Are you a caregiver for someone with an eating disorder & over the age of 18?

As part of my Master’s degree thesis, I am looking into:

‘The impact of positive reappraisal coping on the wellbeing of caregivers of those with an eating disorder’
The survey is completely confidential and anonymous. To participate in this research study you must be over the age of 18 and must consider yourself as a carer for someone who has an eating disorder, whether you are a family member, partner or friend.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DTNRYL5

Please clink on the link above to take part.

Any questions please do not hesitate to contact me:

21148538@students.southwales.ac.uk

Thank you so much for your time.

 

2017-05-27 (2)

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13 reasons why it’s not your fault

I do not think, to an extent, that 13 reasons why romanticises and glamorises suicide.

It is as if as soon as the subject of mental health, suicide, is brought to the public’s attention, no one wants to talk about it. Everyone is quick to point the finger at a girl who took her own life, shes being a bitch, like how dare she ruin someones life like that. The reason for that reaction… well I think sometimes you see yourself in one of those characters that Hannah Baker mentions and that scares us..

So, instead of taking blame for our actions we turn it, say that it is making the topic of suicide glamorous. If you strip everything done to the bone, you see the pain that the suicide passed on, you see how many people it affected. None realising the consequences of their actions.

All thinking “omg.. i would never do that to someone else? could you?”… “uh why did she react like that, haha omg that is something jane would do…”

Yeah, because it is not your fault, and you can name 12 other reasons why you are such a good person and supportive and you have your bff…. yup everyone else is with you…. no one can think of one reason why they would have anything to do with someones else suffering.

It is a natural instinct to protect yourself and not take blame, as that will only damage our own ego. Most of us can take stuff in our stride, others cannot. Everyone is different.

I think the people who chose to say that it had made suicide a ‘good’ things is BS. I’m sorry but it makes me feel that they have no idea of the extent of the pain it takes to get to that moment, or the fact that cannot fathom the thought of death, let alone taking their own life when they have so much to live for.

This is, of course, no fault of their own. They are entitled to that opinion, as I, am entitled to mine.

Another reason that this programme is bringing up issues, is that people are talking more about mental health, more about what signs to look for. Which is great. But no for the government, as all of a sudden depression rates in adolescence will increase, not because people are faking it, but more people are becoming aware of their own feelings and aren’t embarrassed to have these feelings.

When I was a young adolescent even till I was 20, depression was a taboo word. No one ever really spoke about it, I used to think it was a horrible nasty, aggressive and relentless, tbh i couldn’t fathom the actual idea of depression, as I had no idea what it actually meant.. Now, I understand, I have empathy for those who have depression. I cannot judge as I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

We as a society should consider shit before pointing the finger because its the easiest option, the option that will make us good human beings.

If you feel you may be responsible, or may have affected someone negatively, don’t look back at that moment, instead, you do something nice and good for someone else. Start a positive chain of events and realise the impact you can have on someone’s day, year, life.

I Carry Your Words

I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity. These words hold in my mind on a continuous basis. Unable to offload this burden, unable to shift the sadness, these words are what I experience. Swirling around, screaming from the inside.

I am by nature a dealer in words, fogged by the impact settled in bliss. These words are what I experience. I perceive my world different to you, unable to communicate.

You are by nature a dealer in words, you hold the most powerful drug known to humanity. You lead with no caution dealing your poison, unaware settled in bliss. Able to offload, able to shift the sadness. Now I carry your words, these words are what I experience, what I feel, what I am.

You perceive the world with everyone else. Meshed by constraint. Unwilling to stand out. The words you have dealt me, obvious to all. Eyes staring, words flowing to their minds, impact is heavy without a word to be said. Silence, words aren’t needed here. The labels are obvious, I carry them for all to see.

I am by nature a dealer in words, I deal with apprehension. Unblinded by bliss, aware of the pain, the power, the words. I carry your words, cemented upon me, the weight unbearable.

Unbreakable, I carry your words. What I experience in life are those words in my mind, consistent, unforgiving. I am crippled, the drug I cannot shake, I need it to achieve, push myself, to win. Destructive motivation, a constant battle never to be won.

You held the power, the drug I never wanted, the drug I will never forget. You are a dealer in words, callously sharing your words. Untroubled by the impact. Powerless, I carry your words.

 

 

Open Blog: Struggle With Myself

Disclaimer: This is part of an open blog where people share their stories, this is a story sent to me by a follower anonymously, please read, leave feedback etc. 

I feel like I need to express my experiences with anxiety, being diagnosed with Asperger’s and the turning point that of me STRUGGLING with anxiety to now just experiencing it and thriving from it.

After watching a series with my girlfriend on Netflix called ’13 Reasons Why’ it’s changed my perception on how I honest I want to be with myself about myself. I don’t feel like I’ve ever been truly honest about myself, not even in my own head. There is a lot deeper shit I could get in to but for now I want to say something about anxiety as everyone feels it.

I’ve suffered with anxiety my entire life. And although people say school are the ‘best years of your life’ I struggled through every single year of secondary school. I used to wake up every day with a headache due to worry. Even if I woke up feeling fine, I would worry about getting a headache so much that I would give myself a headache. I went to different school to all my mates so that was a shitter from the get-go. I struggled day to day at the start but just put it down to the fact we were all new and everyone was having a shit time. As time went on I still found myself struggling not to pretend to be sick every day to just get a day at home where I didn’t have to a thing apart from play on my ps2. It got to the point where I wouldn’t even ring my mum pretending to be ill and just get the bus to my buddys house and either chill with him or just walk a couple miles back to my house. The anxiety then grew as I knew that I had it in me to just skip school and didn’t have to convince my mum, which forced me to make a decision every day. Obviously with my shitty attendance, my school work suffered heavily and pressure from teachers grew, adding to my already packed folder of ‘why me’ worries. I now know why I didn’t get man the fuck up and get my head down, but we all have regrets and secondary school is definitely my number one.

I was more focused on being a fucking legend outside of school at this point anyway. I only cared about being out and about, doing dumb shit with my mates and building a reputation of being a little cunt. I just thought to myself ‘I’m naturally intelligent, I’ll land on my feet’. I showed no ambition, I was too scared to. The thought of getting a job and working with people I didn’t know, doing things id never done, 5 days a week fucking TERRIFIED me. This feeling pretty much crippled me up until recently. Even after I got my first full time job, my current job, knowing I may have to do something I had never done before killed me.

I used to blame the fact my life wasn’t moving forward on the fact I had been in trouble with the police and had been in and out of court for years. When anybody asked me if I was working or anything I would always say how hard it was to get a job on bail. Which in fairness was almost impossible. Although I wasn’t actually trying as hard I could be due to the fact I was more than happy to just live at home, on the doll, doing fuck all through the day and going out with my mates when they finished work in the evening.

Despite all the tough times I went through whilst being on bail, it may have provided the biggest turning point in my life. My mum had never told me at the time, due to me being such a difficult twat, but numerous teachers at my school had approached her about maybe getting me assessed for autism. She thought I wouldn’t want that sort of label. Which is right, at the time I couldn’t think of anything worse for my street cred. But due to the position I found myself she thought it might help keep me out of jail so I complied. To begin with I didn’t think I was any different from anybody else and was only going along with it to help myself in the case. It wasn’t until I went to a few sessions at an autism place (I don’t know what the name was) I realised that pretty much everything they were saying to me was relatable. I went through a series of tests and low and behold I was diagnosed with Asperger’s. They told me I was destined for a life of anxiety and was a lot more likely to become depressed then most people. Which I’m determined not to be. My thought process pretty changed the exact moment I realised that I had autism. Rather than seeing myself as someone who couldn’t do something or was just shit at stuff in general, I decided that I have as much chance as anyone at doing something, I just might to approach it differently.

The first time I was able to overcome an inability to do something was a good day. I had been working in a butchers for a few months and in my apprenticeship coursework it required me to make sausages. By now I had acknowledged that I will have to learn new shit but hadn’t come across anything that required much skill. Making sausages does. My boss walked me through the process step by step and made it look painfully easy. When it came to it, I did every single aspect of it wrong in the most pitiful way. She was showing me how to link them in the slowest of motion and I still couldn’t get it. I went home that night feeling like fucking shit. I was sat in my mums car on the home (obviously I couldn’t drive) telling her about how I think this is another thing that I’m just destined to fail at. Like riding a bike, playing the keyboard or anything else I had attempted once, failed at, and just left it alone. It was all I could think about all night, and I spoke to my mates about it that night. I went to work the next day dreading it. And once again I failed at it. It wasn’t until a few days after I tried again. It just clicked and I managed to successfully link a whole mix of sausages. I had never felt the feeling of succeeding before. I had never been really good at anything. I always took solace in the fact I was never the worst at things like football at school, or I’d be happy if there was just one more person who was fatter than me in the class. As long as I wasn’t last I was content. But when it came to testing myself individually I had never succeeded.

Since this day, after overcoming such a tiny task, my self confidence has grown every day. I’ve come to realise that anxiety is relevant. Whereas I used to be scared to even leave the house, now the things that make me nervous are only progressive. I know I will never fully get passed anxiety and I feel it even in the smallest of tasks. Reversing my van at work up to the loading bay, trying new things in the gym, the fact I even go the gym is something I never thought I would do. The difference is now when I feel anxious I get on with it, as I know its just a part of my autism rather than the difficulty of the thing I’m doing. Instead of letting the anxiety get the better of me and bowing out, I take it on the chin and fucking man up and get on with it. And I couldn’t feel any better for it. I have a good job in which I’ve progressed no end, I drive a fast car that I’ve modified myself, I have a lush girlfriend who I’ve been with for a year and half. I went from being 17 and a half stone to 14 stone at 6ft5 and feeling, and looking, better than I ever thought I would. EVER.

I learnt that anxiety will be there, no matter what I do, and that in no way would I let it stop me from doing anything again. I still have shit days, but in regards to actually trying new things, eating new foods and meeting new people I’ve deemed it irrelevant.

I doubt anyone gives a shit but as long as you know that your not the only person to feel anxiety about the stupidest shit. And as much as it feels like a barrier you can’t break, it isn’t actually a thing, so treat it as such.

 

Open Blog: Your Story

I have had a few messages about how I started writing my blogs and people reaching out telling me they appreciate the subjects I write about and how they would love to write a blog but just don’t have the time to maintain one, or maybe challenge yourself to share your story, to tell people about your experiences.

Well here is your opportunity. I am looking for people who want to share their story, whatever that may be, a letter to a friend, a heartbreaking experience, an insight into a day in your life, a proud moment you want to share… anything. I will post it on my blog site anonymously or with your name, it is up to you.

I will only post a selective few (depending on how many people reach out).

Get your story out there, be heard, feel like you have expressed yourself, you never know it may just motivate you to start your own blog or to share your story to others in real life. Your story is important.

Feel free to contact me over Facebook, Twitter or  Email: madfreckles1@gmail.com

Fierce & Feminine

I have always posed the question to myself; am I feminine enough? I look at myself compared to others and think maybe I’m not but then what do we mean by feminine? I think of being feminine as having strong qualities such as being head strong, resilient and confident. Being feminine also has connotations of wearing dresses, skirts, wearing colourful clothes, having perfect hair and makeup, now these are the qualities that I feel I do no possess. I do not feel comfortable in dresses and skirts unless I’m on a night out with the girls and I mostly wear black clothes as I feel they are the most flattering for my shape and draw less attention to my body as I am not the most confident with it.

Recently some people have mentioned that I dress like ‘man’ or a ‘lesbian’ and that I’m ‘not that feminine’. This got me thinking… does this mean I am unattractive, does this mean I intimidate males, does this mean I am not coming across as approachable? Who are these people to say that I am not the definition of ‘feminine’, surely that is an old interpretation that is completely outdated in today’s society?!

I do try with my hair and makeup, but the times my hair looks decent and done up is mostly done by mistake or just sheer fucking luck… don’t get me wrong I have watched numerous tutorials and had a good attempt at trying to replicate some styles… without much success… I mean I’m a women, I am meant to be able to do this feminine shit with ease?

I know I am not the most feminine and I may have a ‘lesbian/male’ dress sense, but I am comfortable in the clothes I wear and the way I portray myself. Maybe by dressing this way I am trying to conceal my insecurities from everyone, and I do worry that by not dressing ‘feminine enough’ that I struggle to be attractive amongst a sea of feminine girls with beautiful hair and clothes.

I feel that at the age of 23 I am still struggling to find myself still, find my own dress sense, I am torn between dressing feminine and feeling uncomfortable or dressing tomboyish and feeling confident. I feel that my ‘unfeminine’ look disadvantages me to a certain extent, I feel that I should be feminine and a pretty girl who cares about makeup and shit. I guess I need to realise there is nothing better than being me and not giving a shit what others say about my dress sense.

I am fierce and feminine in my own way and I fucking own it. I don’t want to look back when I am older and think why did I worry so much, just fucking own it, and that is exactly what I am going to do, there is only one me and there will only ever be one me. It is natural for me to feel insecure and second guess myself, I feel it is what keeps me on my toes and open to developing myself and pushing myself outside my comfort zones to feel more fierce and confident in my own body and mind.

 

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – Dr Seuss.

The Friend That Everyone Turns To

Being the friend that everyone turns to is a huge responsibility, making sure you are available when they need you, listening carefully to the things they choose to share with you.

Sometimes you worry that you are not there enough for them, you worry if you are giving them the best advice, run over the things they’ve told you, working out possible solutions for them.

I have found in my experience that the best support is simply just to listen.

Most people just want you to validate their thoughts and feelings, to remind them that they are reacting normally, being rational. This actually can make a huge difference to someone. It can be hard to be the friend that everyone turns to. Sometimes you feel that you cannot share your own issues with someone because you are aware of what they are dealing with.

But honestly, I think they would appreciate you sharing it with them. This makes them feel that you appreciate and trust them. Knowing that you have the same faith in them as they do in you.

Sometimes supporting people can be stressful but it is also the most rewarding thing you can do. They see you as strong and caring, enough for them to turn to you. For you to be the first person they think of when they struggle. I’ll take that job hands down. To be able to support someone and allow them to vent, rant and go mad down the phone.

This is why I have set up a support website, for those people who just want to rant to someone, to feel that someone will listen to them, not to advise, because at the end of the day most people already have a solution in their mind, they just want to be told ‘its okay’, ‘that’s a normal reaction’.

That is the best support you can give, and to those who turn to people to lean on, you are not weak and you are definitely not a burden. When you chose to open up to someone, they feel special and honoured that you are sharing it with them and they are part of your struggle and solution.

Remember, if you are struggling or know anyone that is, or if you are struggling to support someone, below are some numbers you can ring. Also check out my website.

116 123  – Samaritans.

http://findingyourself.strikingly.com/ – my website.

Also, I discovered Reddit recently, where there are open forums where you can post about your struggles and the community on there is so helpful and willing to support you and just listen. Writing on different formats just to vent and be anonymous I would definitely recommend it. Just remember, you are never alone, even when it feels like you are, people are always there to support you and just be there for you. The strongest thing you can do, is share your struggles, it takes a lot of courage to  open up to people.

 

Dreams are Stupid

I don’t think anyone has asked me ‘what is your dream?’

I’ve been asked what my dream job would be, what my dream house would look like but never what is your dream. I think the word ‘dream’ seems childlike and unbelievable, something that will not be achieved, forever a dream, unrealistic and hopeless.

I am asking myself today, what is my ambition, what drives me, my passion, my dream.

Everyone has their own dream, own idea of what they would like to do at some point in their lives. Would we openly admit it? Be openly honest about our dreams. They are very personal.

What happens if you share you dreams and you never achieve them, people look at you and know you didn’t reach your dream. Why risk that? Keep it to yourself and then no one can judge you.

Well I am going to be honest, and I will strive for this dream and do what I can to achieve it and make it a reality.

My dream is to open my own psychology clinic and specialise in young people, help them to build confidence and self-esteem. I want to specialise in male mental health and eating disorders.

I want to be able to provide free psychological care in supported living houses for young people. Help them to understand themselves.

These are specific dreams I have. But the overall view is, I want to make a difference, even if I can make a difference to one person or a thousand, I will have achieved something very special to me.

I would like to ask everyone who reads this to ask themselves what their dream is, what is important to them?

To help me achieve my dream, I ask you to do one thing. I would like you to just ask someone if they are okay or even just smile at a stranger. You have no idea the difference this can make to someones day.

Winter Blues

I haven’t written a blog in a while and for this there are several reasons. The first, I needed time to reflect on myself without having to write it and share it with everyone, the second was, I have no motivation, concentration or capacity to think straight to write it all down. This seems to occur over the winter months when my depression gets worse and I make rash decisions and actions.

This hasn’t helped with losing a close friend at this time of year as well as a few people putting me down so they can feel better about their decisions and actions.

This time of year is hard not just for me, but everyone. When the nights are longer and the days are shorter, its cold and many feel isolated and alone. I write this so people who are struggling with depression, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), mental health issues or just feeling down, that you are not alone, and you have not lost the battle.

I feel that I have done so well winning my battle over the last year and during this season I feel like I am losing, that maybe I am not as strong as I first thought. I find it difficult to share these feelings and feel like I should have to struggle on my own as others are going through similar things and don’t need an extra burden added on to them. Which I know is stupid, because I really could use the support of my friends right about now.

I am making a choice to share my feelings, making a choice to think positively. Someone said to me once that we have a choice over whether we deal with something in a negative manner or a positive one, that we have a choice in handling it, a choice over our emotions. This has really stuck with me and I have been trying my hardest to stay positive, deal with things positively, stop having negative thoughts. It has helped, think I wouldn’t have done so well over these past few months without that advice.

I am still struggling and this puts me in awkward situations that I find difficult to get out of and I need to be selfish. I need to put myself first and take control of my life and the events that occur in it. It is time for change, positive change, that will help me feel more fulfilled and motivated.

 

 

NOTE: if you feel you need someone to talk to, check out my website, link is in my bio. There are various agencies out there to help people through difficult times. I have also posted the Samaritans number below.

116 123

this number is FREE to call

Control

Finally, for the first time in my life I feel in control. I feel that I have shit organised, things are going my way. This may not seem a big deal to many, but for me this is huge. I have struggled with mental health issues in my life and low self-esteem and confidence, to the point I couldn’t think of a single positive thing in my life or about myself.

I am now in my masters degree, which is challenging but I am working hard and it is paying off. I have made a great deal of new friends who are supportive of me and instead of bringing me down are pushing me forward, out of my comfort zone and telling me it is okay to be myself.

I feel organised, I feel I have a plan. I know where I’ve been and I know where I am heading. Cliche, I know, but it fits. So to all those who ever doubted me, thought I wouldn’t be okay, thought I would struggle with mental health again, who thought I wouldn’t even complete my graduate degree.

FUCK YOU. 

The last time I was this happy and confident was probably when I was 16, don’t get me wrong I have the odd low self-esteem moment about my body shape, but then I have a cider and food and I forget about it. Because I know if it really bothered me I can change it as I am in CONTROL.  There are things in my life that are out of my control, and I am okay with that. Shit happens, brush it off and move on to bigger and better things.

I am done with being bitter, holding grudges, blaming others for the way I am and how I view myself. I am making myself better, independent and embracing life. I will not let anyone bring me down again, I have so much going for me, my future is full of potential and happiness and I am not about to let that slip through my fingers for anyone.

I feel myself and I couldn’t love myself anymore.  I don’t have a big ego, I am not arrogant, there is no shame in being confident in your own skin and actually appreciating who you are, your personality and your dress sense. People can bitch and say shit but I am above it. I am holding my head up high, the highest it has been for 7 years, now that is an accomplishment.

So big love to all those who have helped me get to this stage in my life and to those who weren’t I thank you, because without you I probably wouldn’t be feeling the way I do now.