Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. 💚

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. 💚

So many of us are affected or know people that are affected by suicide. Sometimes we hear people refer to suicide as ‘selfish’ or people complain about ‘inconvenience’ when it means their trains don’t run. Just remember that someone was ill enough to end their own life and that’s a pretty awful place to be in. It is not selfish and it is not an inconvenience. Nobody wants to be ill and nobody ever wants to feel that it’s their only way out.

Usually people share posts and ask others to do the same. ‘share or post this so that others know you’re there’. They encourage you to reach out and ask how others are doing. But we often forget to ask ourselves how we are too. So today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, reach out to others and encourage others to do the same. But don’t forget to reach out to yourself also because it’s not selfish to make sure that you’re OK too 💚

What is strength? 


We talk about strength so often, ‘she’s so strong’ ‘he has such strength’ but what does it actually mean? And does it mean the same to you as it does your neighbour? 

A quick Google search will show you multiple definitions we have for the word.

 

I would say my husband is incredibly strong, he can bench 120kg and barely break a sweat but I would say that his mental strength far surpasses anything he can do physically. It would have to for him to survive me everyday!

In our family, and amongst friends, I have always been seen as strong, robust or a bouncy ball as they used to say ‘always bouncing back’. At some point in life, after so many bounces, you begin to loose your elasticity and your once bubbly and energetic bounce becomes more of a hauling yourself off the floor whilst trying to not cause further damage or sustain long term injury.

I really do feel like that bouncy ball, a year or 2 ago you could have kicked me down and pushed me round, you would have found that I still come back smiling. Today I’m a much more fragile kind of ball perhaps more glass than bounce. A pretty strong type of glass mind, just much more open/transparent and a little less bouncy.


So I fall harder and I recover slower. Does that make me ‘weak’ or any less strong? It all depends on your interpretation of strength. Before my mental health got really bad, bouncing back was part of my nature and not something I found so difficult. Now days I find myself taking the negative things in life much more to heart and they affect me more deeply. My mental health can be both my best friend and my bully. And there is no harder bully to battle than your own mind.

If somebody makes it into work when they really don’t want to but I only just make it to my living room, does that make them mentally stronger than I am? What most people fail to realise is that to some, making the smallest steps can be the biggest achievement. For me, getting on a bus or going to a social event is one the bravest things I can do and is a time where I show incredible strength. Because strength is relative. 


Lifting 120kg on the moon might not be all that impressive so it really depends upon which planet you’re starting from. To me the rest of the world experiences set backs, and life in general, relative to the gravity on the moon. I on the other hand can experience them relative to the gravity at the centre of the earth. It’s still the same amount of weight, technically, but our ability to hold the weight and the pressure it places upon us are very different depending on where we stand. 

Just because you might handle a situation different to someone else or because you can’t work 24 hours 7 days a week doesn’t mean that the person who can is stronger than you. 


The times when we are at our strongest are when we are most scared but continue anyway. When we ‘feel the fear but do it anyway’. 

We are all uniquely and independently strong. There is no such thing as that awful phrase ‘man up’ which disgusts me to my core. What does it even mean? The words ‘you hit like a girl’. Where does that even come from? They’re ‘weak’ or they ‘just can’t handle it’ you have no idea what that person is having to ‘handle’, not a clue.

The next time you feel the need to compare your ‘weakness’ to someone else’s strength, ask yourself, are we dealing with this problem under the same gravity? 


Yesterday I did something that made me terrified. I thought I was going to faint the whole way there. I even had a friend kindly come along to provide support. Part of me was kicking myself for not being ‘strong enough’ to not cry, to be head strong, to face the fear alone. But do you know what? I did it. I was strong not because I wasn’t scared when others might not be, not because I was ‘head strong’ or ‘determined’ but because I was absolutely and completely terrified and yet, I still did it. 

“I was powerful not because I was’t scared but because I went on so strongly, despite the fear.”

Never mistake your silence for weakness, your kindness for acceptance. Never believe you are not enough because today your head and mental health was just too much to fight. Today you are alive because you win your fight every day. And for that you are the strongest person I know. 

Do not be afraid to be afraid.

XxX

The Power of Positivity

Today I’m proud of myself for conquering my demons and one of my biggest fears – confrontation when I just want to be liked.

The thing about being assertive is that it doesn’t have to involve conflict or any negativity. If you prepare what you want to say, and really think about how it is going to land with the other person, then it can be quite beneficial for you both.

Yesterday I had to deliver a very personal and difficult message to someone. Explaining how their actions had affected me and how they could have acted more constructively, delivering the same message to me but in a positive manner.

Disney: where I feel most assertive and just like me!

I may have cried a little at one point, which I’m kind of annoyed at myself for, but I recovered very quickly and continued the conversation. I suppose this isn’t a negative and in some instances can be a positive. Showing people that you are human and have emotions can actually make you more credible as a person because people see you as ‘real’.

I stood my ground and politely put my point across, explaining my reasoning. Disagreeing with someone doesn’t have to be a negative experience. In fact, disagreeing with each other is the reason the world progresses and how we learn from each other. How boring would life be if we all thought exactly the same things at the same time. 

The moral of the story is to remember to step out of the stream sometimes and watch from the river bank. We’re always caught up in our own journey and emotions and often find it hard to have an objective view of our situations. By stepping out of the stream and watching the situation from the river bank I was able to think about the right questions to ask and how the other person may feel about them. 


Minnie Mouse understands the power of positivity! 

If I had just gone to this person with the attitude of ‘this is how it is and I’m upset and it’s your fault and you’re wrong’ then they would have instantly been defensive and my message would not have got through. Instead I went to them and asked them politely what their intention was for their actions. What did they hope to get from it, so that I can understand the reasoning a little better. Listening to understand instead of listening to respond is a great life skill and one that we could all be better at. 

So the next time you’re facing a difficult situation, before allowing your emotions to take over, just step out of the stream and on to the river bank. What is actually happening in this situation? What are the facts and not just the feelings? How would an outsider assess the situation? How can you think about it in a more positive light? 

Only when you think about a problem from all directions will you be able to fully understand how to get your message across and be understood. And once you’ve conquered that you’ll be master of your own universe! 

Feeling assertive 

XxX

Who are you Today?

I spoke to friends today about the reinvention of yourself. About how amazing the world and your life can be if you just take a step back to truly think about life.

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

It took me allowing myself to fail and give up before I was able to see what I really truly want from life. I became unemployed for 4 months which was ridiculously scary. I have never been unemployed from the day that I was legally able to work. Never had a gap in employment even when studying full time or studying part time. Allowing and accepting myself to fall into the ‘unemployment category’ was an incredible learning journey and one that I never thought I would be brave enough to take.

We all have this inherent fear that we must always be working toward a purpose, in employment or looking for employment. Raising a family or looking for employment. Now I know it’s fundamental to secure your finances but what if you could just take a third of a year off to really think about who you are? Do you think you would want to keep doing what you’re doing? Considering you only get one shot in this life?

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

In those 4 months when I was unwell with my own mental health and then planning my wedding, I was for once in my life finally able to reflect. I had the freedom to completely reinvent myself. Was the career I’m working on truly one for me? Or should I go for something completely out of the box and new!

I’m back in employment now, not only for financial reasons but also to not become house bound and too dependent on others, staying away too long would have made my anxiety worse. But those 4 months of reflecting gave me the chance to think about something I never thought about before, who am I? And I don’t mean what do I do, what’s my background or my academics. But who am I?

Who would I have been back when we still lived in caves, what would I have been good at and what would I have enjoyed? Letting go of what I thought I wanted, but wasn’t making me happy, taught me to explore what I actually wanted.

And in honesty I don’t think most people in this world know what they want. And I mean what they really want, who they really are. And of course our wants and needs can change.

I’ve spent a career educating myself in the legal profession for 8 years and 5 years in Learning and Development teaching adults. But what really inspires me is the Stars. The science behind how we came to be and where we’re going. Inventing the next rocket to the moon or being instrumental in our journey to Mars. It’s something I was never conditioned to do and something school or education never opened the door for me on. 

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

By reflecting on who I truly am I’ve been able to learn more about who I want to be. 

I have to thank myself for being brave enough to let go of what I had and what I thought I wanted but that wasn’t making me happy. 

I’m currently in the process of obtaining student finance for an engineering degree. I want to be an engineer, a physicist, a designer and an innovator. I thought I was an extrovert and despite my bubbly and loud nature I learnt that in fact, I’m an introvert who enjoys socialising. I thought I enjoyed working in teams more but now I’ve learnt that I love personal challenges and leading teams.

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

If there is one thing you do this year, 2017, take a step back. Take a moment to stop and think about who you are, not what you do. 

I really do live by the notion that sometimes you have to loose yourself to find your true self. 

Writing this blog has helped me to reflect on the thoughts and feelings I have each day and what causes me to feel that way. My advice to you is to find a way to express yourself. Whether it be writing, painting, drawing, dancing. Whatever works for you do it. Express how you feel and learn from it. 

Are you pleased with the way you have felt over the past week and would you be pleased to feel like that every week for the rest of your life? If the answer is yes then that’s amazing! But if the answer is no then you need to take action now, not tomorrow, not next week but now. No one is going to take action for you. No friend, psychic, coach or psychologist can do it for you. Only you can discover what makes you happy and you are the only one that can make things happen.

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

Today I’m not who I was 8 years ago when I began my journey in the legal profession. Today I’m an aspiring physicist who wants to help develop the world. Today I’m me.

Who are you today?

XxX

Photo credit: Today I would like to thank my beautiful friend David Wilsher who has been an absolute rock to me, an inspiration and in many ways at many times my saviour. All of these beautiful pictures are his own and he has kindly shared them with me. You can find more on his Instagram: DJWillox


I have a theory 

I have a theory that if the working world worked less hours we would actually be more productive and healthier. I’ve always wondered how the 5 day working week came about and who ever thought it would be a good idea. How have we all naturally accepted and migrated to this notion.

Imagine if everyone worked a 4 day week or even 3.5 day week. We would have more time for ourselves and our families. Enjoying and having more time for our personal life would make us resent our working life less.

I have previously worked compressed hours. Full time hours in a 4 day week. I always made a point to leave on time and I always took my full hour lunch. I was actually more productive in these 4 days than I was in 5 and I believe that if my hours were less I would be even more productive.

How many of us procrastinate on a daily basis? When you have a goal to focus on, a deadline each day to leave on time and go home, and your reward is just that ‘going home’ we can be so much more productive. If we go into work of the mind that ‘today is going to be a long day’ then it will be, you won’t send that email now because well you’re here all night and you have plenty of time!

Of course there are those of us that really are overworked. A very close friend of mine works extremely long hours and works incredibly hard with very little procrastination. I see the effect this has on her and the stress it causes not only mentally but physically too. How did she get to this point? And yet others of the same level and role of her, often paid more, are working less. It’s that old saying ‘victim of your own success’. We need to learn to put our work down and come back to it and if that means deadlines are missed then there is a problem with the process and organisation and not the person.

Sweden have recently wised up to this and reduced weekly working hours to increase productivity and well being.

Imagine if we all only worked 3 days. There would be more jobs available for others. Yes we would be paid less but everyone would be so the cost of living would go down. Everyone would be much healthier and would cost the health service less and the world would be a much happier place generally. 

People would have more time to learn and develop them selves. Time to give back and volunteer. Time to see their children.

I know my plan will be full of holes but it’s a nice thought isn’t it?

How did we get where we are and where are we going? 

In a few weeks I move to a 4 day week and I can’t wait. 

Feeling optimistic

XxX

The Birth of Openness

This week has been pretty hellish for me, I suppose that’s what finally pushed me to start Diary of a ‘Mad’ girl. Over the past year I have learnt to become more and more open about my mental health, something that I have found to be particularly helpful when it comes to coping with any anxieties or depressive moments I may have. Being open about who you truly are and how you really feel can be completely liberating and quite inspiring. Strangely, I can often find more courage when opening up to strangers. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a ‘reputation’ to uphold or a ‘character’ to protect. What you see is what you get. If a stranger knows my darkest secrets I won’t have to see their eyes everyday looking at me and knowing my struggle. Of course family I see everyday so that’s a different story.

I’ve really come a long way in the past year, just being me. sadly this week I found myself being put back into my box, knocked back a century or two and silenced with gaffa tape. My ability to be open to the world was completely stripped from me and so too was one of my biggest coping mechanisms – openess. What do you do when your told you’re not allowed to discuss your mental health? And with no reason given for the need to be silent on the topic other than ‘not everyone is ready to hear about mental health’. Well excuse me whilst I ask all those with visible disabilities to cover themselves with blankets because people just aren’t ready to hear about disabilities. What outrage would ensue? So why then is mental health still treated so differently to physical health. My brain has an actual physical condition, a chemical imbalance and yet I must act as though this disability does not exist.

If I had a heart condition would you ask me to run up 5 flights of stairs to deliver a letter? Would you expect me to disclose my health difficulty to you so that I could take the lift instead? Or would you prefer I keep quiet and die of a heart attack? If the reasonable adjustments you make for someone with a physical disability allow them to function better, then what reasonable adjustments can you make for me when I’m suffering from a chronic illness that I’m unable to discuss?

With so much change going on in the world, both for the better and worse, I refuse to remain silent on the issue of mental health. If we campaign for cancer why is mental health any different? I will be regularly sharing my experiences with mental health, positive, negative, the wins and my struggles. I hope that Diary of a ‘Mad’ Girl will help others that face mental health difficulties, friends and family and those that have no idea what it’s all about but are willing to learn more and spread the message.

I look forward to taking this journey of openness with you and will forever be grateful for the time you spend reading and sharing Diary of a ‘Mad’ Girl.

Thank you

XxX