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5000mile Fundraiser

We need to raise £87 a day if we are going to hit our target! https://www.gofundme.com/carins5000miles

We are fundraising to help a young man, Eugene, whose chance to complete his education is at stake. In order to help, my crazy mother (Carin) had the idea to cycle 5000 miles – the distance from England to Malawi – to raise the funds he needs for his final year at University.

Here’s why we are taking up this massive challenge to help him:

Eugene has been part of my family for several years – we met for the first time at college. He was, and still is, the type of person that’s popular with everyone, the all singing all dancing (literally) life of the party, the captain of the college basketball team and honest supporter of his local church. He has a heart of gold and couldn’t be a better role model for his eight year old brother, a family friend even said to him, “I hope my son grows up to be like you”. It’s thanks to his kindness that my mother and I are risking getting seriously chunky quads.

Eugene is 22, and has been a resident in the UK since he moved here at age seven from Malawi, Africa, with his family. With 15 years in this country under his belt, Eugene is still waiting for the day that he can become a British citizen.

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Eugene and I

But how does that affect his education?

The biggest sticking point is student finance – as an ‘international’ student, Eugene isn’t eligible for the loan. The fee is not just £9,000, but £13,000 per annum, not including accommodation, bills etc.

This is not the kind of funds many families have and that is especially true for Eugene’s whose parents have worked as carers to provide for themselves since they arrived in England.

To get Eugene through the first year of university his parents sold all their land in Malawi which was supposed to support their retirement. In his second year a miracle was provided when a church group anonymously raised and donated several thousand pounds to Eugene, as well as loans from friends.

This year Eugene has been interning in the finance industry to gain valuable work experience. He was hoping he would be able to change his fee status this summer to make his final year of studying affordable, but as is stands currently, the likelihood of a change is negligible.  He needs our help more than ever.

What’s Eugene to do? After so much support and tireless effort from his family and friends, we cannot allow it to be that because of reasons beyond his control he may fall at the final hurdle. My mum and I are passionate about helping, even if it means cycling our legs off!

Aside from the money already spent on getting Eugene this far, completing his degree is essential for him to commence a career in finance where he can progress and earn enough money to pay off his debts and support his family.

We need to make this happen!

To help support his cause Carin (mum) and I are cycling 5,000 miles by spinning, wattbike, and roadbike between now and June (the distance from England to Malawi) to help raise his funds. Our target is £13,000, but we are going to need a lot of help to achieve it!

Malawi is a tiny country in Southern Africa

Please show your support and give us a helping hand by donating to this cause. By doing so you’ll know that you’re changing his life for the better.

https://www.gofundme.com/carins5000miles

Please share this post to friends, family, neighbours, cats and dogs… anyone can help. If you share on social media please use the hashtag #FundEugene !

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After a sweaty spin class – in 3 days we’ve done 155 miles (80% my mum)!

We hope you liked this post, if you’re still reading you know what to do: click here to donate.

We’re aiming to make another £500 in the next week!

https://www.gofundme.com/carins5000miles

Practicing Mindfulness

One of the most useful techniques I use to control my anxiety is mindfulness and it’s something that people ask me about all the time.

I realise many people reading my blog would benefit from therapy such as EMDR but it’s not always affordable so I wanted to share some things I’ve learnt which might be helpful.

 

Why do I practice mindfulness?

As with many people who suffer from anxiety, my brain over thinks everything, and I mean everything. Our brains work themselves tirelessly especially in a modern age where we go on our phone, watch TV and check our social media from dawn till dusk. Even when you think you’re relaxing, you’re probably glued to your Instagram feed. Scrolling scrolling scrolling.

When I over think things I get anxious. When I get anxious I over think things. It’s a seemingly endless cycle. Sometimes in life you just have to take a moment to breathe and be present.

I’m no good at meditating and thinking of nothing but I do have a structured mindfulness technique which keeps me in the zone. I genuinely feel lighter, refreshed and peaceful once I’ve finished.

This technique can take anywhere from 5-15mins, depending on how much time you have. I’m going to tell you how I use this mindfulness to understand my feelings, and then how I use it just to uplift myself.

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1. Start by feeling the emotion which is bothering you which can be anything from anxiety, to fear, to anger or confusion. Take that emotion and really feel where it comes from in your body and then imagine what colour it would be.

For example: I may be really anxious about what the hell I’m doing with my life. The feeling sits in my chest and sometimes my stomach and the colour I may visualise is orange.

2. Think of the colour in your mind’s eye, not the feeling. Picture it breaking down into teenie-tiny particles.

3. Then focus on individual parts of the body. Visualise the colour particles being released from each part of you whilst inhaling and exhaling gently. This is the way I do it:

Focus on each part of your brain in turn – the centre, the back, the left side, right side then the forehead and eyes. Breathing into each section and exhaling the coloured particles out.

Move to your chest, arms, core, navel..working your way down your body allowing the particles to drain out of you and into the ground. 

Once you have reached to your legs, go up to your spine and picture it as guitar strings. Pluck the strings to release the particles in your lower, middle and upper spine. 

Go up to the brain and repeat its sections again.

Take a deep breath in and release any tension and leftover particles you may have. 

Of course you don’t need to do it in this order as it may be hard to remember, do what ever feels best for you! How many times you inhale and exhale to each body part is totally up to you – I adjust it depending on how much time I have.

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This image is a really nice representation of breaking down emotions into coloured particles.

This technique is really amazing because it’s using the colour particles as a representation of your emotions which allows the brain to process them smoothly, without fighting against or being distracted by the feelings.

 

However, I don’t always have an emotion bothering me  – especially now that I have been exercising mindfulness. But it’s still good to practice so instead of focusing on feelings I don’t want I picture something warm and positive, like a golden elixir or gold dust. By doing this you can enjoy being happy whilst having some well deserved ‘you time’.

 

Extra bonus – If I practice this at bedtime I drift straight off to sleep!

 

Mindfulness takes patience and practice. I try to do it daily or every other day and i’ve really noticed a drop in my levels of stress, anxiety and derealisation. Keep at it and the rewards will pay off.

 

I hope somebody finds this helpful, if you decide to try it let me know how it goes. Any questions are welcome!

 

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EMDR 5&6

I was told that EMDR would be tough.  That getting through to the other side would be a struggle, like going through a dark tunnel.  Now I’m experiencing it… it’s hard to explain the journey it takes you on. 

After the last few sessions my therapist felt that I was approaching the bilateral stimulation tasks too logically, meaning I would be able to think memories through but without releasing any emotion.

It seems I have all my emotions in relation to the trauma and PTSD locked up nice and tight in a super-padlocked-reinforced-bullet-proof-box that I don’t know how to open, or rather, too afraid to re-experience.

After consideration we decided to take a tougher approach to focus me on fully reliving some of my memories and the emotions attached to them with the aim, of course, to reprocess those memories properly.

 

So It’s safe to say that session 5 was damn hard work, it took a lot of mental perseverance to really get inside that box and open it up. I started bawling out tears of fear, confusion, guilt and betrayal that really hurt to get out. It’s a really bizarre feeling to cry pitifully with someone watching, analysing, with a buzzer in each hand (I chose to use a buzzer in each hand rather than eye movements, I feel a lot more comfortable that way).

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EMDR buzzers. One in each hand that buzz alternatively.

Talking through your memories and actually feeling the emotions you had at the time is a really hard thing to do when every fibre in your being is telling you not to.

The 6th session I arrived mentally prepared to have another go. We talked a lot and I cried a lot until, for the first time since the event, I had a full-body flashback. I felt like my body was completely frozen, even paralysed, and I couldn’t relax parts of my arms and legs for the best part of an hour. I must have looked like a poorly drawn stick figure with a hint of possessed! To get it to stop I really had to cry it out, tell myself that I’m safe, and dance around the room to shake the frozen limbs back into action.

 

My therapist told me that people often forget that during a trauma your body was there too and carries the strain of it much like your mind and emotions.

I know it sounds like a lot, and it really really is, but the EMDR process needs you to relive these memories and know that you are safe and in control so the brain can file those memories away as they should be. The end result: a less active memory with less triggers and side effects.

It’s safe to say the last couple of weeks has been draining and I feel really really tired, especially as I started a new job as well!

EMDR is well known to get super tough before the going gets smoother so wish me luck, I need it!

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

A teenager’s perspective

Some very exciting news from the weekend!

As I mentioned in my previous post Article courtesy of Anna Dutton I was asked to write an article on mental health for a local magazine. 

To make the article suit the magazine’s target audience I had to write something that would speak to proper grown ups, so I decided to reach out to parents with teenage children who struggle with their own mental health and how, from my experiences as a teenager, is best to help.

The article is only in print for the moment so here’s a copy of it for everyone to read:

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You can imagine my surprise and happiness when a friend of mine sent me a text saying

“Look what I found” with a picture of me in a magazine attached!

This article is a very proud moment for me and already I’ve had a wonderful response from both parents and teenagers alike who have read it.

Maybe there will be more articles to come in future, who knows but I am dedicated to spreading mental health awareness and fighting all the stigmas attached.

Please share this article far and wide and follow this blog if you haven’t already!

 

EMDR Therapy: Sessions 2,3&4

Hello everyone! I’ve decided to summarise the latest three therapy sessions so that I’m not repeating myself as these have all been in the ‘preparation’ phase of EMDR Therapy.

Over the last few weeks my therapist and I have been focusing on an almost meditative technique which allows your brain to process the feelings you had during and after the trauma.

It begins by focusing on a feeling you had such as fear, pain, confusion or panic. You imagine one of these emotions without thinking about the circumstances of it and choose a colour that best represents it. By focusing on the colour representation and not the actual emotion it prevents the brain from reacting in fight or flight and so makes it easier for the emotion to be processed.

With the colour in mind you then start the breathing exercises. First picturing the colour as teenie tiny particles that you inhale into and then breathe out. You then imagine the colour particles in different parts of your body that you focus on one at a time such as the centre, back, left, right and front of your brain as well as the eyes, chest, arms, stomach, legs and so on, breathing out the colour particles from each body part.

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I often picture the colour particles like the lights from these solar trees in Singapore

On my first try I did experience sensations of derealisation which made me respond anxiously and so I automatically tried to ground myself. My therapist challenged my thought and reaction process to the derealisation and said “What if you didn’t panic and try to calm yourself? What would happen?”.

The answer, of course, is nothing because I’m not in a situation to be scared of, my brain is just being overly protective. With this new mindset and realisation I was able to do the breathing techniques with no problems and keep reminding myself daily that my brain is over reacting when it shouldn’t.

I have to say that I am usually very sceptical about meditation and breathing techniques and whether there is actually any science behind it. But after my first time doing it I left the appointment with an overwhelming feeling of happiness that I couldn’t explain. My therapist and I have continued to use this technique in preparation for the actual bilateral stimulation, to help me to process and understand the emotions the trauma and PTSD have left behind so they don’t cause me to panic during the stimulation. Ultimately it allows me to move on.

I have also started to practice the technique at home whenever I’m under any emotional strain or experience anxiety or a bad dream. Doing the breathing and picturing the colour of the emotions draining out of your body does give me an instant sense of relief.

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How inspiring are the colours of a Borneo sunset?

I think the main difference with the principles of EMDR Therapy to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy so far is that CBT teaches you how to deal with problems,  such as anxiety, as they arise and how to control yourself. However EMDR is quite the opposite. Instead it challenges the problems to show you that nothing bad comes of them, and by processing the emotions it prevents the problems from arising.

 

For example:

If I have derealisation which makes me panicky, CBT teaches me to breathe and ground myself. EMDR teaches me that there is no need to panic as I am not in danger and that the derealisation is not a big deal and will pass.

And it’s not all focusing on negative emotions. In session 4 we started to introduce the bilateral stimulation by thinking about the people in my life that spring to mind when I think of protection (I thought of my dad and my boyfriend, Eugene), of comfort  ( I thought of my mum and Eugene again) and people I consider to be wise (I thought of my Aunt Sybille and one of my best friends, Marcie).

Picturing my A team and focusing on those emotions was really amazing and gave me a lump in my throat. A reminder of how blessed I am!

I can genuinely say that I do believe that I am noticing a difference to my daily life already.

In the next few sessions we will be moving on to the bilateral stimulation using either eye movements, sounds or a stimulus in each hand to help process the actual trauma and the effects of PTSD.

I will keep you posted!

 

If you haven’t already, give me a follow! I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences with these types of techniques too.

EMDR Therapy: Session One

 

Something that I’ve struggled with over the last couple of years in particular are triggers which, for me, are no longer just reminders of the traumatic event but anything and everything that is even remotely distressing which causes me to have a strong reaction of anxiety and derealisation.

It’s gotten so bad, especially whilst I was travelling  I was experiencing unwelcome triggers several times a day. Having these triggers means I having to regulate my daily life from the television I watch, the books I read and the words I use. However I can’t control everything especially what other people do and say, so unfortunately I can never truly avoid them.

I have had a fair amount of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the past and whilst it’s very beneficial in dealing with the emotional consequences of triggers it can’t actually make them go away.

This is where Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy comes in. It’s a relatively unusual yet powerful therapy which is especially helpful for PTSD. So last week I took the plunge and booked my first session.

Session One involved giving me a run down of the basics of EMDR. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

When experiencing a traumatic incident the right side of the brain takes over and acts in either fight or flight mode. During this time the left side of the brain (which deals with logical thinking) is so overwhelmed it can’t do it’s job properly and goes into freeze mode. Because of this the right and left side of the brain don’t communicate during the traumatic incident, so afterwards the memory stays unprocessed and therefore easily triggered.

The result of this is when something reminds you of the trauma the right side of the brain makes the connection and goes into fight or flight mode as an attempt to protect you, but the left side of the brain is unable to reason with it and tell you that you’re actually safe.

Over time, such as with myself, the brain being constantly alert and overly protective picks up on anything potentially distressing, such as an intense scene in a movie, and reacts to them as a threat and so triggers responses such as panic attacks, anxiety, flashbacks.

The end goal of EMDR therapy is to get both sides of the brain communicating again using bilateral stimulation such as eye movements, tapping sounds or sensations whilst talking about the emotional and bodily feelings towards the trauma which helps the brain to process the memory properly.

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I found learning all of this fascinating and makes me feel normal knowing the problems I have are common after a trauma.

During this first appointment I also talked about the side effects that bother me the most, how avoiding triggers effects my life, and how often these problems occur. The great thing about EMDR is that you don’t have to talk about the trauma in any detail, just provide a general hint of what happened – which was a huge relief for me as I find talking about it exhausting!  EMDR focuses more on the emotional and physical feelings associated with the memory.

The first few sessions are to make sure you are mentally prepared, to make sure you feel comfortable and safe and in control before moving onto the eye movements. This is not like hypnosis by the way, you are fully conscious and aware of what’s happening during the process and allowed to stop when you want to (phew).

Since EMDR is a mysterious therapy (it has a number of theories explaining how it might work), I thought I would document my progress after each session I have and see what happens! I have to admit I’m pretty apprehensive of the next appointment as I worry that I’ll be frightened into panic mode. But my therapist said it would be tough, like climbing up a mountain before it can get easier on the other side.

Post on session two will be out shortly. Please get in touch  or comment if you have any questions.

For more details have a google of EMDR therapy. I find these links really helpful:

Home

https://psychologytools.com/emdr.html

 

Article courtesy of Anna Dutton

Exciting news everybody!

If you didn’t know already I’m just finishing up an internship with a publisher that prints magazines throughout Surrey and SW London and also has an online magazine.

But that’s not the great part. One of the Editors has asked if I would feature in her magazine by writing my own article on mental health awareness. YAY! WOO! AHHHH!

My first piece as a published writer AND for mental health awareness… this is just awesome.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 13.51.02The article isn’t due to be printed for a few months but in the mean time I wanted to get some insight from my readers.

The subject matter will be giving advice to parents who have a teenager/ young adult who is going through some metal health issues of their own, from a young adult’s perspective (me). It’s something that I get asked about a lot. Getting a balance between helping your child without inadvertently pushing them away is so tough to achieve and many parents can feel helpless and sick with worry, especially if the teenager has no interest in sharing.

You’ll know that I’m a big supporter of being open and honest with our families but it isn’t always easy. In light of that I decided to incorporate a Do’s and Don’ts list, inspired by what my parents did that I, as an ex teenager and now (sophisticated) young adult, did and didn’t find helpful so I can give a bit of insight to those parents who are at loss of what to do.

This is where you guys come in. Everyone is unique with their own experiences of mental health issues and have different relationships with their parents so I would love to hear from you on what you thought your ‘rents did well, or as an adult, what you thought you did particularly well to help your child.

Did your parents ask too many questions, or tried to understand when they didn’t? Or did they offer support at home and give good hugs and advice? Is there something that they could improve on, or in hindsight were they just what you needed? Whatever it is, I would love to know!


The next part is more specific to the local areas that the magazines work in. If any of you can highly recommend a counsellor, therapist or support group that you or a friend has found helpful then let me know.

Finding professional help/ support can be a daunting task when you don’t know where to start, especially one that can be helpful for a teen/young adult. I will be adding in some recommendations to the end of the article to point readers in the right direction.

Can’t wait to hear from you guys, comment or drop me a message.

 

 

 

Pet Therapy

Woah. Sounds pretty cool right? Whilst I’m sure someone has invented therapy with pets that’s not what I wanted to talk about!

What I mean to question is whether pets have a soothing effect and if they can in fact help someone who is suffering with an illness, including mental illness.

Well I think they can. My lil guinea pigs make me happy. When I was struggling through college with depression I would often come home feeling weak, blue and in floods of tears. Sometimes I just wanted a no-questions-asked cuddle when I got home which had me making a beeline for the pigs

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Doris (left) and Gertie (right) were the piggies that saw me through my worst depression.
They’re cute, they’re fluffy, they have their own little personalities and voices. I also genuinely think they could tell when I was upset because whenever I was crying they would just lie in my arms, purr a little and let me hold them rather than squeaking, hopping and playing all over my lap whilst tucking into some spinach!

(My current piggies, Boris and Edith. I was so happy when I saw them for the first time after my travels!)

I always say good morning to my pigs and talk to them whenever I’m near them so I do believe that through what I did would’ve been a lonelier time without them. Any pet owner will know, their furry friends offer companionship and understanding. 

So is there any science to this? Can pets make people better? Heres a few fun facts:

  • Pets, such as dogs, are a great motivator to encourage people to exercise which is beneficial for your mental health. It also allows you to be social, for example, talking to other dog owners in the park which prevents you from feeling withdrawn.
  • A statistic from the Cats Protection shows that 76% of people could cope much better with their everyday lives thanks to their feline friends.
  • Stroking, talking to and playing with pets has been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
  • Being with pets allows you to relax and calm yourself, giving your mind a chance to wind down.
  • Offering a sense of companionship. From a mental health point of view, getting some comfort and cuddles without having to explain whats wrong all the time (because often nothing in particular in the day upset you but being depressed is an everyday sadness that seems ever lasting) is invaluable, especially in old age when lonliness and depression can be a huge problem.

I am not, by the way, claiming that pets are the cure for all illnesses, nor that you should run to the closest pet dealer and buy one (although you should always research where you buy pets from, mine are all rescued) but I do find it a strange truth that pets can be so helpful when you’re feeling down.

And hey, if you don’t have a pet you can always give mine a cuddle. They’ll always make you smile. 

Also guys it has come to my attention that when I post on Facebook, they don’t allow all my followers to see my post unless I pay for an advert (which is just rude), so please add your email address to the blog to get a notification when I’ve got a new post.

Thanks! Squeeak!

 

Suicide Prevention 

Sunday was World Suicide Prevention Day and awareness continues for the rest of the week, so to do my part I thought I’d share my experience of dealing with suicidal thoughts. This is exceptionally emotional and difficult for me to discuss, but I do find it’s both a sad and beautiful part of my story.

When I was at college it was a tough time for me, as you all know. In the early part of my second year I had a PTSD relapse and I felt for all the steps forward I had made, I had just taken a million steps back into some sort of depression abyss. At this time I really struggled with self harm which I used to try to feel in control of myself, then the thoughts of suicide started creeping in.

To put it blankly, knowing that I was on the same planet earth as the very person who was at the root of my illness was more than I could bear. I felt numb to the world but inside I was in so much pain, such inner turmoil and I started to become so desperate to be as far away from that person as I could – even if it meant taking myself off this world.

I really really wanted to drown. When I was stressed and panicking, going to the river Thames made me feel like I had space to be alone in my grief and for some reason the water soothed me. So it became and idealization of mine that I could just sink into the water and let the currents take me over, take away my pain, and take me away.

One dreadful day I was cycling home from college which meant I had to go on Hampton Court bridge over the Thames. I had left early to go home because I was so depressed, my dissociation was in full force and I had panicked. As I cycled up to the bridge my whole body felt this strong power pull me to the water. It was like a magnet, a compulsion, and it promised me a relief from the hell that I lived in. I wanted it, I didn’t have a choice anymore.

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Hampton Court Bridge, you can see why I found it so peaceful here.

The only thing that stopped me from going in was a sudden flash of my family’s faces in my mind’s eye at the very last second. It hit me like a blow to my stomach as I saw their grief stricken faces.

I continued to cycle over the bridge telling myself, “Anna you are fine, just keep in control until you get home, Mummy is going to be home and she’ll know how to help”.

But she wasn’t home, the house was dark and I just lost myself. I screamed for help as I attacked myself with scissors but no one heard me. The monster in me wanted me to die so so badly I can’t even put it into words, it was like I’d been taken over by some dark force, just as my body felt compelled to jump into the river just 15 minutes before. As I screamed for help a friend happened to call, I answered the phone, still screaming for help from myself. He called me an ambulance.

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That’s the sad part of the story in as much detail as I can bare to say. The beautiful part comes in the form of my friends and family who took actions to keep me safe afterwards.

  • My dad told his work that he needed to start working from home as often as possible so he could be there for his daughter so that I was rarely in the house alone. Just knowing his presence was there gave me so much comfort and I felt safe from myself.
  • My mum started cycling me into college everyday and made sure I got over that bridge safely. Some of my peers probably remember seeing her with me in her fluorescent cycling jacket!
  • We increased the amount of therapy I was getting a week.
  • We went to see the doctor to adjust my medication.
  • My friends and family sent me text messages here and there, just to remind me they were always with me.

You never know what’s going on in people’s heads and it’s so difficult to start a conversation with someone about having suicidal thoughts. The result of that is:

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in 15-24 years of age.
  • A person commits suicide every 40 seconds.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability world wide.
  • Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people, which allows mental illnesses such as depression to spread.
  • The rise of suicide in men has increased 90% since 2006 for ages 45-54 years, now the most likely age group for men to commit suicide.

Be there for a friend. Be there for a family member. There are a few small things you can do to help save a life:

    • Encourage openness and honesty without judgment.
    • Ask them how they are either face to face, by text or phone.
    • Be yourself and let them know you are there for them to spend time with to do fun things.
    • Reach out, don’t always expect them to come to you.As you should all know now, having a mental illness and being forthcoming about it isn’t easy or comfortable.

Depression kills, anxiety kills, mental illness kills. It is not a joke. It is not selfish.

You cannot judge someone who takes their life because they have been taken by an illness.

Who knows what would’ve happened that day if it wasn’t for my family and friends, people can make all the difference!

Here’s a song that I’ve been listening to for the last few months by Logic, I’m sure most of you have heard it by now. I’ve never felt so moved by a song before but it relates to me so deeply in my experience with having suicidal thoughts. The end verse with Khalid (3min30sec) makes me cry every time because it relates to who I am now, and reminds me where I’ve come from:

Share this story for suicide prevention week. Writing about it has made me relive the grief and pain I was in, but makes me appreciate every day and the people who are in my life.

Be there for friends and anyone who needs it. Just a phone call, a text, a hug or a smile can be a life saver.

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My blog and I 

Now that I’ve firmly settled in back home I can feel the effect that challenging myself has had on me. I honestly feel so much stronger and secure in myself, my anxiety is hugely reduced and if I do experience it I am now less likely to panic or feel frightened.

So I’m chuffed. I know this isn’t the end of the road by far because many mental illnesses, particularly ones such as Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, are a lifelong battle with many highs and lows along the way.

Now the travel part of my life is over (for now) and whilst I still have many stories to tell, it’s time for me to start a new chapter. I will of course be talking about my personal experiences but will be taking a more active role in challenging different perceptions and stigmas of mental illness.

To aid this I’m really excited to say that I have signed up to the Time to Change campaign which is a movement dedicated to changing how we all think and act towards mental illness and is lead by two charities: Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. So I am now a Time to Change Champion! This means I can use my real life experience of having a mental illness to help change our society’s perception of mental health issues and work within our community to do so.

I’ve also made a pledge with Time to Change which means I’m adding my name to thousands of others who are starting conversations about mental health. A pledge can be anything but if you need a little guidance a few examples are given to choose from which you can customise yourself if you like. Mine reads:

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As readers of mine I know you want to spread and learn about mental health awareness so I think it would be amazing if all of you would take a couple minutes to write a pledge to show your support! (Don’t worry, you won’t be signed up to be a champion, but your name and pledge will be featured on the Pledge Wall).

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Here’s the link where you can find out more: time-to-change.org.uk

Let me know if you decided to pledge! I feel really passionately about this so i’m very exited to get started with the movement.

I will be writing more posts soon, as always any feedback is warmly welcomed.

If you haven’t already, please sign up to the blog so you receive an email notification when a new blog post is up and follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

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