Showing posts sorted by date for query mental health. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query mental health. Sort by relevance 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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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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Here's to 5 years of Dungarees & Donuts!

Here's to 5 years of Dungarees & Donuts!


When I think about how long 5 years is, I can't get over the length of time it is and what I've achieved in that time. I launched Dungarees & Donuts back in college and since that time I've completed a degree and I am now working a full-time job. I've changed my name via deed poll and had two relationships. Like, a lot has happened. I remember talking to my best friend at the time about her blog and YouTube, she would speak to all of these really cool people on Twitter and it was like they were real-life best friends despite never meeting. Her blog was full of book reviews, colourful pictures and posts about makeup and I wanted to get in on the action. I set up my blog which to this day don't know why the name Dungarees & Donuts stuck, but I did eat a lot of Donuts in college and Dungarees goes well with it, plus when I first launched my blog I wanted to talk about fashion. Over the years my blog really has taught me a lot and I've made some great friends, gained some confidence I know I would not have without my blog and have been able to share my passion for writing with the world.


Since I was younger I've always wanted to be a writer, even in Primary School, I'd create these 'books' which were essentially a lot of folded paper stapled together and a drawing I'd done on the front and in reality the book was only around 5 pages, but it felt like a huge deal to me at the time. In early high school, I decided to go down the route of creating children's books and although I never shared them with anyone bar, my family, I think it gave me, even more, drive to get my writing out there. 



I get asked a lot what I blog about and sometimes it feels easier to say what they want to hear e.g. beauty. But in reality Dungarees & Donuts is me, on a website. It's full of colour, quirky clothes, ramblings about everyday life and tons of posts about my own mental health and it's a huge part of me and although it's been 5 years I couldn't see myself getting bored of it anytime soon. I take small breaks from time to time and do often get frustrated when it comes to writers blog but I manage to come out of it stronger and as long as you guys still want to read, I will keep posting. For me my blog was once about constant scheduled content, 5 times a week to posting weekly once or twice and loving the content I am putting out. Each post full to the brim of photos I love and each piece of content I actually feel proud of, whereas before I created the content because I felt like I had to. 


The blogging community has changed over the years too, I was forever wanting to fit in with everyone else and what they were doing and over recent years there have been more alternative blogs making a stir within the community and they're who I aspire to be like. I love to read makeup blogs and learn new things which I would otherwise have been clueless about, but I know it's not my forte so it seems pointless trying to make it what my blog is about. The blogging community has shifted from a ton of chats each night to just a few a week, I am glad they're still going somewhere. Blogging feels like it is mostly now about making it someway in the industry, YouTubers, as we know, have HUGE incomes and get invited to lots of events and it makes us jealous, me included, but although bloggers may not get as much of the industry as YouTubers do, it's still great to know we have that kind of influence. It's amazing that normal people such as you and I can have such a big influence from anywhere in the world. 

I still pinch myself each time I get an email in my inbox about reviews and sponsored content and each time I still wonder why they'd want to work me, but at the same time, I feel eternally grateful and I doubt that feeling of wow, will ever stop for me. I feel privileged to be where I am today with my blog and have such a supportive readership. For the future of Dungarees & Donuts, I hope to keep spreading awareness around mental illness and it makes me feel great doing so because I know that during my struggles, so many of you have had my back and helped me through the tough times. I promise to keep making you proud and on to the next five years. 

I feel like I totally need to hold a glass of champagne and this point. 
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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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The truth about dating with BPD

The truth about dating with BPD




Dating with BPD is a tricky one, from my own personal experience I fall fast and find it had to cope with the emotions that come from dating. Dating for anyone can be confusing, do they like me? Why haven't they replied? I think I've been ghosted and half of the time that person just doesn't like you and doesn't have the guts to tell you. I have always struggled to think rationally when it comes to dating, and I am always willing to give someone a chance. As someone with BPD, I do think I am easily manipulated and I know I give off those vibes, which sadly people use for their own gain. I find it hard to not know things, so when I am left hanging after a date whether it's a few hours or a few days it makes me feel like there is something wrong with me, or I did something wrong. My best friend always said whilst I was dating I went after the red flags instead of avoiding which to some degree I can now see this is true. I like to try to fix those who don't want to be fixed, I get attached to people who treat me badly and those who are actually nice to me confuse me as I don't understand why they're being nice. 

I dated someone who was nice to me until I fell for him, acting like I meant so much to him. Then bam, he was gone, and only came back when he needed something from me. But in my head, this meant he wanted to come back to me and I spent the best part of 2 months being treated like a piece of rubbish by this person. It honestly felt so much longer too. I've never felt mistreated so badly by another human, and as innocent as he tried to play the whole situation, he knew exactly what he was doing. He was looking at other girls Tinder profiles in front of me, on dating apps messaging girls telling them they're beautiful and acting like I didn't exist. I am so glad to this day he finally cut me off or I am worried it never would have ended. 

"Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it." 

I met guys on Plenty of Fish and Tinder who were great to chat to, but if we met in person they were nothing like they said, I met someone who was racist and another who kept 'making jokes' about how hot their sister was, claiming it was ok as it was only his half-sister, but that made no difference. Some dates it felt like we were both trying to find something to say, like about anything, including the age of the building we were in. I started seeing a guy who told me my issues were clearly linked to deeper issues than I was willing to confront. People liked to play therapist on me, telling me how I should feel and why I felt in certain ways, but they had no idea.  I met guys who were great guys, but they weren't the guys for me. I went through months of struggling with my own sexuality and wondering what this attraction to girls I was having was about and why I was still more attracted to guys than girls. I met people who taught me a lot of valuable life skills, I made friends with some of the people I dated, and I felt less lonely the more I dated. 


The whole time I was dating, I had no idea I actually had BPD, I knew there was something more than the issues I had been diagnosed with at this point, but I didn't know how to address them. Which for me was terrifying as I was just burying the issues deeper and deeper and hoping they went away. I became more reckless with meeting people I didn't even really know and could have put myself in serious danger, but at the time I didn't even care. Being a super bad place with your mental health and then going out to date isn't something I'd recommend, as you're not as well equipped to deal with the bad situations as you may be on a 'normal' day. I felt like my heart kept being broken over and over and put a clock on every one of the people I dated, like that Black Mirror episode but the clock was in my head and it was how long it would last before someone walked out. In a way, I think this was me self-sabotaging the good things to protect myself, but at the time I couldn't see that. 

It was around seven months into being 'single' and I was talking to this guy who would spend all night talking to me on Facebook video calls, we'd chat about normal things, and it turned out we went to the same college and did the same course just in different years and now did the same degree at university as me. We talked about the people we knew in common, and it turned out we probably met previously at college. We went on our first date at Starbucks and he offered to pay for my drink and although I turned him down, it was such a great first date and he was everything I thought he was, and all he wanted to was get to know me. Which for me was exactly what I needed, we took our time to get to know each other which is not something my brain was used to from past relationships. That person is Will, and we are still together now and I couldn't imagine not having him by my side. He's my best friend and more and I can say he saved me from myself. 



"A simple hello could lead to a million things"

Dating when you have BPD is anything but smooth sailing, and although dating is confusing and hard for anyone who does it, doing it with BPD makes it 10x worse. To anyone who is currently dating with BPD or any other mental illnesses, I completely know where you are coming from if you need to talk to someone who has been where you are. I think it's important to remember that your friends and family say things because often they notice the signs that you do not, and even though it sucks to hear it, they're usually right and those who take advantage of your kind nature aren't worth your time or energy, ever. 
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Olivia Jade
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My 'lazy day' routine 2018

My 'lazy day' routine 2018



*This post is in collaboration with Lyons 

What do you mean Olivia, that every day isn't a lazy day?! Shockingly enough, despite the image that my Instagram portrays (with the bed flat lays on a daily) I can be a pretty *busy* person, although I do enjoy my bed, probably more the average person. So on my days off from work, I usually like to dedicate one of them to be lazy, which often helps me reset my mental health for the following week at work. Sometimes I run errands on these days or go to the gym, but for the most part, going out is kept to a minimum on that day. I tend to consume copious amounts of animal biscuits and want to sleep a lot, but what is in store for Olivia on a lazy day? I hear you say (nobody said that really, I just needed to imagine they did so I could have an angle for my post) However, if you do want to find out about what my lazy day entails stay tuned and all will be revealed

Each lazy day starts with no alarms, of course, waking up when you want is the beauty of a day off, unless I have a delivery or its bin day then I am good. Once waking up, coffee or some form of Caffeine is needed. Recently I've been relying on my coffee bags which I didn't actually know were a thing until a few weeks back when I was sent some by Lyons. The concept is exactly the same as tea, except it is coffee. It's so great to be able to chuck a bag in some boiling water and leave it for a few mins, then you discard of the bag and add the additionals as you usually would, milk and three sugars please! (No judgement on my sugars allowed.) I love to enjoy my breakfast at the table whilst reading a magazine or catching up on my favourite YouTubers. Today, this will be watching the new Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star video, if you are yet to see this series, you are missing out. 


After I've finished my coffee and food, I like to go brush my teeth and then take a shower. About 2 hours later (slight exaggeration) I usually air dry which is another beauty of not being in a rush for work. Then I will dry off the excess water out of my hair and plait it or just leave it to dry naturally. Lazy days are not for makeup so I usually skip my usual makeup routine and apply some skin care products, I am completely in love with Clinique recently and ended up buying a whole new skin routine to try to combat my acne and oily skin, so far so good. Following this, I'll probably lay on my bed and either watch countless episodes of Jeremy Kyle, 90-day finance or Friends and then move on to some blogging and be semi-productive. 


On the days on which I actually head out to do things for a while, I make another coffee to go in my travel mug, and of course, grab a couple of the Lyons Coffee bags for caffeine-related emergencies! For 14p per bag and each bag is filled with freshly ground coffee beans and is quick and easy to make, I think I am on to a winner. After I've run my errands, it is time for the remainder of the day to be completely unplanned, I like to hang out with my bunnies, clean a bit and watch more TV, I am currently working my way through my Netflix watch list and if I have time, chuck a cheeky nap or two in there for good measure! #Perfection, and that folks is how I roll on my lazy days! Let me know in the comments how you like to spend your lazy days and if you've ever tried coffee in a bag, I am curious! 

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Olivia Jade
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Why it's OK to take a mental health day.

Why it's OK to take a mental health day.


Despite suffering from mental health issues all of my adult life, I still find needing to take time off when I am suffering one of the hardest things to do. I don't think there will ever be a time when I need to take that time off that I won't feel guilty. Despite it being exactly the same as psychical health because it can't be seen, it somehow makes me feel like I am being lazy. Last summer I had to take a month out due to struggling so bad with my mental health and every time I went out of the house I felt guilty. Even if it was only to the gym or therapy, like the motto of if I am sick I should be in bed was drilled into me growing up, but this is a different kind of sick, on the outside I look normal, despite the possibility of huge eye bags, messy and unwashed hair and 3 days old pjs. 


I am not in any physical pain that you can see, but my brain convinces me of all of the bad things and talks me out of anything good I once felt about myself, it makes me feel tired, like I've walked a hundred miles, I have headaches from the lack of sleep I am getting and don't even get me started on my panic attacks. But yet I still feel guilty for being 'sick', I suppose I see it as there is no way it's going to be cured, unlike a cold or a sickness bug. 

I wake up with the dread over my head that I need to tell my work once again I am feeling ill, and they already know what it's going to be, and despite being kind and understanding I can't help but feel like one of the worst people in the world. I lay in bed surrounded by the guilt of having to phone into work and also the sheer panic that this is the time I am going to get fired. Luckily for me, my work is understanding and as long as I am willing to see my doctor/ be proactive about the time I need off, they are ok with it. But no matter how many times I am in this situation, it ends up feeling like the worst time yet.


Usually, I am lucky, the days off I have are enough to help me recover and help me to feel better, however, I know some of us aren't that lucky. This time last year I was signed off for 5 weeks at the same job I am at now as I went from a small amount of part-time work to 5 days a week with blogging added on top, and everything became too much. I felt scared that this was going to be the end of my new job back then and that didn't make it any easier to relax. Once I went back to work things seemed easier, I cut down my days to 4 and do a lot more blogging now and it feels less like I am drowning. I will always have my down days, weeks or even months but that is something I need to come to terms with. 

Please remember that your work should treat your mental health the same as they would with any psychical health condition and allow you the time you need to recover. I understand that often it is hard to open up to your employer in the first place, but if you feel comfortable doing so I would recommend it, so they can provide the support you may need. I am lucky in the fact I have a doctor that knows my situation and is happy to provide my work with the documents I need for long-term sickness. 

I am now hoping that I do not need another sick day for a while as I hate taking them and I hate phoning up to tell them that I feel this way, but if I do, I know it cannot be helped and I shouldn't make myself feel guilty for it. I'd love to know your experiences with mental health days at your work in the comments. 


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Olivia Jade
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The truth about reaching out.

The truth about reaching out.


**TW** This post contains themes which may be triggering, including suicide. 



20th of July 2017, the day I passed my driving test, that day is often in my thoughts and not because I passed my test, due to the passing of Chester Bennington. Growing up I was a huge fan of Linkin Park and they were one of the few bands who really spoke to me, I felt heard by someone. As a 14-year-old, their music was something I'd listen to most days on my iPod shuffle, Minutes to Midnight being the album I listened to most frequently and although their music is *sad*, it helped me through some dark times of my own. So to hear that Chester Bennington had taken his own life, it was hard to comprehend. There had been many interviews posted online about his struggle and despite the fact he was perceived to have 'everything', he was ill. You couldn't see from the outside, but on the inside, it was eating him up. Like most of us who suffer from mental health issues, it does sometimes feel like the 'easiest' way out, and for those of you who have never felt in that way, you are lucky. Those thoughts completely consume you and once they've trapped you it's hard to break out. Chester wrote songs which shouted out about his pain and how he felt and we all listened but did we do enough? 

Mental health is as important as your physical health. 

Fast forward to April 2018, and on the 20th of April I came on to Twitter to find the news of Avicii passing. Avicii who was a DJ who worked with some of the biggest names in music had died. I couldn't help but wonder what had happened to him. A lot of rumours quickly started to emerge how he died, starting with things like his previous health conditions. It took until the 26th of April for his family to confirm what had happened, they released the following statement saying he "really struggled with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace" Despite Avicii having 'everything', it wasn't enough to save him. Like Chester, Avicii was struggling with his inner demons and despite having so many people who love and care about them, it's often not enough to stop the thoughts. A lot of people during these times blame themselves, but really it's usually the thoughts within their own heads. As someone who has felt in such a bad way it did seem like the way out, it's a really scary place inside your head, which you can't even escape. 



We are only in June of this year but another handful of celebrities followed in the footsteps of Avicii and Chester, including Kate Spade, who was one of the most creative and inspirational women in the world. Her designs were initiative and she spoke out for what she believed in, her bags which were bright and fun, was a showcase of her amazing talents. An idol to many designers and young women. A shock to the system, once again. But it wasn't long before the tweets and Facebook statuses started to appear, advising people to reach out. Sharing numbers of helplines and other ways to reach out, including speaking to someone online or that you trust. Sadly, even if we are to reach out, I feel like people have their own lives and often struggle to seek help on multiple occasions in the fear of 'bothering' people. Reaching out full stop is amazing, and I will never take that away from anyone as it does save lives, but what about those who need more than that? With the mental health services stretched thin, it's hard to get the help needed. 

I am one of those people who will open up to certain people during times of crisis. But I have been at points in my life, where I've thought about giving it all up. Staying alive can honestly be one of the hardest things when you feel alone. You constantly feel like a burden and don't know where to go from there. One of the worst things about mental health is, it convinces you, just about everyone in the world is against you, nobody understands and it's just not worth going through anymore. I don't know one person who has felt suicidal or committed suicide who didn't attempt to get some kind of help first and for a while managed to battle their demons. 



For most people who feel like suicide is the only option, they've suffered for a long time and no matter what help they get it appears to be their only way out, mental illness can take complete control of a person and they lose that person they once were. Mental illness is made up of tons of illnesses, people deal with these differently and sadly none of them are easy to escape from. For those of you who are still here but suffer on a daily basis, you know I'm here, you know you are amazing. You have the strength you need to keep battling through, we believe in you. 

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Olivia Jade
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Working from home, what's the deal?

Working from home, what's the deal?


Recently I celebrated my one year anniversary at my workplace, and damn that year has gone fast. I enjoy my job and the people I work with as they're all pretty laid back and we have similar interests. I have 'weird' shift patterns at work Saturday through to Tuesday and on the weekends it is only a few of us in the office and I know a lot of us wish we could work from home as nobody else from other departments is in. I often wonder what it would be like to work from home and if I would get the same level as work done. As someone who suffers from mental health issues, I do think on my bad days it would be easier to work from my bed on a laptop, but on my good days, I enjoy the social aspect of work. After reading some research from National work from home day (there really is a day for everything, isn't there?) I was curious as to why some people can work from home and others can't. 


I found out that the major reason as to why people can't work at home is due to security reasons, which makes total sense from a business point of view. As you can never be too careful with that stuff, but I often feel like my quality of work would be better from home, sitting at a desk for the majority of a day can often be draining mentally and physically. Plus the office can be loud and it can be hard to zone out. Start up Donut wrote a great article surrounding these issues, based on a survey created conducted by Seareach they advise "Flexible working leads to happier, healthier, more productive employees … allowing employees to work from home is a really effective way of empowering them to manage their stress levels and stay in control of their overall health. Plus, if an employee does get sick but is still able to work, instead of infecting the whole office, they can work in the comfort of their own home." Being able to work from home I feel is something that may benefit me but like some workplaces mine needs to have a reason to allow you to do so.



I can see the pros of allowing employees to work from home, but I can also see the cons too. Allowing some staff to work from home but not all, can be a challenge as it may end up with other colleagues resenting those who can. As well as, the teams would not be as close as they are with everyone working together on a daily basis as they would see each other less. Overall, I would prefer doing half and half, as somedays I love going to work, seeing the people I work with and learning new things. However, on those days when I am struggling with my mental health or have had a bad nights sleep and much prefer my own company working from home would be ideal. But also I know that I can lack drive and motivation a lot of the time and I wonder if working from home would enable this even more, or whether it would spur me on to work harder? I mean music playing all day and having my bunnies roaming around sounds ideal!



 I would love to know your thoughts on this post in the comments below, would you prefer to work at home or in the office? 

*This is a collaborative post, but all views are my own. 

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Olivia Jade
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Mental Health, Meds and Meltdowns!

Mental Health, Meds and Meltdowns!



*TW* Medication for treating mental health is still a huge taboo subject, and until 6 months ago I was one of the people who hated taking medication to deal with my issues. I always felt like it made me weak and I was putting these tablets inside of my body for the sake of it. On my good days I felt like myself, but the bad days didn't go away, and they kept creeping up on me and I'd feel like the worst person in the world. I have been on 5 different types of antidepressants and only now do I feel like these may actually be the ones for me, along with my mood stabiliser medication. It has taken me some guts to go to the doctors in the past to ask for new medications, I was forever convinced they were going to shout at me for stopping taking them, or for needing to try yet another. Luckily for me, with time it got easier and I found a doctor who understood me, and I got referred to the correct people to seek my official diagnosis. 

I've gone through periods of time where I've stopped taking them for a few days but I instantly notice the difference in myself. Sometimes it was done on purpose and other times it was from being forgetful when you have multiple medications to remember it is easy to do, for me the key was purchasing a pill organiser like this one and getting into a pattern where I manage to remember it as part of my night time routine and it has become the same as taking my make up off, brushing my teeth and taking my meds. I feel sad knowing there are people out there that are yet to get the breakthrough with medication, as I myself know that it can be a long complex journey to get the place where I am now and a lot of people refuse to go back after trying a few types as they just seem to make things worse or not do anything at all. I've been there myself and I know what it is like.



I spoke to a fellow blogger about her experience to get a wider view of taking medication whilst suffering from mental health issues.

Neve from Life With Neve says:
"I was in a horrible place, I couldn't eat or sleep or do anything. I'd been going to therapy for at least 6 months and I was still suicidal and self-harming and completely shattered and so I was offered meds. I felt awful when I was first on them but the longer I was on the better I was getting and tbh it was like opening my eyes and seeing everything clearly. I felt like id been in a cloud for years and all of a sudden I had the confidence to go out with my friends and do things alone and I was like a whole new person, the person I had longed to be and work so hard to become. I was on them for 3 years and then I eventually took the step to get off of them and I've been truly fab ever since. So many people say that they don't believe in them etc etc but I literally would not be here today or happy or anything without my doctor put me on them! I watched some of my friends go through the same situations one even being placed on a ward and medication literally helped turn her life around too. I mean I always feel silly saying that I'd not be here without being on my medication but tbh it's true! And it's really right what they say when you start them haha you deffo feel worse before you feel better!" 

I also spoke to another blogger Ida who does not like to take any medication for mental health due to the number of side effects she has had and also has tried many types of different medication. All with negative side effects which she outway any positives of the antidepressants. Although she has now found a medication which helps. She says getting an official diagnosis for ADHD has also helped her be able to manage her moods in ways which aren't medication. 

Where I stand on taking medication to help with antidepressants leaves me a little torn, although these work for me currently, they may not always work and sometimes it does make me worry that I am taking the 'easy' route out. Currently, I am going to continue to take them as I find them of use. I am also looking into the route of online psychiatry as I feel like this is something I may also benefit from. I would love to hear your opinions of treating mental health with medication in the comments below. 

*This is a collaborative post, but all thoughts are my own and thank you to Neve and Ida for helping me with this post. 
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Olivia Jade
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What is FOMO and do I have it?

What is FOMO and do I have it?



FOMO is the fear of missing out, we all deal with it at some point in our lives, it can be anything from going to that social event you don't actually want to be at. To something as simple as watching a television series because everyone else is talking about it, and despite not being interested, you do not want to miss out. You find yourself trying to be like those that are well-liked in aid of people liking you more, despite the fact that if people don't like you for who you are, they're not really your friends and you are better off without them.

Fear of missing out can affect us all in different ways, and for me, it was consuming my life. From being envious of those beautiful selfies people put on Snapchat and Instagram, to that beautiful holiday, we filter our lives on social media and only share what we want to share and often it has been heavily edited beforehand. When I was suffering from FOMO at its worst doing things I wouldn't ever dream of doing because my friends were doing it. I wanted to fit in so bad I was willing to do whatever it took. For me, it was always the not knowing, the inside jokes, the secret smiles about something I didn't understand and when I would ask I was told 'you had to be there'. I hated feeling like I was missing out and that my friends would soon become bored with me, the girl who hated going out, wanted to stay home and couldn't really cope with human interaction. 

It took over my life and social media makes it so much easier to allow it to happen. With just about everything posted on some sort of social media in 2018, it is pretty much impossible to escape. If you don't go to that social event, you will see all the realms of Snapchats on your phone and the collection of photos which appear on Facebook the next day and then worry about what you've missed out on. Fear of missing out also makes you feel incredibly selfish, instead of thinking oh I hope they had fun, you sit and wonder if the photos made it look better than what it was and maybe it was actually really bad, and that you should be glad you didn't go.

If you weren't invited to an event, you will know that you weren't and who was, and it makes you consider everything about yourself and what you've done to that person, despite it actually might not be anything. A lot of people don't understand the true extent of FOMO, it literally can control your life. Make you do things you really don't want to do, go out and be social even though your mind is begging you to stay in and sleep, but you know you can't miss out. It seems like something that is easy to fix and that it isn't actually that big of a deal, but with a constant reminder of what is happening around you on social media, it can a really toxic place, even in your own house. 

Frankii from Quite Franklii  says:
"I feel like because of my anxiety and the fact I married quite young I think people often assume I’m old and boring as though I’ve become a totally different person. That’s not always the case- though I don’t drink often anymore or have the desire to go clubbing I am always more than happy to host get together at my house and other things. It gets to a stage where you always feel like you’re a friend but never the best friend"

Like Frankii, I too struggle with going out to clubs due to my anxiety and I am not a big drinker either, but it doesn't mean I don't want to do anything, I just don't want to do that. I don't mind having people over or going to theirs I just find it hard to hang out in a location I do not feel comfortable, but can often mean me forcing myself to do things which make me feel uneasy just so I don't miss out.  



Kim from The Colour Chronicles says: 
I used to get FOMO really bad when at uni when there was more free time to be more social and I thought by not joining in/attending I'd end up with no friends or people wouldn't want to hang out with me which ended up with me doing things I didn't really want to or spending money I didn't really have just to try and make friends. These days it's something I suffer from a lot too - having a much smaller friendship group, it's easy to fall into the habit of thinking if you're not around much then people will forget or not want to invite you to things. Unfortunately a lot of the time that seems to be the case but it's better for my mental health not partaking in things I don't want to - sometimes you just need a night in and it's helped me a lot more to accept that as self-care, rather than go out and be social and I know I won't miss out on much! Also, if you've got FOMO because you think people will forget you or not want to invite you out because you don't go out often and then they do stop inviting you, they're not great friends anyway.

University is one of the worst places to deal with FOMO in my opinion due to the amount of time you 'have' to spend being social, whether you want to or not as a fresher it's pretty much expected of you and it's the best way to socialise, not doing so makes you a bit of an outsider and can often cause friction with friends. You might not even want to do all of these things, but in your head, you NEED to, or you'll miss out and your friends will think less of you. I feel like FOMO is often heightened if you suffer from mental health issues, as it seems almost impossible to get rid of it and you end up not being able to cope, I have lost friends over agreeing to plans, with a full intention of going, but then the anxiety kicks in and the FOMO and the anxiety battle it, but the anxiety always wins and despite wanting to do this thing, you can't and your friends don't understand. You tell them, and they say they get it, but you start getting invited out less and less.

FOMO is only getting to get worse as social media progresses and the future of social media will be something like that episode of Black Mirror where everything is based on social scores. It's a scary prospect, but it's likely to become a part of everyday life more than it already is because let's face it, nobody wants to miss out.



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Olivia Jade
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Talking, Therapy and Trauma

Talking, Therapy and Trauma


In 2018 we are pushing in the right direction to break the stigma around mental illness, more people are opening up about their own experiences, getting help such as a therapy and finally society is coming to terms with the fact that mental illness is, in fact, a genuine illness and not something to fear. With mental health becoming a topic which is becoming more socially acceptable to talk about, it means we are finally able to get the right help we need without feeling like you're a complete mess. I remember from the age of 14 when I was referred to therapy at CAMHS due to a traumatic experience that happened to me, I was reluctant, to be honest with them, I was worried about what other people would think when I had to leave school early for my appointments, to share what was really going on in my head and the constant worry of being sectioned. At that time, I didn't really understand what has to happen to be sectioned. I hated having to leave school during lunch when my friends were having fun and going to some dingy building across town to talk about my feelings. In the end, I decided to tell them I was feeling better and that I was ready to stop coming to therapy, and with that, they agreed I didn't need to come anymore. 

Which maybe wasn't the best idea, but teen me thought it was great!




The older I got, I went to my doctors an adult seeking out alternative therapy such as talking therapy, EMDR and more recently placed under the care of a community mental nurse, as well as my doctor. Despite being older and understanding that in fact it is ok to talk in these sessions and the only way it will get better is to open up, I still clam up. I find it hard to relax and talk about my issues, I often focus on random objects in the room and think more about them then what I am being asked. I am one of those people who struggle to talk to people on a one to one basis, I often feel myself looking down and away when trying to talk about anything, I am still unsure whether this is due to the shame I feel or eye contact just makes me feel awkward. But it's something I've always found near to impossible. 



But throughout my teen and young adult life, I've kept one thing the same, and that's making friends online. I can tell you now, I find it 110% easier to tell my thoughts to friends on the internet, it's also easier to reach out to these people as in most cases you probably won't meet. I was recently advised that you actually get therapy online, which I found pretty amazing, for those people who are too afraid/can't reach out at their doctors or can't afford therapy, we are lucky in the UK to be able to get our therapy for free on the NHS. Although you do have to pay for therapy online, I think it could be a worthwhile investment, especially for someone like me. Sites such as Better Help which is available from the comfort of your own bed. Therapy can often be a difficult thing to do, so being in your house surrounded by things that make you happy can be a great relief. 

As for me and therapy, my latest mental health nurse actually left so we are currently on a break, however, I have faith that in the future I will continue to take positive steps to my recovery. 

*Contains a paid link, but as always my thoughts are 100% mine. 
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Will Bond
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