My Experience of Depression
I am writing this review as this is something which is affecting my life, sometimes I find it therapeutic to write it down. Depression is a very taboo subject and like other illnesses is one which you can't see from the outside but on the inside it is very real. Depression is more than a feeling of low mood and feeling fed up it goes ... much deeper than this and can be very debilitating for those who are suffering. Many people worldwide will suffer with this condition through their life and what cause it can sometimes be unclear. Many things can contribute to this condition such as genetics and life experiences such as relationship problems or bereavement. Here is my story.
When I was in my late teens I suffered from eating disorders, I had both anorexia and bulimia at the same time, in a way I think my mental health problems may have stemmed back from then. I have always been a perfectionist and strived to do everything PERFECT, I now know is impossible to be perfect and am trying to now accept that I cannot be this. I did get over the anorexia and bulimia but took a long time, I think it really hit home when my doctor told my mum that if I didn't recover I could die, quite a scary prospect so in time I overcame this. After this experience I had a really long period where life was good, I met my husband and had my daughter who is now 10, life was great.
In 2005 I became pregnant with my second child myself and my husband was over the moon with joy, a perfect addition to our little family. All was great with the pregnancy until we had our 20 week scan and were told the devastating news that the little boy I was carrying had died and I would have to deliver him. The prospect was awful I delivered my son who was so small I was scared to touch him, I desperately wanted the horror of it all to go away and wake up from this nightmare, life seemed so cruel. I found it very difficult after the funeral of our son and struggled to get up most days, but carried on for the sake of my family. After a month it all hit me like a ton of bricks and suffered severe anxiety and depression for months but after treatment I slowly improved and things did get better in time. Things that challenge you in life can in fact make you stronger and after the loss of our baby I did get much stronger. I still think about him every day but I had to give the best I could and still can in life for my family.t
In 2007 I gave birth to a much wanted little boy who is now 5 but form the instant he was born I knew all was not well, I felt very detached and anxious. After the loss of my first son I was certain something terrible was going to happen to him and spend many weeks in an anxious state without eating or sleeping. I did seek help once again, it was a long year after my son was born with more downs than ups but I did get there with help and support. My life started to get back on track and I was able to enjoy life with my family again until four months ago when I hit rock bottom again. Like the times before I have had a reason for the depression and anxiety but this time the reasons have been unclear, I have a wonderful family and seemed happy with my life or so I thought.
I have quite a busy life and am always on the go, my work is very physical and with two children life can be demanding. Four months ago I stated to feel very tired and started to feel unable to cope with all life's demands. I shrugged it off and tried to carry on until I had a complete melt down and began crying uncontrollably and I have to say that the past four months I have not gone through a single day without crying. I went to the doctors and was told to increase the dose of the antidepressants which I have been on since the birth of my son. Unfortunately this didn't work and I was getting worse. My mum who I am very close to came to stay with me as my husband works long hours and I was struggling to cope and be alone with my thoughts and anxiety. I returned to the doctors who gave me valium short term to alleviate my extreme anxiety which was crippling me, I was unable to eat, sleep and was suffering from panic attacks regularly which are very frightening. I know these are very addictive as I've had them in the past so I have used them sparingly. He also decided to change my antidepressants which I was happy with until a week later. The new medication left me with suicidal thoughts and I didn't care about life and didn't want to carry on. This was such a scary feeling, I had a wonderful family which need me and I love very much so why was I feeling like this? The doctor told me to stop this medication straight away which I did; I guess not all antidepressants work for some people.
I have been seeing a counsellor weekly to try and get to the bottom of my fears and anxieties which is helping me. It is refreshing to know that certain feelings are normal with anxiety and depression and I am not alone. That one thing with this illness is it makes you feel so alone and isolated. Over the past four months I haven't socialised and have completely shut myself off, I have continued to work until last week as my doctor advised me to rest. My job is very physical and it was advised that I eliminate all stresses in my life as I still continue to struggle. I have just been referred to my NHS mental health team as the treatment I am receiving is not being successful as they would like it to be and I continue to struggle daily. Without the support of my family I am not sure what my future would be as living with the anxiety and depression is a constant struggle which at present I deal with daily. At the same time I do now feel more optimistic and positive that life will get better, if I was asked that two weeks ago the answer would have been very different. What people need to understand is that it is an illness which no one from my experience would want to go through. I always say I would rather someone chop my legs off, if you have a broken arm people can see it and it can be mended with depression you cannot see it and it takes a long g time to mend. Depression is not a quick fix and not something you can simply shrug off or pull yourself together and I am sure many reading this will know.
Who knows why I have been suffering this time around, things are beginning to become clearer in time with help from my counsellor and I am trying to accept this. The only advice I can give to people who are suffering alone is to get help it won't go away by itself, you need support from professionals and loved ones. Depression is more common than you think and people are accepting it more now as an illness and more help is available. Remember you are not alone and it isn't a sign of weakness, this is one thing that I have now realised and accept.
Thank you for reading
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Hair Tips & Advice
I am no hair stylist or hair dresser but I've repeatedly been told that I should be but it's something I strictly want to keep as a hobby. I wouldn't want to charge obscene amounts of money to do something people can do them selves and I'd also be bored of doing it for someone else, especially if it's something boring. Over the many ... years I've learnt a lot of things and in this review I'm going to share how to cut your own fringes, put extensions in right along with bleaching, hair dying and even dying hair extensions including styling.
To cut a fringe:
There are some hair dressers that do free fringe cuts such as Tony and guy but it will only be free if it's a trim and not a re styling of the fringe to get a re styled fringe cut you're looking at around £10 in most places when it's really easy and cheap to do it yourself, it doesn't even take that long to do. The most common at the moment are full fringes which is what I have. These are really easy to cut in yourself. The full fringe is in the middle of the back of your head and forehead. In the centre part horizontally roughly two inches and bring this forward at an angle getting wider as you come further towards your face. This is optional how big or small you actually do it, once you have all that hair put the rest of your hair in a bobble or grip it away from the piece you've just separated which will be your fringe. This will stop any hair getting in the way. Then separate the fringe part into sections across your head, this will allow you to cut the hair in layers so you can dope with it. comb the first section and cut in line with your eyebrows until you come to the points of your eyebrows, here you start to angle the scissors downward and this creates a curved fringe. Basically you are just following the same shape as what your eyebrows are. In layers trim your hair to the same length as the previous hair using it as a guide line. once you've done all this if it isn't short enough for you just snip little bits away until it is short enough for you.
I have mine above my eyebrows and I find that mine is longer on one side so I just sit there and snip it away until it looks normal. I sued normal big kitchen scissors which aren't even sharp and it worked fine. Once it was in the shape I wanted it I got the little silver manicure scissors which were more precise for getting every hair the same length because of the smaller blade.When doing this yourself, do not expect it to be completely straight unless you sit there and put in a lot of effort to get it straight, I don't I just do it quick and have done with it. When it comes to straightening this if you curly the straighteners at the ends of your hair this will make your hair go to the shape of your face, make it look more rounded and hide that little wonky line if you have one, the perfect thing is if you do it slightly too high on one side, high fringes are in and they look a lot better than you might think.
Hair extensions, trial and error:
I amount I have to say please please please do not get micro rings or glue in hair extension, more often than not the wrong length is put in for your length of hair and this will make your hair thin and go bald in areas and I'm sure that wasn't the desired look. I sued to look down on girls wearing hair extensions and said I would never wear fakery. i had short hair(was trying to grow it) a sleeve tattoo and was getting a bit weighty, what a bad look that was! my friend said look let me just put these hair extensions in your hair see how you feel and look. The transformation was astonishing at the time, It made me look a lot thinner and more feminine. A lot people think they are pricey and are a lot of effort and time consuming but they don't have to be if you know what you're are doing. So, there are two types of hair extensions. Synthetic and human hair. DO NOT go for synthetic, you'll get one wear out of them and that is it. Human hair extensions have a percentage of synthetic in them, usually the cheaper they are the less human hair are in them and there is a way of telling how much is in them. The more synthetic hair in them the shinier they look and feel rough. It doesn't make them any worse but it doesn't mean they don't look as natural, but don't be mistaken a lot of cheaper hair extensions are amazing quality. They can range from 4 inches to 24 inches,maybe even more. Depending on the length of your hair depends on the length of the hair extensions you can put in, this is because you don't want the extensions to be too heavy on your hair and start to thin and pull it out. My hair was just below my ear and I wore 16 inch ones which came to bust length and this was ideal. I buy the Remy human hair extensions, full head from Ebay the blonde ones that I'm buying at the moment retail at £15 with postage. These are brilliant quality long lasting and are mainly human hair not synthetic. Every time I change my hair colour I buy new blonde extensions so now I have lots of different coloured ones.
These take literally a couple of extra minutes on top of already doing your hair so there isn't any excuse and you can't say they take too long, full heads of hair contain eight pieces - 2 lengths with 3 clips, 1 length with 4 clips, 3 lengths with 2 clips and 2 lengths with 1 clips. Start by putting your hair in a bobble and have a small piece left out at the back, you then straighten your own hair and then first 3 clip length, once both straightened slid the clips one by one in to your hair and clip them shut. Keep layering your hair and straightening in putting in next the 3 piece, then the 4 piece. Then closer to the top of your hair put in the 2 clip pieces and then the 1 clip pieces in the sides of your hair close to your face. You simply clip these in as you're straightening your hair, this does take some practise so what I did one night is I sat there and kept putting them in finding the best arrangement for me and to make sure they were in properly, it's annoying seeing girls with their hair sticking up all over the place because they haven't put them in properly, it isn't a hard thing to do it just takes practice.
Bleaching and dying hair extensions:
Wear hair extensions and you're changing your hair colour? Extensions come in the basic colours of black medium-dark brown medium-white blonde and often one shade of red. If you are dying your hair red the chances are that the red hair extensions won't match your hair. When changing my hair colour I have tried bleaching my black hair extensions - it doesn't work. You need to buy a blonde set that you think your hair will match after you've bleached it. For example when I bleached mine from black it was a medium ginger/orange so I bought medium dirty blonde coloured hair extensions. You can dye hair extensions any colour you want to but they just don't bleach. To do this make sure you have a towel that you don't mind having dye all over and get the dye on your hands and run it through the extensions piece by piece and lay them on the towel to soak, after half an hour rinse and condition them like you would do your own hair and towel dry or hair dryer them to dry.
Colour stripping and hair lightning:
Trying to change your hair colour can be a nightmare, especially if you are bleaching it so here some tips which are basically pre bleaching. What a lot of people won't know and hair dressers are not allowed to tell you (because they want you to pay for them to do it) is that washing up liquid strips excess hair dye from your hair, including permanent dyes. The liquid brand isn't an issue you can be the cheapest,nastiest and it will work and that's all that matters, Instead of going to the hair dressers and paying £30+ for your hair to be stripped you can do it with household products you already have. To do this just treat the washing up liquid as if it was shampoo. repeat as many times as you want and this bring out a lot of the colour, I've recently dyed my hair red and I'm bored of it, I did this before starting this review and my hair was bright red, after doing this several times (until I couldn't be bothered to any more) my hair went a copper ginger colour, so quite a few shades lighter! You don't need to sit and let this soak in your hair, rinse it straight away and the colour comes right out. Do expect your hair to feel terrible so if you are finished this stage for the night shampoo and condition it to try and get some normal feeling back to it.
Pre lightning or hair colour stripping is a common thing to do before bleaching your hair to change the colour. This means that the lighter your hair before bleaching, the lighter your hair will be after bleaching making your new hair colour more vibrant. More often than not my hair is completely black when I decide to switch to a bright colour, so if this all works for me with black it will work on everything. You can buy hair lightning kits from everywhere that stocks hair dyes. This is similar to a bleach but it isn't as strong,if you are just changing your hair from a dark colour such as black to red or brown I suggest that this is the only thing you need to do so skip the bleaching, your hair will be light enough to change colour now. These have everything you need in them from gloves, the peroxide to full instructions and you usually leave this on for an hour.
If I had saved all the money I've spent on bleach I[d be rich, but not as rich as someone if they saved the money they wasted at the hair dressers. A lot of people don't know how to bleach hair or what brands are even bleach. So to start with most white blonde dyes in most brands are bleaching kits too. The best one yet which is the only one I will recommend here is the live platinum box dye. This retails at around £5 and one box will cover hair from root to tip at a length near the shoulders, so it goes really far. If you are bleaching make sure you go for the lightest blonde for the best effects. In this you get your conditioner, gloves, instructions, peroxide, blonde powder and the dye. Mix the powder and peroxide into the bottle of dye and shake, usually you're told to start with the roots but that is just too much hassle. Literally just squirt all over your hair and rub in with the gloves until everywhere is covered. done. Leave for however long you want recommended time is 40 minutes. If your hair is black, I used 3 boxes of this each for 40 minutes each one after another in one night, my roots were white, my hair was light orange at the top and a darker ginger at the bottom. if your hair is brown expect this to be the same but a lighter ginger and for lighter colours your hair should be more blonde than ginger, maybe a little bit yellow.
Expect your hair to be dry and brittle, don't go out and buy expensive hair treatments and conditioners that "repair broken hair" I literally go out and buy the asda smart price conditioner for 24p a bottle, I lather my hair in this leave it until I've finished my bath or shower and then rinse it, after all the bleaching and dying due to doing this my hair is so soft it's as if it's never been done. Just because conditioners are more expensive does not mean they will work. If you are going to do this grab some cheapo conditioner lather it up and then put your usual one on after for a nice fragrance.
There are many brands that do semi impermanent outrageous hair colours and the main ones are manic panic, directions and stargazer. The one that I would recommend the more is manic panic, their pots are really big, can pick up for about £8 on the internet and if you have some left you can put the lid on and save it, same for directions, the pots are a lot smaller but so is the price but the colour range isn't as impressive but the pots are just £3.99. With stargazer these are in bottles so if you don't' use it all you can't save it. To get the best from these colours you will need to bleach your hair unless you are already blonde/ginger. These don't' come with gloves,if I have none around I actually use my hand because although hair dye this does come off with hand wash and a bit of a scrub. Apply the same way as everything else, slap it on your hair and just rub it in making sure everywhere is covered. Leave for as long as you want because this doesn't irritate the scalp like bleach does, I leave mine on for about half an hour and this does the job great.
When rinsing a lot of this dye will run but don't worry it's all just excess. The water will be the same colour for example hot pink, so when showering off over the bath the water is running down your face, look in the mirror you now have a pink face, no worries this comes off with hand wash, conditioner, shower gel, any of this and with a bit of a scrub. A lot when you shower and the water runs down you, you'll have streaks of what ever colour your hair is down you,I try to wash my hair separably after I've just re dyed it to stop this from happening. Also beware some times when laying on your boyfriends chest after just doing it if you haven't rinsed it properly, his chest will be the same colour! this has happened so many times to me it's funny. After a few nights you'll get this on your pillow case too but it washes straight out. Because these are semi permanent a way to make them last a lot longer is by dry shampooing your hair every few days rather than washing it normally, that way your hair isn't getting wet so it can't run.
Creating new hair dye colours:
Ever wondered how some people get their hair pastel colours or a shade you've never been able to find? here's how. In hair dyes such as manic panic and directions you can mix the colours together, just get an old bowl and put the dyes you want in and stir it around, beware you'll never be able to mix the same colour twice so make sure you make enough up at once. To get pastel hair dyes, put your desired colour into a bowl and slowly add conditioner to it and mix it around until the dye is a light enough colour. My hair is currently pastel blue and this is how I got this colour. You can go it with any shade, the conditioner makes it lighter.
Always make sure:
I hope this review has helped a lot of people get some knowledge and if there's anything else you wish to know just drop it in a message or comment and I'll add it in here. When doing any of these always make sure you have hair dying clothing/ I always do this in pj bottoms and a large oversized top, because I'm comfy in those and don't care about them being stained. Also make sure you have a towel, mums aren't best pleased when they find bit orange/red stains on black towels on bleaching hair.
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Mental health problems
For some of you long term reviewers you may remember I was a regular on the site from 2009 until summer 2011 and then I disappeared before reappearing again this spring, this is the reason why... I am currently about halfway through writing my personal memoirs. Yes, I am only in my early 20's but the last eighteen months have ... been a life changing experience for me and therefore my book that focuses on my struggle with my mental health is being written for two reasons. The primary reason is so that if anybody else ever does get the opportunity to read it and they are experiencing anything similar I hope that I may be able to provide some assurance or support through my writing. The second reason is for myself. Now I am improving I think that it is important for me to be able to remember exactly what life was like for me this time last year and by writing my book I will always have something to remind me, ensuring that I never end up in that place again.
==How did it all begin?==
I guess it all began in October 2008 when I got ill. It was a very stressful time for me and as a result of this I was desperate to get rid of the infection and never get it back again. Therefore, cleanliness was stepped up, not a level, not two levels, more like a mountain. Over the next few months it became worse and worse. I was washing my hands up to ten times an hour, more if I was preparing food or coming into contact with anything or anyone other than my personal belongings or myself. My skin began to peel off badly and my hands were very sore and cracked but as far as I was concerned, I needed to be clean. I didn't so much have the feeling that if I wasn't clean something bad would happen, more that if I didn't clean myself then I would be dirty and I would contaminate all my things and then when I was clean I would just get the bacteria back again from my belongings. If I hadn't washed my hands for ten minutes I would start to feel nervy and would have to go and wash them. Before eating I would wash my hands up to five times and I avoided eating with my hands (eg. pizza, sandwiches etc). During this time I experienced my first intrusive thoughts which concerned me. One weekend which I think was October I just kept getting the thought in my head that I was a horrible person and I had hurt someone in the past and forgotten about it, the more I worried about this and was upset by it, of course the worse it got. However, come Monday I went back to uni and getting back into my routine the thoughts weren't forgotten but were seriously reduced. I did have a few more weekends or weeks like this but nothing concerning enough for me to seek professional help.
April 2011 was when the problems really began for me. I was coming close to the end of my third year at university and although I was due to return for a fourth year to get my PGCE in primary education, the third year was the ending of my course and therefore I had lots of assignments and presentations to do and of course that is without mentioning the dissertation. I thought I was coping fairly well and we had booked to go on holiday which I was really excited about as I had worked hard before going so I was going to have four entire days off to spend having fun with my family and chilling out. However, as soon as we checked in the thoughts started. This worried me and it made it worse that I was so desperate to enjoy my holiday. As the week progressed the thoughts were constant and I was really beginning to doubt myself and worry. I did say to my partner that I was worrying, I didn't tell him what about but he just told me to enjoy our holiday. I suppose looking back I should have spoken to him about how I was feeling but I felt like such a 'weirdo' and I was very concerned so I kept quiet.
I thought that returning home would get me back to normal because I would back in my routine - busy with university, working, seeing my friends and of course my fiancé. However, the thoughts remained and were really beginning to upset me. By June I'd opened up to my sister, partner and best friend and although they all did their best to reassure me 'everyone gets silly thoughts sometimes', 'your making them worse by thinking them over and over', 'you're under a lot of stress at the moment', 'your only worried because of the fact that you know deep down you would never hurt anyone' and so on. I did appreciate having them to chat to but I was still going downhill quickly. The thoughts were constantly in my head and I was asking for reassurance from the three people I had confided in constantly.
In July I was at work and got so worried about a task I had completed I insisted on taking it home, telling myself I would have to ask my mum to help. When I got back she'd gone out so I sat and waited, sobbing and worrying. I knew she would be supportive and try to help but what if she was angry I'd told other people before her? Even my sister knew and hadn't mentioned it to her (only because I'd begged her not to). I also think that nobody actually understood how bad it was. After eventually admitting to my mum I had a problem things got worse over the following couple of weeks to the point where I wouldn't see my best friend, I wouldn't use my laptop, I wouldn't go out the house, I just led on the sofa all day with my duvet.
I first sought help at the end of July 2011. I was sceptical about seeking help because I didn't want it to be on my medical records, I wanted to try and fight it myself or I knew it could affect the rest of my life. Thinking back about this it actually makes me laugh a little because I obviously had no idea what I was really like. I had a half an hour appointment booked with a GP at my surgery which I thought was a bit ridiculous - I didn't need half an hour. I made my mum write down all of my concerns to read out because there was no way I could speak to the doctor, what if I said something that wasn't true and it made me out to be a criminal? I'd get sent to prison... The doctor prescribed me some low dosage anxiety drugs which my auntie also takes, this calmed me a bit just by having them as my auntie has been very successful and has even been head of subject at a large secondary school.
However, things didn't seem to get any better. Instead they got worse. I began seeing my GP once a week and did see a psychologist but only once because I found that the session wasn't beneficial for me and I felt that he was expecting too much from me. My GP had also told me that there was no way I could return back to university as I wouldn't have been able to do the course and she said that trying and failing would be more damaging to me than just leaving it for one year. She wrote to the university explaining the circumstances and asked if it was possible for me to defer a year. At this point in time I wasn't interested in doing it later but as she and my mum pointed out, if the option was there then I would always have it if I wanted to return. Despite her letter, they never replied so I assume that meant that no, they didn't want me back.
I had my first appointment at the mental health hospital near my home in September. My GP had referred me to the psychiatrist there which I was very concerned about because I'd only ever really come across mental health in the media and people who saw psychiatrists were often portrayed as very ill and often also in a negative light. I was extremely nervous; my mum came with me as she had with every other appointment I had been to. I couldn't speak to the psychiatrist myself and instead my mum spoke to her with me occasionally putting a few details in. The doctor then went to confer with the consultant about my case. She was gone ages and I remember saying to my mum that they were going to keep me there, I was going to be sectioned and we should have stayed at home. She told me not to be silly but later she did admit that she too was feeling a bit nervy when she was gone for so long.
The psychiatrist referred me to the clinical psychology section of the hospital and I had my first appointment in October. I was sceptical about this because of my session previously with a psychologist. My initial two appointments were with a clinical psychologist and a trainee and after that I was to be seen just by the trainee. This made me even more sceptical thinking that nobody was going to be able to help me, especially not a trainee (I'm not really a horrid person, honest!) By this point I had been officially diagnosed by the psychologists, my GP and the psychiatrist who concluded that I was suffering with generalised anxiety order with obsessive tendencies and depression. I saw my psychologist every fortnight to begin with and then weekly. By January I was able to attend sessions alone though initially this was very scary for me.
Writing about my psychologist brings a tear to my eye which is absolutely silly I know but I'm so grateful to him, he turned my life around and he helped me change back into the person I was previously. As he was a trainee he left in April 2012 as it was the end of his placement and I was worried about this but he helped to give me the confidence to think that actually, yes I could continue my recovery on my own and I would succeed at this.
After he left, my psychiatrist also decided now was the time for me to go it alone and then when I saw my GP she too said that I could probably be on my own now. Since then, I have seen my GP a few times because I now know the telltale signs of when I need some help. It sounds silly but just going to check in with her helps me get myself back on track as my medication has remained the same since late last year.
Since April, I have started up my own eBay business, began a psychology degree with the Open University and got a kitten - three things that this time last year would have been out of the question. I am now able to go to the supermarket, drive places alone and see friends, all of which again would not have been possible previously. I'm not out of the woods so to speak, not yet but I am certainly getting there and I am proud of what I have achieved. Without my psychologist and my lovely GP I dread to think where I would be now and I am so grateful to them that words cannot describe it.
==What influence has GAD and Depression had on my life?==
My life has changed a lot. Currently I am very much more like the original me than I was this time last year but to be entirely honest with you I don't think this is an illness that you can ever completely overcome. Don't get me wrong, of course you can vastly improve and live a normal life but I think there will always be a constant reminder of where you've been and how it felt.
I can safely say that becoming ill did completely mess up my life - I was unable to return to university and therefore my dream career is not longer a reality but a distant dream, because I suffered with social anxiety I didn't contact any of my friends for almost a year (with exception to my best friend) so now I feel like a bit of a loner, I had to give up work because I was signed off sick so my partner has had to work 80 hour weeks just to pay the rent. And now, because of me being unemployed for the last year, nobody will even see me for interview despite me more than qualified for the positions applied for.
However, I am lucky to be able to recognise that I can make this a positive aspect to my life if I try. My illness has changed my outlook on life. I am now dreaming of a career in psychology, something which I hope to achieve over the next few years. I feel that now I am also much more understanding of others. I have a close relative who suffers with bipolar disorder and our relationship broke down over the last few years because I just didn't understand them. Although we are not best friends again now, I am a little more understanding of them and less judgemental.
I have good weeks and bad weeks. A few weeks ago I was feeling exceptionally dire so I knew it was time to return to my GP. I did this and after this session and a follow up one I was ready to go on my own again. Having this knowledge of myself and my emotions allows me to know when things are going downhill and to do something about it. By doing this it helps to prevent further problems for myself.
However, despite seeing the potential positives this has had on my life, there are of course, negatives. I am very worried about the future and I am still unsure if I will ever feel in a stable enough mindset to have children which is devastating for me because a family is all I've ever wanted. I also worry a lot about when my life comes to an end and what will happen to me. I also worry about those around me who have died. I am very sensitive now and find myself crying most days just 'because'. I haven't had more than five hours sleep in months so I am constantly very tired. I find that I often see the negatives before the positives, for example with my new degree instead of instantly thinking wow I'm going to have my dream career, before this comes the expense that I cannot afford and the time it will take to get there. I am also extremely scared of relapsing in the future.
==If you are worried about yourself or someone else==
From experience, here are a few ideas that can help people to recognise early signs of mental health illnesses, by thinking about these questions and noticing how you really feel, it could help somebody get help more quickly than I did:
1). Have you noticed that you feel more anxious/sad recently?
2). Do you cry for no reason?
3). Do you wonder why you are here?
4). Has your sleeping pattern changed?
5). Has your appetite lessened or increased?
6). Has your personal care regime changed?
7). Are you feeling less like yourself?
8). Do you have mood swings?
9). Do you have up days and then down days?
10). Are you splurging money?
11). Are you drinking a lot?
12). Are you trying to keep as busy as possible 'to forget'?
13). Have your friends and family noticed any changes in you?
14). Do you find yourself thinking things over and over?
15). Is your concentration lacking?
These are just a few questions that I have put together and are not a professional test; they are just things that I have experienced and therefore now recognise they were linked to my problems. Of course some of these are likely to occur at some point in everyones lives but if you notice them causing problems or all coming together it could be worth seeking some advice. If If you are at all worried about yourself or someone close to you then please see your GP who can advise you further.
Here are a few tips I have picked up over the past year to help me to calm myself, ground myself and stay in control:
1). When feeling anxious, take a deep breath in and then let it out in four smaller breaths, slowly and calmly.
2). Shut your eyes and count to 10.
3). Have a drink of water.
4). Apply hand or foot cream (this gives a soothing and relaxing feel).
5). Have a bath.
6). Read a book.
7). If worried about a task, put it down and come back to it later.
8). Write lists.
1). Write a list of everything you have achieved and stick it on the fridge, seeing this every day will help to remind you exactly what you have to be proud of.
2). Keep a diary. Even if you don't want to talk to someone, writing a diary allows you to get your feelings and concerns out, you are then likely to feel calmer.
3). Rate your days out of 10 or even 100, this way you can notice any gradual changes which allow you to seek help if needed.
4). Do not isolate yourself, this will make things worse.
5). Keep active. Exercise releases endorphins which help keep your serotonin levels stable.
6). Eat plenty of foods which will help your brain chemical levels - eggs, green veg, low fat dairy, chicken and berries.
These are just my own personal tips from my experience, they are not medical advice so I do urge you to seek medical help if you are feeling as though you are suffering with a mental illness.
==A few facts==
* 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
* Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
* Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men
* About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time
* Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
* Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
* Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
* Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder
(Mental Health Foundation)
==Help and support==
There are a number of charities which are always on hand to talk and provide support for anyone suffering from mental health problems or friends and families of sufferers. Here are just a few:
Mental Health Foundation:
0300 123 3393
If you're not asleep by now (I'm sorry it's so long, I tried to make it as short as I could without missing any important bits out!), thank you for reading my story. Mental illness is a difficult thing to come to terms with and social stigma is still rife in our country despite it being 2012. If you do experience mental health problems it is essential to remember that there is help and support to get you through hard times. And if any of you do want to talk about any concerns you may have or experiences then please do contact me, I'm not at all trained in any way to provide advice or support but I can listen with an understanding ear.
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