Education General

Facing your mental health issues

Finally I have started therapy again which was delayed due to covid. I have discussed in previous blogs how my journey with anxiety has affected me and what I have learnt along the way. But really the truth is when you are dealing with a mental health issue the learning never stops. You think you reach a stage of comfort and safety and life may throw you another curve ball that you then have to adapt to. It is not enough to simply view yourself as a completed work of art there is always room for more growth and lessons to learn. The NHS are quite good in the sense that you can self refer to receive therapy and this means you don’t have to go and face a doctor to explain what you are going through. They have questionnaires that are designed to measure your level of depression and anxiety. If you are unsure of what you are feeling, completing one of those may help in identifying what the problem is or how it affects you the most.

At the start of the year I had begun my journey of self reflection to admit that my recently relapse with weed had affected me more than I cared to admit at the time. You can read about this experience in one of my previous blog posts. I had recognised that my behaviour as changed and now was the time to implement a fail safe measure. Let’s call this stage 2 in self care. (I will explain the stages below)

Over the years of suffering with anxiety I have developed a warming system let’s call it. To use as an indicator of my mental health, a quick way to self diagnose what level of support or intervention I need at that particular time. And to jot it down would look something like this:

Stage 1: Day to day anxiety or a particular situation

This would usually be in the form of a bad day or maybe doing something that triggers my anxiety. When I begin to feel anxious I know I have a toolbox of mechanisms that I can use at that time to minimise my anxiety and my reaction towards it. This includes:

⁃ Breathing exercises

⁃ Meditation

⁃ Listening to music

⁃ Singing out loud (this typically will take me around 3 songs to begin to feel more relaxed)

⁃ Going to sleep

⁃ Discussing my feelings with someone close to me

Stage 2: The point when I notice that my behaviour has/is changing in general

This could include avoiding a specific task or activity, becoming more withdrawn with people close to me or suffering with multiple reoccurring periods of anxiety on a regular basis. I like to think of stage 2 as a stage of growth and being proactive.

⁃ Discuss my feelings and/or behaviour with close friends of family

⁃ Reassess any life changes or events that is contributing towards this change in behaviour

⁃ Maybe seeking outside support or guidance

Stage 3- Full withdrawal and breakdown of mental clarity

I have only reached this stage a few times and if I ignore stage 1 and 2 then it will progress into a full scale withdrawal. This is categorised with withdrawal from all things I enjoy doing, spending time with people, interest in doing anything apart from sleep. This stage will begin to affect my work and may result in me calling in sick a lot or getting signed off from work. And as I said this has only happened a few times and it is not a happy place to be in. I would compare it to depression but not as bad because I still hold some control over my behaviour and hold the ability to change my reality. I feel that depression is more uncontrollable for people.

⁃ Therapy again is always beneficial and there are many forms available

⁃ Some people benefit from medication and don’t feel like you should be judged if this is the path you choose to follow

⁃ Accessing support from those who know you the most. It is often these people that can recognise some of your triggers or unhealthy behaviour

These are just some of the stages I follow for myself but these can be broken down into more stages if you feel that the decline in your mental health goes through more steps.

Mental health issues are often hard to cope with and also provide support for as it is an invisible illness. It can rob you of everything if you allow it too and sometimes you aren’t even in control until it is too late and you find yourself picking up the pieces that was your former life. Just remember though, more people have experienced some form of mental health issue over their life time and in this generation of millennials and even the generations younger than us, sooo many young people are now dealing with anxiety and depression every single day. I really do believe that prevention is better than the cure so the best advice I can give is to practice self care when you can. Exercising, eating healthy, going to bed at a reasonable time all contribute to a healthy mind. Even small things like getting out of bed and making the bed then opening your curtains can set your day down a positive pathway rather than one with a cloud over it. If you have any other tips or suggestions of how to manage or prevent mental health issues from ruining your life then drop a comment to be shared for other people.

I have included some links below that can help you to access support:,%20including%20cognitive%20behavioural%20therapy%20(CBT)/LocationSearch/10008

Tips for everyday living | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems

Tips for supporting someone with anxiety – Anxiety UK


Surviving Life – Maintaining happiness throughout the struggle

There’s no way of denying that life can be realllll shitty at times. Most people experience a form of trauma at some stage of their life. It can be very overwhelming coping with some of the stresses that life throws at us sometimes. Personally, I have had my fair few stressful situations. But the one that affected me the most was living in poverty… below the breadline.

Now let’s not jump to conclusions, I’m not talking about poverty on the level of homelessness. I’m talking about this ‘first world’ level of poverty. The type that will have you sitting on a £1500 sofa, watching a £600 TV whilst discussing potentially losing your house and how to find money for food. I was raised in a single parent household; my mother an absolute grafter, was the provider for my brother and I. Most of my childhood and early teenager years I’d say we were doing okay financially from my perspective. It was when I started to hit 16/17 that things became a struggle. Becoming aware of adult level problems and losing the innocence of your childhood can be a massive shock to the system and some people struggle with this more than others.  When you are young, you receive gifts from your parents and you know… the food is just there magically. But you don’t fully grasp the blood, sweat and tears that a lot of single mothers go through to maintain their household and to put food on the table for their children. 

This is me in the middle with the dodgy hairstyle with my siblings and my dad.

So yeah… growing up is tough. The reason why I call it first world poverty is because from an outside perspective everything seems normal. You have a may have a car … the three-bedroom terraced house and even nice clothes. But did I have food to eat within that house? A lot of the time no. Could we afford heating during the winter? lol definitely not. It became a constant battle of putting money on the electric key and the gas meter only for it to go off a few days later and we sometimes had no way of finding money to put the electric on or the heating. I’ll keep it real there was times when we had to sell things in order to get a bit of money to tide us over. This type of lifestyle will rob you of all of your dignity especially if you are a proud person. There were many times when I would have to ask if I could bathe at my friend’s house and they would also give me food to cook at home so we had something to eat. Situations like this help to form the deepest of bonds between people. So, I’m sure you can get the idea… it was tough for a while. But despite living that kind of lifestyle, I don’t look back and focus on what I didn’t have to eat and the times when I could see my breath in the air, it was so cold in my bedroom.

The luxuries and gifts stopped coming and for a good few years we didn’t exchange birthday or Christmas gifts to each other. I think my family has been lucky because we do have a close bond. So having Christmas without presents under the tree never bothered me personally. But I can imagine for my mum it was hard because parents do feel a huge responsibility to provide for the family. But this is where the deepest lessons I have learned were formed. It was never a case of what didn’t I have… always a case of how can I work harder and bring more money into my household? 

Going through tough times and situations where you feel like life is just punishing you, that is the opportunity to discover yourself. These are the situations that tests your character and allow you to confront yourself. Happiness is something that you have to create for yourself. Can you be poor and be happy, 100%. It is about learning to accept yourself as you are when everything is stripped back… no distractions. You can develop unlimited potential within yourself. Let me clarify, my point is… the times when life is pushing up on you and you feel shiiiit. This is the type of situation that allows you to dig deep and get creative. You start to discover skills you never thought you had. And when you are short of money you have to get resourceful anyway. 

Resilience is a skill that will help to get you through these tough times. Being able to bounce back from setbacks and still see the beauty in your life, that is no small task.  After many losses and sets back, I have reached a stage where I have the ability to change my perspective. I never take an L, as every situation for me is the opportunity to learn, rediscover and adapt myself to the course that life has put me on. 

Here are some helpful tasks that can help you to change your perspective: 

Create a list of positives 

If you are struggling to see the positives of a situation, sit down and get out some paper. Write down your biggest loss, did you just lose your job or maybe a bad breakup. Now create some headings such as short-term benefits and long-term benefits. Once you have completed your list, keep it! You can always refer back to it when you’re feeling low or just need a reminder to slow down and gain some perspective.  


This doesn’t work for everyone as some people are more visual than others, but if this is your type of thing, create a detailed summary of what you want your life to look like in a specific time. One of my visualisations is a full fridge, I know that may sound weird but after going through the experience of being hungry and not having money to buy food. I need to have food in my house to feel content and secure.

There are going to be times that you feel like giving up and struggle to see the light at the end of tunnel but do not give up. Everyone is entitled to a bad day, and they will come. Lets support each other and continue to Rise! 

Remember risers, We never take an L !! 

L = Loss  

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How Stephen Sutton Can Inspire Us All

Stephen Sutton really is an inspiration he raised an amazing amount of money for the teenage cancer trust. Not only did he achieve his goal but he really did inspire so many people and his achievement has demonstrated how many people can make small individual efforts to reach a common goal.

He managed to raise over 3million pound and 1 million of that was literally in a few days. This is a perfect example of how young people can unite to raise a common goal. It’s time to stop looking at your peers as competition; you know the saying strength in numbers….

We need to join together with mutual goals and create new opportunities. You should evaluate what your goals are in life and try to reach out to people who are like minded. For example you could arrange for 3 friends to chip in together to buy a van and insurance… Get a few interested clients and that is the beginning of a removal company.

There is a shortage of jobs for us so we need to create them for ourselves. We should aim to recreate the enthusiasm that his cause created. He really did appeal to the empathetic side of people’s nature. You will be surprised at how many people may share the same goals as you all you have to do is reach out… You never know where it may take you. Look at Stephen, his unfortunate circumstances lead him to start his fundraising goal but it was his strength and passion for the cause that was able to make it as successful as it is.

On that note, here’s the link to Stephen’s just giving page if you would like to donate a small amount towards his cause.