Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts
The confidence chronicles.

The confidence chronicles.



*This is a collaborative post*

"Confidence is a superpower, once you start believing in yourself the magic happens."

Confidence can take a lifetime to build and be knocked down in a matter of seconds. The truth is, most of us aren't confident in ourselves. The reasons for this vary on a huge scale and sometimes, sadly, some people don't ever build the levels of confidence in themselves that they need to feel good. For me, no matter how confident I can feel on the inside, the way I look always seems to drag me down. We all have our 'flaws' and things we wish we could change about ourselves and some things we will never be able to change. These things take over our brains and often turn us into someone who we don't want to be.

If you're like me, you will change other things about yourself to make you feel better if you can't change that thing, as much as you want to. I often feel uncomfortable about my acne, and I usually attempt to show my confidence via my hair colour. However, I do often worry about my hair and possible hair loss with the amount I dye it and the stress and depression in which I deal with. I had no idea until recently that depression can actually cause your hair to become dry and weaker, from low moods, a lack of energy and feeling drained which can eventually lead to hair loss! I found the article about this on Harley Street Hair Clinic which is full of interesting information about mental health and hair loss which I had no idea about. With my weight, my tattoos and bright coloured Dr Martens tend to give me that boost which I need. It's crazy to think what we see about ourselves that others don't see. Even those who seem the most confident, still have their struggles. 


Sometimes people don't struggle with their exterior appearance and more to do with what is within. I know that I struggle with talking to new people and groups of people in the fear that I come across boring and people don't actually want to know what I have to say. In some ways, this can actually be harder to overcome than the physical appearance side of confidence as it is you fighting against yourself. Although we can mask what we dislike on the outside, trying to lie to ourselves on the inside can often prove to be harder than it seems. Mind who is a mental health charity has some great tips about coming to terms with your low self-esteem and how you can get to the bottom of the issues to be able to allow yourself to continue to heal. Blast out those negative thoughts and fill the spaces with more positive ones. 

To me, my confidence does build every single day, week or month of the year. I've started to learn how to celebrate my successes, think about the 'good' qualities which I have and why they're good to have. I've also learnt how to stick up for myself more and become more assertive that includes everything from saying no to stuff I really don't want to do to taking control of your thoughts and not letting someone else do this for you. I totally understand this is not as easy as it seems but there a huge variety of resources in which you can use to help build your confidence on a daily basis and hit back against those negative thoughts.  

"Confidence is not they will like me, confidence is, I'll be fine if they don't"  


Confidence is about celebrating the little things you do, rather than focusing on what you weren't able to do. Making note of these victories for when your confidence is meter is a little low can be a great way to keep building rather than knocking it back down again. Spend time with those who make you feel great and who love you for you. My final piece of advice to those of you who feel this way is to reach out. Whether it is to a professional or a loved one, it's worth talking these things over, as often they can give you a whole new perspective on things. 

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Olivia Jade
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Would You Have Counselling Online?

Would You Have Counselling Online?


When you’re experiencing a mental health issue, it’s important to seek therapy or counselling. There are many ways to do this, whether you decide to work with a counselor in your local area or someone online. It’s a personal decision. Seeing a counsellor face to face has its advantages. You get that face-to-face interaction, and it can feel good to talk with someone in a physical space. However, for some people, online counselling is an option that feels more intimate to them than going to see a therapist. Let’s discuss some of the reasons that online counseling could work for you.


Convenience
Online counselling is exceptionally convenient. You can see your counsellor wherever there is a reliable Internet connection. It’s convenient in the sense that you can choose where and when you look at your therapist online. You’re able to speak with them via video chat, messaging, or over the phone. You get to pick whatever modality works the most efficiently for you. Your counsellor is adaptable and will work with your schedule. Plus, you won’t get stuck in traffic on the way to therapy!

Remote Areas and Accessibility
People who have disabilities or live in remote areas where there is not a large selection of therapists or counsellors tend to gravitate toward online therapy platforms. It’s a great alternative when you don’t have a large variety of mental health professional you'll find in the database of an online therapy site that there are more options than you might imagine, making it easier to access a specialist. Sometimes, your mental health needs are highly specific, and there are not people in your area that can cover those concerns.

Social anxiety
Sometimes one of the barriers to getting help is social anxiety. People who struggle with social interaction might have difficulty connecting with a therapist, so online counselling is an excellent alternative to sitting in a therapist’s office and talking with them in person. Online therapy provides a sense of intimacy that isn’t necessarily there when you’re working with a counsellor in a physical space. The person who is speaking with their counsellor feels connected with them because they are using their own devices - whether that’s a tablet, phone, or laptop. They get to choose how they communicate with their therapist, and that can relieve a lot of anxiety.


Communication styles
Every human being expresses themselves differently and has different preferences for how they like to communicate. Whether that is through voice, seeing somebody visually, or text. With online counselling, you can choose which modality of communication will work best for you and your counsellor. It helps because you can dictate the treatment, in a sense. You know your learning style, and you understand what makes you able to grasp the concept of new coping skill. Therapy isn’t just a place where you talk about your problems; it is a teaching place as well. You want to make sure that you get the information you need in a way that you will understand it. Maybe you’re not sure which mode works for you yet. You can try out different kinds of communication, such as text, video, and messaging. It’s helpful to experiment to see which of those gives you the best results. You and your counsellor can work together and decide what the most optimal communication style is for you.


Getting help is easier than before
Before online counselling, people may have hesitated to get help. Technology has made it easier than ever before to seek out a therapist and find someone who you connect with to get mental health services. Companies like BetterHelp offer a variety of different counsellors to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find one that meets your needs. It can be anxiety-provoking to try and get mental health care, but online therapy can relieve some of that stress by making it easier to find a therapist who specialises in your needs. An online mental health professional is dedicated to helping you stick to your schedule and to accommodating your needs. You have the right to get the help that you need in the way that you need it, so give online counselling a shot.


*This is a guest post written by Maria Miguel on behalf of BetterHelp, however, I had full editorial rights over this post. 

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Olivia Jade
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Lets talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Lets talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder.




Hello November. Goodbye Sunlight. 

The day of the year I dread more than most the day the clocks go back and this year that was on 28th October, I didn't mind the extra hour in bed, or that day, in general. It was a pretty good Sunday, but the loss of light which was ahead was stuck in my head. Knowing that it wouldn't be until March when those long nights became longer days all over again. Sat my desk that day, knowing when I started it was only just getting light and when I finish the light will be completely gone. Limiting myself to going out in the evenings because the dark is something I fear. The person I become not having those extra hours of light struggles through the next few months. SAD also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression which comes and goes throughout a seasonal pattern. Most of us struggle with change which is out of our control, but this goes deeper than that. The change for most of us who struggle with SAD is unbearable. The lack of light makes us a shadow of who we were in the summer. SAD doesn't just affect people who struggle with the winter months, it can be the same for the summer months too. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder brings out the worst parts our depression and there's nothing we can do about it. For me personally, it makes me want to hide out in my bed a lot more, as the idea of going outside is not something I want to contend with. Getting up and going to work seems to become more of a struggle each and every day. The energy I had in the other 5 months of the year, zapped from within me. Looking forward to the months of being able to open the curtains and feel happy to be awake. SAD can often make us feel like we want to hibernate and not see our friends, not go out, and finding it hard to sleep at night and then almost impossible to stay awake in the light. One of my bad bouts involved me failing to sleep at night due to constantly waking up, then sleeping all day until it was dark again. I think I went 4 days without seeing any natural light and it made me feel so ill, but I couldn't overcome it. 


Despite this, Christmas is still one of my favourite times of the year, and this is something which helps me to get through those really bad days. The upcoming excitement of the streets being covered in lights, a huge tree making its way to the middle of the town, my house being filled with bright and quirky ornaments and of course the best Christmas songs and films around. The spirit of people coming together churns out some of the person who has been hiding inside. I find it a lot easier to cope on days when I feel like I have things to look forward to, and as much as I hate to admit it on the days when I eat better, I do feel the benefit. Taking those daily vitamins is a great way to boost your mood from within also, I often don't realise how much they do for me until I stop taking them. Vitamin C and D are my best friends for giving me an extra boost.

Until recently I had suffered in silence about Seasonal Affective Disorder and when a work friend and I started to discuss how every single morning at work felt like we had to wade through water whilst feeling like we have weights on our ankles which was pulling us back down, no matter how hard we tried to stop it. He told me about SAD lights and what a difference they make to each day, this is called light therapy. Most light boxes emit 10,000 lux, which boosts the serotonin in your brain and helps you cope day to day during these times For someone who didn't even know these existed, it was a huge relief to learn such things are available in these bad times. This year, I've started to research in purchasing my own lightbox. Sad.uk who sell these lights also have a huge section of information on their site about the different types of light boxes you can get to suit your lifestyle as well offering information on SAD itself, which can be useful to share with friends and family. Sad.uk also recommend getting light in as early as possible to boost your energy throughout the day. 

For now, until the sun returns for another summer ahead, I will try to make the most of the light around me, whether that is real, or artificial. It all makes a difference.
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Olivia Jade
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Me, Myself & I. {AD}

Me, Myself & I. {AD}



2018 has actually been a year where I've noticed a huge amount of growth in myself, unfortunately not height wise *forever stuck at 5'3* but with my confidence. I've found myself doing things I wouldn't have done before, wearing clothes I'd of once felt I wasn't pretty enough to wear, speaking to new people and feeling more confident in myself as a whole. This for me is a huge win, from making new friends, staying at my job for 18 months, trying new styles of clothing and even wearing colour, going out more with friends and even feeling like my social skills are somewhat improving. 



  For me, since I can remember I have always been afraid, afraid of just about everything. Leaving my mum at the school gate, to doing my work experience in year 10. To leave my hometown and visit anywhere else. Going to pubs, clubs and even blogger events. I even have a phobia of most foods, including the texture of meat and anything that has seeds. 

Growing up, I always knew I was different. I found it hard to make friends, and I didn't know how to act around new people. Doing sports at school made me scared in case I would fall, and it wasn't the phobia of falling and hurting myself, it was the phobia of what people would do, would they laugh? would they act like didn't happen or would they come and help me. I would forever play out each of the scenarios in my head and it consumed my life. Despite having various types of therapy, I wasn't ever sure how to overcome my struggles.  



I would write stories, and I always would be the shy girl, the underdog who just needed her chance to shine, and it felt like this was me my entire life growing up. I would want to be one of the 'popular' people and always fell short. I forever dreamed of being an author, I would spend hours of my time, drafting all of these stories, especially after reading book after book where the uncool girl became the one everyone wanted to be friends with. 

Being different for me in my teenage years was something I found hard, I wanted to belong somewhere where I wasn't alone. I tried to change myself so much but it wasn't the answer, even as an adult up until recently, I thought I needed to fit in. 2018, has been the year where I've stopped caring what people think of me, I am that girl who has bright coloured hair, a yellow raincoat on and the brightest doc martens. Weirdly, now after hating who I am for the majority of my life, I feel somewhat more confident in who I have become.


"Be proud of how you see yourself, rather than ashamed of how others see you."

There are people everywhere, and I wish I had understood this growing up. The people who are around you now, are unlikely to be around forever. Things change, people change and the world changes. Some friendships last, sadly others don't. You learn who your real friends are and those who aren't. You only need to live for you, and that's the huge thing in life a lot of people don't realise, myself included



Learning, that living with a mental illness doesn't make me any less worth happiness, and that my moods are something that sometimes I cannot control. I didn't choose this illness, in fact, it chose me. I come with my quirks but that's just what makes me, well yano, me. 

My goals for 2019 are to work on my confidence even further, this includes facing the things that make me 'hate' myself, as opposed to loving myself. Keep making steps in the right direction and continue being me. 




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Olivia Jade
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University, the unknown and what to do when you can't cope.

University, the unknown and what to do when you can't cope.



It's now been over a year since I finished university which feels like such a long time ago in some aspects and like it was yesterday in others, yesterday, I was invited along to speak on BBC Radio 5 live about mental health awareness whilst at university from the perspective as someone who has made it through university (by some miracle) whilst having a mental illness in tow. The experience of the radio was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed having that verbal platform, I also decided it would be great to share my experiences on my blog as there is so much more which needs to be spoken about and as you've probably guessed from my blog and my huge section on mental health, it's something I am passionate about. I have previously touched on my experiences on What Uni and decided it would be great to expand on this on my blog too. Let me know your thoughts and feelings in the comments below your experiences around mental health and university. 

The pressures of going to university: 
University can be a difficult experience for anyone who goes, whether you're the most outgoing person around or the quietest. The picture painted for most of us around university is one of the best times of your life, no parents, a ton of alcohol and parties, making new friends and for most of us love interests too. Oh and that *small thing* of work, lectures and learning new things. I went to university on a whim, which is definitely not something I'd recommend, during college, I felt like I was talked into going to university, it was never something that massively interested me, as I didn't know the career path I wanted to go down. I remember when everyone was at college, applying to UCAS and choosing the universities they wanted to go to, I felt like I wasn't ready to go or if I was going to go at all. Although we are all considered adults at 18, I don't feel like many of us are in the right place to make the decision of what our future could hold and for £27,000+, it is a pretty important decision to make. I was told to apply by my tutors and then if I didn't go then all I'd lose is the application fee for that university. So I did. I applied to the local university as at this point the idea of moving away and living with strangers was not something I could deal with. 

For anyone who isn't sure about the route to take, after college/sixth form it can be extremely difficult to decide as it one of the first times in your life you have to make that choice yourself, but it is important to remember that if you decide you no longer want to be a part of the course which you've joined you can drop out within 1st year and then go on to start a new course and get full funding for the three years. Which is something I wish I had done as I knew from the early days the course is not something I wanted to carry on doing. 


Change, so much change:
I remember the first few weeks of my lectures were absolutely awful as I struggle to take the information in, let alone write it down as I was convinced my stomach might rumble (like really loud) or that I might not be able to get a seat despite there always being way more seats than people. It feels somewhat like going back to school as you're in a whole new place, on your own and you don't know how to feel. Then comes the workload and for me that felt like it was never-ending, you'd get work for each of your modules and were told you needed to put like 40 hours study in at home a week which in reality isn't really possible and to top it all off, making new friends involves having somewhat of a social life. Of course, with that much change, the majority of us are going to feel floored by that, but it is important to remember that other people will feel the same as you and you can talk to people about it. I often found myself taking to the internet mainly Twitter to talk about my anxiety around university and I found a lot of other people related to how I felt.

I'm struggling: 
Whether it is you or a friend who is struggling, there are platforms of support out there for them. I know a lot of university students don't reach out to their parents for fear of feeling like a failure. Others struggle to reach out to their friends due to what they're seeing on social media and for me, that was a huge part of the FOMO I was feeling, as all of my other friends were meeting new friends, partying and I struggled to keep my head above water. Most universities offer counselling on site to help those struggling and in the last few years, the support keeps getting bigger and better. There shouldn't be any stigma in needing to reach out for further support, no matter who you reach out to. I ended up needing to be signed off university for a while, which meant I needed a sick note from my doctor which is when my university became aware of my struggles and told me all about what they offer on site. I was assigned a note taker for those times in lectures when I wasn't able to cope with coming in or when I was struggling to take focus. I remember feeling really embarrsed when the note taker would hand me my notes as from the outside I look and act 'fine'. Before my sick note, I wasn't really aware of my university offering these services, so it is important to speak to your lecturers to find out what is available for you.

This is not your fault:
It's easier than said done to believe in situations of crisis that you are not to blame. But the same as any illness physical or mental you cannot help it. I remember thinking how pathetic I am, surrounded by a room of people who are doing the exact same thing as me, but yet again I am the one struggling to come to lectures, not being able to make friends and finding it hard to comprehend the 40 hours of work I am due to do after this. But now I am starting to understand these situations aren't my fault and can't be helped. Whatever course you are studying, in whatever town or city or even country you are allowed to feel overwhelmed and shouldn't feel guilty for doing so.

P.s. If you don't feel like you can talk to anyone around you in real life, remember there are people you can call to talk through your feelings such as Samaritans who are free to call  and you can reach them on 116 123
 and they're open 365 days a year 24/7 and are happy to talk through just about anything you're struggling with, as someone who has used them previously, it is great to be able to talk about your feelings with someone who doesn't know you and can offer an ear. Mind also offers a lot of amazing services, including resources if you're in crisis. Finally, if you or someone around you is feeling distressed it is worth ringing 111, who can offer you the best advice and services that may be needed. 

I am thinking of creating a series of posts around mental illness/health and university and I would love to know if this is something you'd enjoy, let me know in the comments and I hope you found this post somewhat useful. 

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Olivia Jade
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Lets talk about: Relationships and Mental Health.

Lets talk about: Relationships and Mental Health.



Without a doubt, being in a relationship when you suffer from a mental illness makes it 10x more difficult especially for me as someone who has BPD I previously wrote a post about dating when you have BPD and I thought it would be interesting to delve more into what it is like when you get past the dating stage. I find the start of relationships the most difficult part as it's so new, and I wonder what is ok to tell that person without scaring them off, as well as struggling to comprehend my own emotions in these new situations. That new person doesn't know about your triggers, how to cope with you when you're having a bad day or may not even be aware of the condition in itself. Each relationship is different and in some relationship, one person has a mental illness or both of you might, and the severity of each persons illness may vary and that's where it gets complicated. If you both suffer from different issues it makes it somewhat easier in real life situations to deal with, especially with anxiety as most of us know that some people struggle with situations more than others. My boyfriend struggles with things I often don't and vice a versa. I do think being in a relationship with someone who has had a first-hand experience of mental health does make them more empathic towards you and your situation, but also those who have been around others suffering as they understand somewhat what you are going through.  

Emma from Emma Jots says: 
I suffer from anxiety, depression and extreme stress. I also have chronic IBS which is brought on by all of the above. I have suffered with self-harm in the past and always felt extremely vulnerable because of my mental health issues. But my husband really understands and he gives me time, and he looks out for me all the time. We get through it and come out stronger. I do feel like I am a drain on him at times but he gives me the caring side I need.

Like Emma, I do often feel like I am draining on Will and it can be hard to get over the hurdle of them wanting to be with you because they want to and not because they have to, and in my head, this will always be something that I worry about. The care that is shown to me by Will does really help with my mental health and even when I end up getting unwell and taking my feelings out him, he is understanding of why. 

Alice from Danity Alice advised:
Communication is key, and someone who is supportive and understanding is great as she knows even on her bad days she can rely on him for support.  

Like Alice, I agree that communication is key, without it, it does often cause issues in a relationship, trying to keep a front on things is often when I find out that it causes issues within a relationship. 



Alice from Alice Loyallaloen shared her personal experience on the subject here:
For me, I think a positive way to approach this type of relationship is it’s about understanding the triggers that another person has and realising that to you it may not mean much but to another person I may mean a lot. Patience and compromise and realising that nothing is a direct reflection on you and your relationship. Mental health is at times irrational and illogical so it’s about being supportive and understanding the realities of what someone else feels. I have been in relationships that have been sooo toxic because of misunderstanding my mental health. There were horrific arguments all because of a complete disregard for support and kindness. I even had issues with a previous partner thinking that I did not have a problem and that anxiety isn’t a thing. If someone does not understand and acknowledge your mental health issues then there is no point in a relationship with them in my opinion.

Alice gives a great point in this about stating that mental health is at times irrational and illogical and it is, it takes away any of the feelings that a 'normal' person would have and amplifies them and this is often hard to deal with, a small argument can turn into a huge one, and unless it is spoken about it will keep spiralling out of control, I do find it hard to admit when I am wrong and often when I am struggling as it makes me feel weak. I am starting to learn a lot more about myself and with the help of BetterHelp who is an online service who offer help from trained therapists as well as a huge range of articles to help you along your journey, I am starting to learn how to function better as part of a couple After being on your own for so long and being with someone who doesn't really understand what you are going through, it can be hard to let your guard down. 



Finally to finish off the post I thought it would be interesting to get Will to share his thoughts on Relationships and Mental Health. 

Will says: 
I think being able to understand and communicate mental health issues is really important in relationships. Without those two things, it could cause conflict and tension. It can be really hard to open up about mental health issues but when you're with someone who gets it and understands things can start to look up. I think since I've learnt about what mental health issues Olivia suffers from it's helped me to be able to make things better for her. We've been able to talk about it and we have both made lots of progress together.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this post, it is great to understand from other points of view from what it is like to suffer from mental health issues in a relationship and how you overcome it.

*This post was sponsored by BetterHelp and always all thoughts are my own and they're a great company who do some amazing work. 

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Olivia Jade
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