Mental Health Awareness Week

Yeah I’m a little late on mental health awareness week, however I felt it apt to write a little about it. Being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in 2012, and depression and anxiety a little earlier than that. I remember the impact this had on my life at the time. I had just started working that summer between my second and third year at University. I took a job in a bar, which meant staying up very late, something I wasn’t used to. I’d also just started taking medication that made me sleepy.

The moral of the story was that after two weeks of practically not sleeping, I was fired for “lack of concentration” and “an inability to count”. Now, based on the fact that I was studying Biology at one of the best Universities in the country, I gathered that I definitely could count. I then decided to take up a job as an activities leader for a language school. After working 6 days a week for 12 hours a day, mainly doing physical activities, I was exhausted.

This lead to my first ever period of mania. I’m not going to lie this was pretty scary. I remembering begging my mum not to take me to the doctor, and that it would just get better on its own. I remember the drugs that they gave me, which made me throw up. I remember packing a bag and walking miles. But it got better. It got a lot better. It took me a long time to rebuild myself. I went back to University, and I finished my course. I may not have done “well”, in the sense that I didn’t get a 2i, but I finished. I finished the god damn thing. To me that is an achievement. I did it. Sometimes I wish I could go back and retake my final year, and that this would mean I could get a better job, or that I could then carry on and do a masters. But then I think about the amount of money that it would cost, and that I would have to move again. I also think maybe the stress of it would cause my health to decline again.

However, this post isn’t about the past. Its about now. Its about the things that I’ve managed to do despite my mental health condition. Its about the people that support me and the things I’ve managed to do. I’m 24 next week. My main achievements are :

x Moving out of home.

x Relocating to London

x Starting Roller Derby

x Managing to keep a job

x Looking after myself

What i’m trying to get at is that it does get better. There was a time where I thought I was going to be miserable forever. So this is a thank you. To the people that are there for me when I get anxious, the ones that give me hugs when I get down. The people that understand that sometimes I may act funny or weird, but just love me regardless. Take the support that’s offered. It may seem like a waster of time, or that its just mushy feeling mumbo-jumbo. But out of the hour you sit there listening to someone, who “just doesn’t get you”. There will be one thing that they say, one small tiny thing that hits home. That may be enough to make you smile just for that moment. Or it may make you feel different about a situation only slightly.

I know this is going to look like a “look at me post “, but I don’t care. I want to show that mental health conditions are treatable. I want to show that with the right support and sometimes medication that its possible to do the things you want. Its also a message of solidarity to everyone that is struggling, and everyone that feels alone. I also want to show that it doesn’t mater if you have a bad day, it doesn’t matter if you cant leave the house today. You have to measure success in what feels right for you. Achievement is a personal thing.

Take care of yourself.

 

 

 

 

Own your own feelings.

How many times do you hear, “Someone made me angry”, “Someone made me upset”. I feel there is some what of an emphasis on other people causing us to feel things, rather than owning how we feel. Where is the line between blaming everything on everyone else, so that we don’t have to take any responsibility for our own actions, and how they affect our mood. As someone who has a great deal of difficulty in over thinking absolutely everything, I find it hard to work out what situations I’ve made up in my head. As opposed to what is actually going on in the present. In my mind I’ve had ten billion different conversations about the same topic, with multiple different outcomes. Focusing on the outcomes mostly that are negative. Creating a whirlwind of paranoia and anxiety. My mind is a complex of worst case scenarios, playing in parallel. Advice related to, “Just don’t worry about it”, or “It’ll all be fine”. Fuel the process further until it takes on a life of its own. My behavior may appear irrational, mainly because to me everything has already gone wrong ten times, before I even get to the situation that i’m worried about. I may wear my heart on my sleeve, but for me there is no other way. I can’t fake emotion, and I can’t pretend to be happy when i’m sad. My life is not a lie. And it never will be.

Ambivalent Bisexual

So recently I had someone ask me, “But don’t you shag guys now?”. Which made me realise. I’d never really experienced anyone have a problem with my bisexuality until I started dating a cis gendered man. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t walk around with a sign around my neck that says, “Also likes girls”. Sometimes however I feel like a spy. I’ve always been the one that didn’t really need to come out because everyone just assumed that I liked girls. Am I a lesbian that has infiltrated the straight world? *sarcasm* 

I missed pride this year, due to working weekends, and not wanting to use all my holidays up too soon in order to attend some of my friend’s weddings. I read a blog by a friend K who said that they felt that they were no longer an activist, and that maybe they had grown out of it. In the background of the picture that they posted was me holding a sign at my first pride march. Some how it is always the person that we are dating that defines if people think we are a certain sexuality. At that point in time I was dating women, and so everyone thought I was attracted to women, and never asked me if I liked men too. 

Maybe I’m just sad at the thought of leaving that all behind, so I stock ordered some DIVA magazines. Who am I kidding? I’m bisexual and proud, and i’m not one bit less queer than I was before I started dating a man. 

No, I’m not sorry.

Mental Health and the LGBTQ Community.

Sorry that it has been a while since my last blog. Final year is rather scary, and time has been short. It’s amazing how many times we apologize in a given time frame. Life is sometimes harder than we would like. Tasks that we do every day, can sometimes feel like just too much. It needs to be known that we all struggle at times. Different people can find a wide variety of things hard. May it be social situations, anxiety, depression, emotional extremes, or being just plain scared to leave the house. 

It is said that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem within their life time. So why don’t we talk about it more? Why are “hidden ” or “invisible” illnesses some what taboo? 

Whilst at NUS LGBT conference this year, I went to the mental health workshop that was put on for all the delegates. We talked about different scenarios that could occur within the LGBT community. We also discussed what sort of things we could do in order to sign post people to the relevant organisations and help that is available to students. (Such as the ARC and the Guild of Students). Feeling alone or isolated is so common during your time at University, and knowing the right places to go for support can help you to feel like you aren’t on your own. 

What I’m trying to get at with this blog post is that you shouldn’t feel like you need to apologize for the way that your mind, your brain works. You and you, and nobody should make you feel like you aren’t worth it, or that you need to change. We all have our kinks and quirks that make us unique. Be proud of who you are, what you do best, and how you make a difference to the people who are around you. 

Just because there is a label attached to you, doesn’t define you. It’s there to help you understand yourself, and how you work. And lastly and most importantly, be you. Because you are awesome.  

I need feminism because,

1) In this day and age women are still paid less than men. 

2) Women are still attacked for the way that they look, dress and present themselves, in aggressive and frighting ways. 

3) Gender is not as simple as Men and Women, and those who fall outside of the gender binary find themselves confronted with ignorance and abuse. 

4) When a woman has lots of sex outside of a monogamous relationship they are called a slut or a whore. When a man has lots of sex he is called lucky or a LAD. 

5) Because website like this are still out there, http://www.angryharry.com/notefeminismforstudents.htm

 

French Equal Marriage

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/02/12/breaking-news-french-national-assembly-approves-equal-marriage-bill/ 

The French National Assembly is one step closer to legalizing equal marriage. Woo. Go France. 

“Last week’s vote was 249 in favour with 97 deputies voting against. The majority of the support for the bill came from the left, with many centrist and conservative deputies from the UMP voting against making marriage equal.”

In England, the Equal Marriage bill has passed its second reading. So what can you do to help? http://www.c4em.org.uk/ Click on this website and write to your local mp, to ask for their support in the vote for Equal Marriage.