art to express and illustrate her feelings. She has mental health issues and most of her illustrations are about what that’s like.

Her book is a collection of these illustrations and new ones, she has also written bits in it as well. The book is wonderful, a great mixture of funny and sad. She is incredibly talented.

The Lorax- Dr Seuss

Okay, this one may seem strange, but there’s a few reasons for this choice. The Lorax is a book I first read when I was 16 in a philosophy lesson. We were made to read it in relation to environmental ethics and ever since I have fallen in love with the book.

The book teaches lessons about how we should be looking after the environment and how money and greed is destroying it.

It is one of my favourite stories, and I have very special copy of the book that was given to me by my philosophy teacher when I left school.

Day 10- HAMILTON

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

Day 10- HAMILTON

I want to write a really long post about this, but at the same time I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. So I will try not to. However, I expect most people who are going to see this no the storyline from listening to the soundtrack anyway. The first song gives you the rundown of what’s going on anyway.

I was so nervous about going to see this show as I have been waiting for two years to see it, I bought my tickets in January, and now it’s gone. But it was so worth it.

I don’t really know how express my love for it.

I was scared that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, especially because I’m used to hearing the Broadway cast but could I be more wrong.

I think the best way for me to write about this is to split it down, so I’m going to write about the individual characters and the set, as like I said I think most of you will know the storyline.

The set, theatre, costumes, and the band.

Firstly, the theatre, Victoria Palace theatre is now looking beautiful since the refurbishments. It’s one of those theatres that no matter where you sit you get a decent view of the stage. The décor definitely suits the show itself and I think it will make a lovely home for the show over the next few years.

The set. The set and the staging was fab; it was fairly simplistic yet complex at the same time. With so much going on on the stage anyway it was important not have masses on set to contend with too. The balance was perfect.

The costumes were stunning. Whoever made them deserves awards, they were just beautiful and were a mix between contemporary and 18th century wear (it’s possible).

The band was obviously so talented and played amazingly on the night.

Alexander Hamilton- Jamael Westman

Jamael had big boots to fill, as most people who have listened to the show will be familiar with the incredible Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who wrote the show, playing Alexander Hamilton. But he did an absolutely incredible. He was fresh out of RADA but you’d think he’d been playing the part for years.

He played the character with such emotion. He has got the character down to a tee.

You fully see the character grow up through the show, and Jamael did this excellently.

Eliza Schuyler/ Eliza Hamilton– Rachelle Ann Go

Rachelle had previously been in Miss Saigon and although I had never seen her I had heard great things. She played Eliza so gently at the beginning of the show, which was nice, as that’s how she should be. However, because of this I was worried that when she needed to be fierce near the end I was worried she wouldn’t be. But she didn’t let me done and sung “Burn” beautifully and with such passion. She did a fantastic job.

Angelica Schuyler- Rachel John

Rachel was absolutely brilliant. Angelica is one of my top favourite characters. She is a fierce, strong, feminist, but she also has vulnerable side which is seen in songs like “satisfied”, and “quiet uptown”. Rachel got this balance of her character absolutely spot on. I was so impressed with her. Also Rachel’s voice is just beautiful!

Peggy Schuyler/ Maria Reynolds- Christine Allado

“And Peggy”… Christine managed to do both of these characters justice. These seem to me to be two difficult characters to play as they are so different but also similar. She plays the young naïve Peggy in a sweet but mischievous manner, and then manages to swap to play Maria in her desperate, but sexual manner. Just great.

Hercules Mulligan/ James Maddison- Tarinn Callender

I didn’t think that Mulligan and Maddison were that similar, but they are a Tarinn perfected it. Mulligan and Maddison are both big and loveable characters that also present them self as quite strong. Hard on the outside, soft on the inside. Also a both quite humorous characters.

John Laurens/ Phillip Hamilton- Cleve September

Cleve managed to play two very different characters in a brilliant way. He had the job of playing John Laurens who was one of Hamilton’s friends who worked alongside him, with a passion for ended slavery. Laurens is quite a quiet and somewhat sensible character.

We meet Phillip when he is only 9 years old, and although Cleve is a fully grown man, he still manages to play this really well. The relationship he has with Hamilton in both characters is wonderful and sweet. He truly is a great actor.

Aaron Burr- Giles Terera

Aaron Burr was the most shocking one for me. Burr does a lot of singing as he is basically the narrator of this story. So I was very much use to Leslie Odom Jr’s version that it was strange when I heard someone else’s voice. But I really enjoyed the way he played him. Giles portrayed Burr as a much more sensible and bitter character than he is portrayed in the soundtrack, and actually I think that’s the way he should be played. Terera did a really good job.

Lafayette/ Thomas Jefferson- Jason Pennycooke

When I penny dropped that these two characters are played by the same person it all made sense. These two characters are both funny and witty, although one’s kind of an enemy of Hamilton and the other a friend, they are both very similar. Jason’s portrayal of them both was brilliant, his dancing was great, and he was just so funny. He also perfectly mastered the Guns and Ships rap.

George Washington- Obioma Ugoala

Obioma Ugoala, when he first walked on stage and opened his mouth me and my sister turned to each other- what a voice! He has such an incredible singing voice. He played George Washington with compassion and just did an excellent job. As I said, his voice blew me away.

 

King George- Michael Jibson

From the original cast recording King George was my least favourite character and I think it was just because all I could do was hear him. Michael has changed that for me. He played the loveable, yet hateable, English buffoon perfectly. Think 18th century Boris Johnson. He made me love the character, he was just so damn funny.

George Eaker- Curtis Angus/ Charles Lee- Leslie Garcia Bowman

Curtis and Leslie were mainly ensemble but they did take on two quite crucial characters. Leslie plays Charles lee and depicted a funny, clueless, but then bitter character perfectly and in a hilarious manner. Curtis obviously plays someone who no one likes because he does a bad thing, but does it well.

Ensemble

Finally, the ensemble. What an amazingly talented, strong, and fit bunch. They had to do tough choreography and do it well, and they did. They were amazing and I don’t know how they did it. Again I was blown away by their talent.

 

 

Overall it was an amazing show and amazing night. I just hope I get to go again.

 

Love,

Abbie xx

Day 9- Shows I’ve seen in 2017

 

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

Day 9- Shows I’ve seen in 2017

Over the past year I have been lucky enough to see quite a few shows, the majority of my student loan went on It. It was my new year resolution to see as many as possible. I’ll try and do them in order but I’m not sure I can remember.

RENT

The first show I saw this year was RENT. I saw this in February whilst I was still living in Liverpool with my sister. I didn’t know much about it so I didn’t know what to expect. But I was not disappointed at all.

It shows the lives of a group of friends, who are all different types of artists trying to make it New York city. But not being very successful doing so.

It contains very little spoken dialogue, so is more of a rock opera that it is a musical.

Their lives are not very happy, within this musical there are muggings, evictions, and death. But it ends being a heart-warming show.

Within the cast I saw, they had Layton Williams as Angel. He was absolutely phenomenal. And he can dance in higher heels than I could ever imagine even walking in.

I really did enjoy this show, however, the theatre itself had strange acoustics and was quite hard to hear in.

But I would definitely recommend.

The Adams Family Musical

The Adams Family musical is a “kooky” version of traditional family musical. It was definitely a feel-good show. Although in a way it followed the predictability of an average love story, it was definitely not your normal version of a love story.

The cast consisted of Les Dennis playing a hilarious and loveable Uncle Fester, Samantha Womack as the “don’t mess with me” Morticia, and Carrie Hope Fletcher as the strong and independent, but love-struck Wednesday.

The show was loveable and filled with so much talent. It was the perfect family show.

Avenue Q

Avenue Q is the opposite to the musical above, it is definitely not a family show. I have seen this musical three times now and it never gets old.

It’s hilarious, but also heart-warming.

It is effectively the naughty muppets. The main character is a puppet called Princeton, he is desperately trying to find the meaning to life, and has just started his new life on Avenue Q. Its rude, funny, and lovely.

Yet every time it does add to my existential crisis, mainly because I feel like I relate to that puppet quite a lot.

The only thing I will say is be careful who you go with. If you think you can bare sitting with your nan during a puppet sex scene, then go for it, bring her along!

The Jungle Book (kids)

Whereas the other shows I’ve mentioned have either been professional casts- touring or west end, this show wasn’t. This was put on in our local theatre by local youth group. There is nothing cuter than seeing a bunch of 9 year olds singing Jungle Book songs.

Support local theatre!!

Girl from the north country

This musical is something like I have never seen before. It follows the story of the local guesthouse in Minnesota 1934. Elizabeth is played by Shirley Henderson, she is slowly suffering in the grips of Dementia, she has a adopted daughter who is pregnant and no one knows who the father is, and a husband who is cheating on her and is the owner of the guesthouse.

The musical is based around and includes Bob Dylan’s music. The way in which they incorporate the songs is amazing, the actors play most of the instruments alongside the band.

The cast includes Shirley Henderson, Sheila Atim, Bronagh Gallagher and Ciaran Hinds, plus many more.

Although it has completed its run at the old Vic theatre, it has now moved to the west end.

I really recommend going to see this.

I had my heart-broken into a thousand pieces, it’s just beautiful.

The play that goes wrong

This is an immersive theatre experience; from the minute you enter you are part of it.

I saw this in the afternoon of the day I went to see Girl from the north country, and it is just hilarious. Even though I’m not into slapstick that much, this is just brilliant.

I don’t want to say much about this as I don’t want to give it away.

Just think of your dad doing amateur dramatics.

Hamilton

The last show I have seen of this year is Hamilton. This is having its own post, so I’ll tell you about that later.

 

Love Abbie xx

Day 8- Vegan Peeps

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

Day 8- Vegan Peeps

Never did I think I’d be using the word ‘peeps’ in a blog title, but there we go. This post is going to be all about the people who I follow/watch/read in the vegan community. Even though I no longer vegan, I do hope to be one again soon, and these people are really great to follow.

Vegan Geezer

Bob, is from London and makes videos about his vegan life, he is also a vegan activist. He became vegan in 2013 and has been vlogging about it ever since.

The first time I heard about him was when I was still eating meat and I had gone to Bristol Viva last year. I went to watch a talk by him and he contributed to me going vegan.

He has children, and him and his wife have raised them vegan too. His videos are great and are about things from vegan recipes, ‘what I eat in a day’, to hauls, and the life of his vegan and awesome son ‘Jojo’.

If you’re just curious about veganism, then I highly recommend his video “why vegan?” which is a presentation/talk he did in a school.

He does pop up around the country at various vegan festivals, so keep an eye out, you might be able to say hello. (He welcomes people coming and speaking to him).

YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/user/VeganGeezer

Twitter- https://twitter.com/Vegan_Geezer

Brianna Jackfruitson

This lovely lady is another YouTuber called Brianna. She became vegan when recovering from an eating disorder, and I think she started of raw but now she just eats what she wants, obviously vegan though.

I first came across her in “clean eating’s dirty secret” this programme was done horrifically and portrayed veganism as a restrictive, clean eating diet, when this is just not true. Brianna also criticises how she was portrayed in this documentary. It is presented by Grace Victory, but I don’t think she fully understood what the difference was between “clean eating “and veganism.

Rant is now over about that documentary.

Brianna’s videos range from mukbang (recipes), to what I eat in a day, and reaction videos. I like Brianna as she shows how diverse a vegan diet can be and also that recovery from an eating disorder is possible.

YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/user/BriLovesPetite/search?query=mukbang

 

 

Vegan Voyager

Laura is a northern vegan and mental health YouTuber from Newcastle. I came across her videos when I was looking for vegan ideas, and she showed me a lot of “accidentally” vegan food. She teaches you that you don’t have to completely change what you have in your cupboard in order to live a vegan lifestyle.

My favourite videos from her are her haul videos, quite often done in a supermarket like Aldi, so that anyone can afford to eat vegan. Her videos are particularly helpful for students who want to follow a vegan lifestyle.

YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/user/lauraacanfly/about

 

Jack Munroe

Jack is well-known for being a journalist, writer, and activist around poverty issues. Jack is also vegan. They have recently produced a recipe book called “cooking on a bootstrap”. Not all of their recipes are vegan, but the ones that are look so good.

They are also inexpensive to make, so that makes things even better.

Their blog link is here – https://cookingonabootstrap.com/ and from just having a quick look now, there are lots of vegan recipes.

The link to buy their book is here- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cooking-Bootstrap-Monroe-Jack/dp/1509831118

And I also suggest following on twitter as their tweets can brighten up your day.

 

I wish I had more people to write about but these are the ones that spring to mind currently.

Hope this is helpful, go and check all these people out.

Love

Abbie xx

 

 

Day 7- Living with hydrocephalus

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post

Day 7-Hydrocephalus

Today I thought I’d write about something that effects me on a daily basis.

I was born with a life-long chronic condition called hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus translate to, water (hydro) on the brain (cephalus). What it actually is is an excess of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) between the ventricles of my brain.

When I was a child I was very clumsy, I ended up in A&E a lot. This was down to the fluid on my brain effecting my balance.

Once they found out what was wrong they decided that I’d need an operation.

I had this operation when I was 5 years old.

It involved fitting something called a shunt, this in like a plastic valve system. The shunt consist of a valve and two plastic tubes, on either side. The shorter tube sits in the ventricles of my brain and the other sits somewhere in my bowel. The system works in gravity(not really sure how), it takes the excess fluid from my brain and then moves it to my bowel, and that’s it.

The lifespan of these shunts is normally 5-10 years. I’ve had mine for about 16 years now.

I was in A&E last year for a night as I’m convinced that my shunt isn’t working properly at the moment. But when I went in they said they didn’t know enough about it and that it looked like there might be something wrong but that I could go home.

I’m now waiting for an appointment with someone at a hospital in Bristol.

I’m fairly lucky as a whole with this condition because most people who have it have another condition that is life limiting or they have learning/behavioural issues.

I am lucky as I don’t have any other severe disability with this, and I will not die of this condition, I will just die with it.

Some of the daily symptoms for me however can be hard to deal with. I get bad headaches daily that feel like my head is being squeezed between a vice, I can get pain around my shunt. I can also get very tired quickly and I can get dizziness and have poor balance. But the worse one for me is whenever we have stormy humid weather it feels like my head with explode due to pressure and there’s nothing I can do about that.

Overall though I can have a pretty decent life.

If you want to find out more about hydrocephalus then have a look at this site: http://www.shinecharoty.org.uk

Love

Abbie xx

Day 6- Change Happens- An update

Day 6- Change Happens- an update

This is part of my blogging advent. However, it’s an old post than I’ve added to. The old stuff is in italics.

I’ll have a new one for you tomorrow

*First off I just want to put a little warning up here. Although this is a positive post it does mention the times when things weren’t so positive, the beginning bit may be upsetting*

 

I feel the need to write this post for several reasons, firstly, it is a direct response to something that happened to me recently, secondly, I need to get a few things of my chest, thirdly, I want to send a message to other people that things get better, and finally I want to remind myself how far I’ve come.

Im not going to deny that things get better, they do, but they can also get worse again. Recovery isn’t linear.

Up until roughly four/ five months ago, I was self-harming nearly every day, I was having chronic suicidal thoughts, and had an horrific relationship with food and my body. Eight months ago, I moved over two hundred miles up north from where I grew up to go to uni.

This bit makes me partly sad, as I feel like going to uni far away was a big deal and now I’m not far away anymore. But I also know that it really wasn’t good for me to go that far away at that time.

My relationship with my body and food still isn’t great but I’m working on it.

Not long after being there I met someone, he was lovely, or so I thought, however, I had never had a relationship with a guy before, and for me it was scary. So, I never made it official, however he kept saying how we were together. Eventually I caved in and said we could take it slow. Things didn’t feel right though, and then one night I went out with him and group of friends. The whole night I repeatedly asked not to be left alone with him, and I wasn’t, until I had gone back with him and friend to his, and she left me with him, things didn’t end well. The worst of things didn’t happen, however, what did happen wasn’t good.

However, I forgave him. My first example of people changing. I don’t think he meant what happened that night. I spent a whole lot time blaming myself, however, I know now it’s not my fault. It was his. I then spent a lot of time hating him for everything he did but I realised the only person that was hurting was me, so I forgave him. I honestly think he and I changed from that experience, my first example of people changing.

What happened here is something I think about quite a lot. I find myself missing him so much because he gave me something that I had never had before. He made me feel safe and looked after me. But I know that these reasons aren’t good enough to be with him again, also he has a girlfriend.

The rest of this post was pretty much me saying how much I’ve changed and how much better I am.

But I don’t believe this is the case. Things aren’t “better” they’re just different. Things have just changed.

In terms of “Recovery”, not fully sure I believe that’s the right word by definition,there are some visible things for me. For example, I haven’t self-harmed since around April.

But I still have loads more things to do to make me a happier and healthier person. And I welcome that change.

Love Abbie xxx

Day 5- Dyslexia

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post

Day 5- Dyslexia

There are quite a few disorders, disabilities, and diagnosis’s that you would tend to be diagnosed with when your young rather than in adulthood .For example, asthma, type1 diabetes, ADHD, ASD, and Dyslexia.

However, in some cases, these things aren’t diagnosed when you’re young and you find out about them in adulthood. For me that was the case.

Last year, when I had started my philosophy course up in Liverpool, I had an assessment. This assessment was just to see what DSA could provide me with to help me study with my mental health issues.

However, during this assessment, the lady asked my read some things, and asked my to explain to her how I saw things.

She advised me to get an assessment for Dyslexia, I did, and now I’ve been told that I have it.

This came as shock to me, as I just thought that Dyslexia was something that you get diagnosed with young and that was it.

But when I actually thought about it didn’t seem that shocking.

I was quite bright in primary school but I was slow at reading, it was only when I realised that my twin sister was going to move onto harder books that I worked really hard to try and progress.

In secondary school, however, I was quite mediocre, I worked really hard, but I just couldn’t quite hit what I wanted and a lot of the time what I was predicted.

But, no one thought there was anything wrong. Not long after I got diagnosed with Dyslexia, I spoke to one of my old teachers and told him about it.

He seemed to think that because I wasn’t so far behind and because I was still achieving something, that people didn’t realise.

Although looking back he can kind of see how I am.

I always worked hard on my spellings, as I found it kind of embarrassing to be spelling things wrong. But I do still really struggle, and if I can’t spell something I will just find another word. Which can make my academic writing quite formal.

But the thing I find most difficult is reading, if I try and read things quite often I can focus as I can’t get passed words, or it just all becomes blurry after a while, or I skip things and jump lines.

This was quite a big issue that I had in secondary school with reading texts, it was harder in sixth form, and a massive issue for university.

I didn’t get extra time in any of GCSE or A-level exams because no one knew I needed it. For things like English and philosophy, this would have been helpful as I had texts to read but I just couldn’t read them properly.

I had a great English teacher for GCSE (Mr White if you ever see this then thank you) ,who put me in his top set class even though I was predicted a D. And he helped me to come out with a B at the end of it.

One of the things I enjoyed in school was music, and the practical side was the bit I excelled in. But having to write essays regarding things, again fell foul to not having a good enough vocabulary due to spelling.

I now have help though through technology.

I have programmes on my laptop that can help read academic texts to me. I also have something in there that can help me out with homophones (which is something I really do struggle with, even though I’m determined to always get my there, they’re , and theirs right).

I also know that if I think I require it I can have extra time in the exams, however, I’m used to not having this so I may not need it.

I would really suggest that if anyone is worried or thinks they might have Dyslexia or thinks their child might have it then definitely push to try and get an assessment in school speak to the SENco at the school.

If you’re at uni you can arrange for one at the university, it may cost you money, but it’s worth it.

Love

Abbie xx

Day 4- Fairy Lights, Fluffy Socks, and Face Masks

 

Day 4- Fairy lights, fluffy socks, and face masks

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

This post is one that I wrote a while ago, didn’t post it, lost it, so I’m re-writing it.

I first started using a certain social media site when I was around 13, up until I was about 15 it was pretty harmless. Then I started using it to help fuel my negative thoughts, and anxieties. I stopped using it for a while when I realised that it wasn’t helping my mental health. I went back on it when I was about 18 for help, as I thought it might have things like self-help tips and self-care tips.

It had self-care tips. But it was very much filled with “fairy lights, fluffy socks, and face-masks” kind of self- care. So this post is going to be about what I really needed, and what others need to, when it comes to self-care.

1-            Personal Hygiene

When I’m in a pit of darkness, the first thing to go out of the window Is my personal hygiene. I have been known on numerous occasions not to have brushed/washed my hair for over a month. I have also been known not to brush my teeth for over fortnight or have a bath for weeks. This isn’t pleasant. Some people may wonder how I could have been like that, but when you feel so awful these things are the last of your worries.

So when I’ve eventually realised what’s going on and how I’m feeling, this is the first thing I try and tackle, whether this is just a thing of “I’m going to brush my teeth today” or “I’ll brush my hair”, it’s a start. I will, when I’ve almost climbed out this pit, get to a point where I get back into a routine of doing these things.

The biggest problem with this symptom, and not tackling it, is that it becomes a vicious cycle. You don’t do these things, and they make you feel worse, and then you feel worse, so you don’t do it.

2- Environment

Once I’ve started keeping myself clean, is normally when I realise that the environment that I am staying in really isn’t clean. I mean who has time to clean their bedroom when they’re busy being depressed?

It’s a horrible feeling, getting into dirty, smelly sheets when you’ve actually made an effort to have a wash. It’s also horrible not having any clean clothes to wear. So, I tend to use the idea of being able to go to bed in clean sheets a reward for having a bath, as it really is one of the best feelings in the world.

Also when you’re feeling depressed or stressed and you’ve got out of bed, only to trip over some dirty plates, slip on some bits of paper, and stub your toe on a pile of books. So I try my best to at least clear up what’s on my floor. To be in a tidy environment makes my mind feel less cluttered and makes myself feel a lot calmer.

 

 

 

3-            Food

When my mental health gets bad my diet also gets bad. This is one of those things, again, that can turn into a vicious cycle. Mine tends to turn into something more resembling the magic round-a-bout in Swindon- it’s a mess.

It could consist of overeating, undereating, only eating certain things, to anything in-between. When my mood goes and things get bad, my eating disorder gets worse.

Once I’ve realised what’s going on is when I try to regulate my eating a bit better. However, this doesn’t always happen. Yet I do know that if I do eat a nice cooked meal, it does make me feel better.

5-            Speak- Doctors/Professionals/Family/Friends

Although these things can help you gradually to feel better, if you are struggling with your mental health then there are professionals or doctors who can help you. If you already have a therapist, psychologist, CPN etc. then I recommend booking an appointment with them. If not, then try and get into your GP.

Also, try your family and friends if you can, try and speak to them. They can try and support you. I tend to isolate myself when I feel like this, so it’s really important to me.

6-            Fairy lights, fluffy socks, and face-masks

Finally, when all the practical stuff has been done. I can use the fairy lights, fluffy socks, and face-masks!

 

This isn’t to say you can’t use the things mentioned in point 6 first. It’s just that I find these unhelpful when it comes to self-care as I need to be doing the practical stuff first.

Right, I’m off to wash my hair and change my sheets.

Look after yourself,

Love Abbie xx

Day 3- How anxiety affects me

Day3- How anxiety affects me

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

I have had a few diagnosis’s over the last 5 years or so, one of these being generalised anxiety disorder.

Anxiety affects me in many ways. Sometimes It’s manageable, and sometimes it’s not.

Everybody will feel anxious at some point in their lives, it’s natural.

As we’ve evolved we haven’t managed to get rid of our stress response. So when you are sitting an exam and feel nervous your body effectively sees the exam as a bear. So you’ll get the response for siting an exam that you would if you were being hunted by a bear.

It’s when you experience anxiety often and find it unmanageable that it becomes a problem and then a disorder.

Although I was only diagnosed at 16, I’m sure I’ve had GAD for much longer. I remember always being a very anxious child.

My mum would drive us all round her friends house and I remember the feeling I’d get before I went it, I wouldn’t want to go in. I’d sit in the car feeling sick and shaking, and that was my anxiety.

But the thing I couldn’t understand was why I was feeling that way. Nothing bad would happen when I’d go in that house, I had met that friend so many times, yet every time I’d feel the same way.

I use to get the same feeling walk to school, sitting exams, going on to the shop, asking for something, and quite often just generally.

It was when I was 16 that I started experiencing panic attacks. These are so intense that the first time I experienced one I thought I was going to die.

During sixth form my anxiety was getting so bad that I would try and just spend time outside, as sitting in the sixth form building would just make me panic.

I have gradually found ways that I can manage my anxiety. But not entirely.

For me anxiety tends to be worse in the evening where I will just feel so sick and dizzy from intense feelings of anxiety.

One of the things I’ve found best for anxiety is talking to someone and telling them I feel anxious, and getting reassurance, especially if it’s a thought that is causing me anxiety.

I can find myself feeling anxious from thinking that someone thinks a certain way about me, so the way I would deal with that is by asking the person if this is true. Normally the thought I have isn’t true.

The harder times to deal with it are when I’m not sure what’s causing my anxiety or when there is something that I have to do and is unavoidable.

The only way I can deal with the unavoidable situations is by reassuring myself that it’s not forever and will be over soon.

I’m not saying I can completely cope with it now, because I really can’t. But I do find it slightly easier that I used to.

Some days are easier than others. Some days the bear is a big and some days it’s small.

Love Abbie xx