Monday, 12 January 2015
After much consideration I have decided to move bloghouse, so to speak.
I can now be found at:
A big thank you to everyone who read my blog and I hope you will follow me to my new home:)
Sunday, 4 January 2015
Hi pretty people!
If anyone follows me on twitter or instagram, first of all thank you, and second of all, you will of noticed that on Christmas eve I turned off my phone until new years eve. Five full days.
There are countless studies done and articles written about how checking your e-mails less will make you happier, how we are addicted to our phones, how we need to ‘detox from technology’ and cut back on how much we use and depend on it for the benefit of our mental health.
During my first stay in St Pats Hospital there was no wi-fi, and I thought I’d become totally detached from the world. But it turned out to be a huge eye opener. Yes it was odd for the first while, I didn’t know what to do with my newly discovered free time, and I swear, the repetitive strain injury in my thumb from ‘sliding to unlock’ healed right up!
But it also gave me a huge sense of freedom and peace. There was no panic when it came to replying to emails or texts, I didn’t jump every time it beeped, I even noticed I stopped bringing it to the table at meal times. I also began to notice how everyone else was, more often than not on their phone, and how stressed people were as a result.
Fast forward a year, and I’m feeling the stress in college at the moment and notice I’m reaching for my phone as a reflex, an outlet for my nervous energy. The irony of it is though is its probably making it worse. Ironically enough I realised how much I depended on my phone as one evening I couldn't think of anything to do when my mam was using my phone to watch a movie. I was reading an article in Vogue, which I'd had for a few weeks, but had never gotten around to looking at it. The article was about people who were becoming socially unbearable from over use of their phones, and were so busy recording their lives and tweeting their every move they forgot to actually live life.
I wanted to do some good (how cliche!) for other people's mental health, as well as my own. I'm connected with a charity Walk in my Shoes, which raises awareness of the issues surrounding young people's mental health. I asked people to make a donation as a sort of 'sponsorship' and to help raise funds and awareness.
For the first day, I kept thinking in terms of tweets rather than thoughts, which simply reinforced how much I needed the detox in my mind!I didn't actually miss it much, but I was sick with a kidney infection and panned on the couch, so I'm not sure if that counts. On Christmas Day, I was thinking about how I would fashion my photos of my presents, rather than taking the time to appreciate what I'd gotten and the wonderful family around me. It continued to strike me how much my life, even though I thought I didn't buy into social media, revolved around it. I usually sleep with my phone under my pillow to use the app Sleep Cycle, and listen to rain or something to put me to sleep, but I actually found I slept better in the silence, and don't need anything to help me drift off. Now my phone is at the other side of my room on silent with a regular alarm; and I never use it while in bed.
I was noticing other things too. My eyes didn't burn, and my folks commented on how they looked brighter. I also noticed I'd more time to, well do stuff. I read a book that I bought and left sitting on my shelf for months. I watched movies properly instead of half watching them, half watching my phone. After two days I found my concentration improved and I didn't have such stiff neck. I was more inclined to take an interest in things around me, and bought loads of books for the first time in ages:)
By the time day five was coming up, I wasn't actually looking forward to switching on my phone again. I missed my Yoga Studio app and my Head Space app, but now I don't take them for granted and use them every day.
Turning your phone off is good for your mental health!!
I have found myself slipping back to old habits, but I'm more aware of it now. I try to avoid bringing the phone around the house with me and will not bring it to the dinner table.
I would definitely definitely recommend that everyone, even just for a few evenings a week, put the phone on flight mode, or just turn it off. With more hotels, such as The Westin in Dublin, doing technology free Wellbeing Weekends, technology detoxing will become more popular and fashionable than ever! I do feel it's inevitable that you have to interact with technology and social media, but I think there's a balancing act to be done. That's something I'll be continuing to work on in 2015.
If you decide to give it a try, I'd love to know how people get on. Does anyone think they have a good balance between technology and life?
Look after yourself and each other:)
www.walkinmyshoes.ie Link to the charity 'Walk in my Shoes' where you can find out more and make a donation.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
So this isn't the most thought over post, it's more an accumulation of thoughts from the past year all thrown together in the one place...
So without further a due, as I'm sure you're DYING to know what I intend to be doing over 2015.....
In no particular order....
- Continue to build, and actually read books from my 'Books to Read' List. I seem to like lists don't I? I have books like 'The Secret' and 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' you know, glorified self help books, but I'd also love to read some classics, and feel educated. Recently bought loads of good books including 'Quiet' which is all about being introverted, which I think I'm becoming more! All literary recommendations welcome, though no romance or sic fi please!
- Practise mindfulness and yoga on a regular basis. It never ceases to amaze me how good I feel after either of these practises, but for some reason I don't practise them regularly enough. Or regularly at all. For anyone looking to get started I'd recommend the 'Yoga Studio' app, and of course the legendary 'Headpsace' app or anything by Jon Kabbat-Zinn for mindfulness.
- Drink more water and green tea. I'm still looking for a green tea I actually like, but I swear if I can find one that doesn't taste like dirt I'll drink five cups a day!
- Do most of the 'Couch to5k App'. I'm not sure what most of it is, but I'd like to get past week 3...Oh the shame....
- Stick with Slimming World, and loose two stone. Oh yeah, I'm now at a I-hate-what-I-see-in-the-mirror-I've-never-EVER-been-this-big-before (deep breath) tenstone. Ten Stone. But now is not the time to get emotional, tomorrow I start a fresh and I know I can do this. END OF.
- Complete the Compassion based Focus Therapy programme. This is an out patient psychiatric programme which runs for about six months and helps you learn to love yourself and be a bit more compassionate towards yourself, and to help with low self esteem and lack of confidence. I'm hoping to start it over the summer after college. It's a very personal piece of work but I'm really looking forward to doing it.
- Blog and Vlog more. This is something I say I want to do every year. In fairness, I finally set up a blog this year, so I'm getting somewhere! I really want to buy a decent camera, as at the moment I'm using my iphone4 and the picture quality is dreadful, and there's not much hope of recording a decent video on it! But I will definitely try to sort this out this year and learn how to edit video and pictures as well.
- Enjoy life more. This seems a simple enough one, but I really want to live a bit more and get to know good people. And laugh. And make friends.
Yeah, this is kinda a big one. Maybe that should be graduate in one piece, considering how stressful I'm finding college and it's only the end of semester one! But fingers crossed this year in September I'll finally be going up to college my degree. Getting a bit teary thinking about it already!
So that's some of my list of things I want to do in 2015. I'd love to hear what other people are planning and hoping for this coming year!
Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year:)xxxx
Saturday, 6 December 2014
So I was sitting at the kitchen table, after a days study, when this familiar wave crept over me. Its started off slow, and then hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't an unusual feeling, I'd been here before. In the chest crushing, over whelming sense of the emotion this wave brought.
That wave, was loneliness.
Now please don't stop reading because you think this is going to be a really depressing post and for feck sake theres enough bad shit going on in the world, I dont need to be reading more of it! I get that feeling, honestly I do. It's the same thing thats been going through my head as the Irish Times puts up constant posts about homelessness on my Twitter feed, and I can't cope with the sadness of homelessness because my own home means so much to me and I couldn't bare to loose it. Not to mention the idea that you'd have no body in the world who'd want to look after you.
So I decided in order to cope with this over whelming sense of loneliness I was going to busy myself by cleaning my room. I was going to pull out all the drawers and clean them and dust everything and I was going to be so shattered tired after all that I wouldnt be able to be lonely, and wouldn't I have a great sense of achievement and then that'd be lonliness pushed aside for another night!
On my twitter feed...
Popped up this fella.....
And I realised, that tonight, yeah maybe I was going to clean out my whole room, and it'd be great. But that I wasn't going to run away from what I felt. That loneliness was shit, but it was ok to feel it and I shouldn't have to hide it.
I started thinking as well about what Kevin says about how depression never goes away. Now my speciality so to speak isn't really depression, I do suffer with it, but I would class myself as suffering more with anxiety. But the same rings true for both illness', they don't go away, even when you recover.
In the media, and I think this is a perception I have enforced upon myself, it's ok to suffer with mental health, as long as you're on the road to recovery and you're not suffering right now. I say this is a self inflicted perception I have because despite setting up this blog to communicate to the outside world what it was like to suffer from a mental illness, I haven't really said much about the day to day issues. Ya know its ok to not be ok, just not right now.
Stigma. It's one of the biggest words around mental health. Even when I do outpatient programmes we talk about stigma. Society's stigma, self stigma, these are huge issues and I personally don't have answers for them. I self stigmatise A LOT. Another stigma thats coming up is this idea of bringing people down when you talk about your mental issues, and this is where the idea of 'it's ok to not be ok, just not right now' comes into play.
I don't blame people. Its only natural to not want to hear sad things. About homelessness, about the economy, about how a loved one is feeling like shit yet again today. But this fear of bringing people down, or that people switch off when things we don't really want to hear about come up, is real. and its so damaging to people who suffer with mental health.
This fear of bringing people down just adds to the culture of silence about certain aspects about mental health. Mental health is such a hot topic, and for that I am so grateful. Its not lost on me that if I'd been born generations earlier I'd possibly of been sent to have a frontal lobotomy, if I hadn't had such wonderful caring folks I could of ended up on drugs and if they're hadn't of been such awareness there would never of been such great work done around mental health and I might still not be here.
But we need to open the discussion further..
We need to say it's ok to talk about the day to day stuff. That people don't need to pay €150 an hour to have someone listen to their thoughts because they've got people in their day to day lives who even if they don't fully understand that they will listen anyways because it's ok to talk about these things.
It needs to be ok for me to write here:
I'M SO LONELY AND IT SUCKS!!
Because I might not be the best fun in the world, but I'm an ok person, who'd like a friend. And if you stayed with me till here, thanks so much, it means an awful lot to me. *HUGS*
And thanks Kevin, for reminding me why I started this fight, and why I get up every day and fight some more.
Thursday, 27 November 2014
Hi Pretty people!
I AM IN MY FINAL YEAR IN UNIVERSITY.
Just read the above statement again. Anyone who has been through this, is going through it or who is facing in will probably of had a sharp intake of breath and shuddered. It's possibly one of the most stressful times of this age and stage of life.
For the last seven weeks, I have been a completing a Wellness Recovery Action Plan at St Patrick's psychiatric hospital as an out patient two days a week, and then spending the rest of the week in college. At the beginning of last week, I started to experience sever anxiety again. I think when you've been well for quite a while, when you do start feeling depressed or anxious or what ever type of symptoms people experience with their particular mental health difficulties, it's some how scarier than before. This is, I think, because you're almost afraid that you will get sick again, that this is the beginning of a bigger problem. Also, I think it's because being well is so enjoyable you're angry at the thought of being sick again, of going back to being the person you were; the person ruled by your illness.
I spent that evening in bed with a serious migraine, which is always a sign of stress in me. The next morning I had to attend the hospital again and luckily, even though I felt frightened and physically and mentally stressed, I was able to discuss what I was experiencing with the facilitators there, and realise that I was hugely stressed over college.
Final year is tough. Like, seriously tough. I had been neglecting that fact and had expected to sail through it, and also forgotten how much college stress affected me in general. The WRAP programme taught me how to plan and deal with these type of situations and learn more about myself, so I had the foundations to build a plan for how to deal with this stress and stop it bubbling over. I'll put the link to the WRAP website below. It's an amazing program and I would recommend that anyone, with or without mental health difficulties do it, the life skills it teaches you can be applied to any situation.
So these are so bits of advice and tips to try to help you deal with exam stress!:)
- Try to be organised: I don't mean in every aspect of your life! But having deadlines written down, what the type of assessment is for each class and how much the assessments are worth is a big help. Knowing how much an assessment is worth is a good way to decide how much time you should devote to it and having the dates written down avoids any uncertainty and panic. Try keep a copy where you study, on your computer and in your phone.
- Back up everything: If you're like me and all your work is on computer, make sure you back everything up, either it be to iCloud or google drive or even the good ol' USB stick. If you've an iPhone set it to auto update your iCloud and google drive so you'll have everything together.
- Find somewhere and a time you're comfortable studying: For me I study best in the morning down in the kitchen. I always find something to distract me or tidy in my room and by the end of the day I'm just way too tired for study!
- Drink as much water as you can: This is a really basic one I know, but you do feel better when you drink water! Add some fruit or sugar free cordial to make it less boring! Have a couple of different bottles around the house and take sips out of them.
- Try to eat well: This is soo hard when you're busy with college!! I walk past two chippers and two pizza places on the way home from college and its so tempting to go in and get something quick and tasty. But your body actually uses energy to break down processed food, energy which you could be using to study or write assessments! If you can, try cook simple pasta dishes with tomato sauce and some veg, or even get the ready made dinners you can get in most places now. They're only a €5 and you get two days out of them. Spar do the nicest ones I think. Or else make soups and freeze it, throw in a potato or pasta and happy days:)
- Try some yoga: I have gone on about the benefits of yoga in my October Favourite's post already, but I'm finding it brilliant for dealing with the physical aspects of stress like sore, stiff neck and shoulders and muscle spasms. If it's really not your thing, a great tip my physio gave me is to take a tennis ball, and place it between a wall and your back, and use the ball as a way to massage out knots. You can even study while you're doing it!
- Mindfullness: Ok, Ok, I know, this is a dirty word. This is also the new buzz word in the mental health industry and its severely over used! But I have found mindfulness good recently. I use the app Headspace, which is a slightly more modern take on mindfulness, with some fn animations and great advice. People think it's all about stoping your thoughts and clearing your mind but that is NOT true! I find Headspace particularly good because its explained in simple English and it is realistic. If you're still not convinced check out their website. Also try following mindful or wellbeing pages on Twitter and Facebook for tips and if you can't do without your social media fix!!
- Don't take on anything extra: I know this isn't always possible as people have jobs and family commitments, for which may I say FAIR PLAY. I am in the very lucky position that I don't have a job or kids and I honestly don't know how people who do have these constraints manage college at all, least of all in final year. What I mean by this is that this may not be the best time to decide to paint the house, or take up couch to five k, or vow to loose that half a stone before Christmas or try read War and Peace! (I have this running joke with people than when college is over I'll get to read all those complicated books I want to read, instead of college stuff!) Basically college is going to take up the significant part of your time, so don't be trying to kill yourself doing or achieving other stuff.
- Do something everyday you enjoy: I can hear you screaming at me now, 'Are you kidding?!There's not enough hours in the day!' but please try to do this, just for fifteen minutes a day. Whether it's reading a (light!) book, writing a diary, watching a tv show what ever it is, allow yourself to do it for at least fifteen minutes every day. It will really benefit you mentally and physically.
- Have what ever drives you around you: For me it's a list on my wall of all my presentations and assignments and crossing them off as I'm done, best feeling ever! I've also got a list of short and long term goals to remind me of what I want and why I'm working so hard. Also, my background on my computer is a picture of three snow men that remind me of my family and make me smile. It can even be pictures of the places you're going to go travelling or your dream job.What ever it takes to remind you of why you're doing this and there is an end in sight.
- Take multi vitamins: This is just about the worst time ever to get sick, but somehow it always happens! Ask your college doctor or pharmacist about a good brand to take and try and take it with your main meal in order to absorb the most goodness. If you're really feeling poorly and tired consider being tested for B12 deficiency, which is done through a blood test. Remember though, it's natural to be tired with everything thats going on. Try have a regular bed time, and they say the best sleep you get it the sleep you get before 12pm.
- Stop working an hour before bed: This is an important one my psychologist advised me to do. It's because your brain needs time to wind down before it can sleep, so this is especially applicable to worriers who find their brains very active. Try and stay away from the phone and computer for that hour too! If you're not getting good quality sleep it will affect the quality of everything else in your life, including college work!
- Ask your college for help: Seriously I could do a whole article about asking for help in any situations of your life, but this is one where people will definitely be able to help you! You are not the first, nor will you be the last student who'll approach their college in need of help in final year. Or any year for that matter. So just go, ASK! Talk to your class rep, your year head or any department that helps students. If you're not sure what to ask for help about ask them about time management skills, assignment writing skills or if needs be about extensions or extenuating circumstances. This is when a set of unusual personal circumstances which has greatly affected your college work and will be taken into account when you're being graded. This can include physically injury, a death ect
- Try remember LIFE WILL GO ON!! This is a hard one. Mostly because if they worst case scenario happens and you fail, well it does change your circumstances and what you had planned for your life. But life does go on. It may not seem like it at the time, but it will. It will take strength to get up and try again, but you will find it somewhere, and its always worth using the appeals time to see if you can speak to lecturers about where you went wrong. Again, you will not be the first or the last, but make how you react different to all the rest, and you could still have that dream job, just maybe not the exact way you thought you'd get it!
So those are my tips for trying to keep your head around college stress. They're all ones that have been said before but sometimes you need to see them written down again! If anyone has any tips or tricks they do for coping with exam and college stress please leave a comment below, or on my twitter or instagram account.
Thanks so much for reading!
Wellness Recovery Action Plan Website:
Sunday, 2 November 2014
Hi Pretty people!
Just another quick note....
If you would like to follow my ramblings but with less characters, you can now follow me on twitter!
Hi pretty people!
First of all, I'm soo sorry for the lack of posting, college has totally taken over my life! Also I have some really exciting news about a project I'm working on in regards to mental health with the college that I can't wait to tell you about!:)
But all about that later;)
I don't know if it's just me, but October flew by. One minute it was the end of summer and college was starting and the next its almost Christmas(I know, I dropped the C bomb!) Madness!
So with out further a due, here are the things I have been lavishing love on in the last month!
Home made pop corn: I hadn't made this since my second year in college until recently and I loooove it! It's so much nicer than microwavable stuff, which always has that weird after taste that you cant get rid of.However, I recently discovered that 100g of unposed popcorn made with 125ml cooking oil has 559 calories!So I'm going to look into cooking it with rapeseed oil, as that's supposed to make it healthier!
Yoga: I down loaded the 'Yoga Studio' app and it it brilliant! I find it so beneficial for the physical aspects of stress, such as tension knots and stiffness. The app has different levels, and is in 15 or 30 minute slots, meaning it doesn't take much time out of your day. I would say to everyone to give yoga a try, you feel so much better and it's wonderfully calming for the mind. Ooooohm...
Walking: Bit of a boring one, but I have been walking home from college every day and trying to get in as much brisk walking as I can. I try to incorporate some jogging, in the hope that one day my walks will become jogs! I can't stress enough how good for you it is to get out in the fresh air and do some exercise, even for 10 or 15 minutes, especially for people who suffer with their mental health. Exercise has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress, improve the quality of your sleep and to help you develop more energy. And remember, no matter how slow you're going, you're still lapping everyone on the couch!
Crepes: Oh.My.God. I discovered Gino's crepes in town and now I am just addicted! They're on O' Connell street and Gratfon street, and you can not walk by without wanting one!The crepes with filling are around the €5, meaning they're not cheap, but soo worth it! I'm going to try Lemon Jelly crepes which are supposed to be the nicest in Dublin.And now I really want one, dammit!
Soap and Glory Heel Genius foot cream: This cream is so light and soothing on the feet. After along day walking around town or home from college this cream/gel is just what my feet need. It has allantoin, glycerin, macadamia oil, menthol, and bilberry with fruit smoothers. I use this after my shower and I haven't needed to use my ped-egg once since I started using it. Feet are a lot less scary with this little gem!
My Diary: With the medication making my head a little fuzzy, and the million and one appointments with staff in college and at the hospital, and due dates for papers I really needed something I could write stuff down in and carry around in my hand bag and school bag(I feel about 12 saying that!) So my lovely mom found my this really cute diary and its been so useful:)
Garner Body Intensive 7 Day Lotion for dry to Extra Dry Skin: I have seriously dry body skin. As in if I didn't moisturise after every shower my skin would start to peel and get so itchy and raw. Even things like emulsifying ointment wasn't enough, But since i have started to use this I haven't had any problems with my skin. It really does what it promises and is fast absorbing and doesn't have a strong smell. It's also not expensive and can be gotten in most grocery stores or Boots, and I even think I saw the big bottles in the €2 store, which are around €7 normally! I would have no hesitation recommending this and they do cater for other types of skin with in this range.
American Horror Story: I only started watching this on Halloween, how appropriate, and already I'm onto season 2. I don't know if I'm going to like Asylum as much as the first series, probably because of the subject matter, but I have to say I'm still glued to it. Freaky as shit!
No. 7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum: I have just started using this again as it never does any harm to do a little extra when it comes to anti ageing, especially when my birthday is this month! I really love this product, even though it it very expensive (probably not be general serum standards, but it is for me), but Boots often do No.7 vouchers and they have recently brought out a new larger size of these serums. I use the Advanced version, while my mother uses the Intense, which is for older skin. This has made a huge difference to my skin, it's clearer and smoother and I will always keep this serum in my skin care regime. I also have another No.7 favourite but will be doing a separate post on that:)
So ladies, there are my October favourites! Are any of my favourites on your list too? What did you love in the month of October? As always I'd love to hear from people so leave any comments below!
Thanks so much for reading:) xx