Becky Beyond Blue

Hi! Thanks for stumbling across my blog :) My name is Becky, I'm 21 and I live in Brighton, UK. I love cats, music and chocolate and I'm one of the unfortunate people to have been struck with Severe Clinical Depression and Anxiety Disorder. In this blog I write about my common struggles of coping with this illness and what I'm attempting to do to recover. If you read my posts you'll gain an insight into living with Depression and maybe find some advice on how to cope.

Thursday 26 May 2016

10 ways to cure Depression

If I was to say there was a magical instant cure for Depression, I would be lying. It unfortunately is one of those things that will take a very long time to heal. As hard as that is to come to terms with though, when you find the patience and accept that as much as it sucks, you can't fix it overnight, you can then start to take steps towards your recovery. It's not a flu where you feel like shit for around a week or so and then you're fine, you feel shit for months, even years on end. Some days are better than others but generally it is a constant struggle. 

The hardest thing I found about having Depression and Anxiety was to stop being in denial and stop feeling sorry for myself. "Why me?" "Why do I deserve to be sad all the time?" Are questions I would frequently ask myself, and at times I still do. But I am just starting to learn to come to terms with the fact: 

I DO have Depression and Anxiety, whether I like it or not, and it is NOT going away quickly.  

It's a really hard thing to come to terms with because obviously you don't want it to be true. But just like cancer or arthritis or any other chronic illness, it happens to the best of us and it is just super unlucky. 

Although this post has gone off to a fairly negative start, I am saying those things for a reason. Because after you come to terms with those things then you can begin to realise that there is no use just WAITING for it to get better. 

There might not be any 'cures' as such but there ARE ways to make things a hell of a lot easier. And a number of people have managed to make a full recovery. Whilst I congratulate them completely, those of us who are still struggling still need some ways to manage the pain.  

So rather than this being a list of ways to 'cure' depression, these are ways to make the best of a bad situation. I cannot guarantee that these will work for everyone as everyone responds to different forms of treatment differently, but these are some things that work for me: 

1. Say no to things you don't want to do 
This might not be the case for everyone with depression but definitely a significant amount from personal experience and through research, but I find it EXTREMELY hard to say no. I try to please everybody and have a crippling insecurity about standing up for myself. It's all well and good being a good friend and helping someone out but you should not do it to the point that you are neglecting your own wants and needs. And if anyone makes you feel bad about it then you need to seriously reconsider how healthy that friendship/relationship is for you. Which brings me to my next point... 

2. Remove toxic relationships 
This is one of the hardest yet MOST important points. Whether you realise it or not, there may be some people in your life, whether it be a friend, a family member or colleague, that are draining you of all your remaining energy. Not that depression, itself, doesn't drain it enough anyway! Most of the time they don't intend to, or may not realise that they are having this effect on you. But I recommend you start to analyse the relationships in your life and ask yourself a few important questions. 
-Does this person make you feel good about yourself? 
-Does this person consistently take you for granted? 
-Does this person make you predominantly happy or sad? 
If you then decide that the answer to those questions leads to questioning whether those relationships are healthy for you, I suggest you try to talk to them about it, because when you bring their attention to how you feel they might reconsider their behaviour. If not, then I suggest you ease out of that friendship and find some friends that genuinely make you feel great. Because, especially when you suffer from Depression, there is no time for people that make you feel less than amazing in your life. 

3. Do things that you LOVE to do 
Easier said than done, I know. Because Depression sucks the enjoyment out of anything you previously may have found fun or entertaining. But I honestly suggest picking up an easy and creative hobby to do, and try to do it as much as possible. Something challenging may work for some people, but if you're like me, then I find really simple tasks to be greatly rewarding. Sometimes I will feel completely unable to do anything, and that's ok. But when I can, I try to draw, write or create music. These types of activities are simple, yet give you a slight sense of achievement. When you've finished drawing a picture, even if that's all you managed to do in that day, it's a feeling of accomplishment that is easy to achieve and so rewarding.  

4. Create a 'Done' list 
To do lists can be extremely useful, for lots of people. But for the rest of us, especially people facing Depression or Anxiety, or both, find even looking at a To Do list really daunting. Seeing everything that you need to get done written down can remind you of your struggle to get them done and will add to your stress. A 'Done' list, however, is exactly what is says on the tin. It is things you have already managed to achieve that day. "Got out of bed", goes on the done list. "Ate breakfast", goes on the done list. It doesn't matter how insignificant that action may seem, for someone struggling with Depression EVERYTHING is a chore, so why not pat yourself on the back when you get them done. 

5. Make small, achievable goals 
Similar to my last point, but also very important is to make small achievable goals. By this I mean instead of saying "I need to clean the house", because that in itself may seem like a much bigger task as it has loads of components. If you break them down into bitesize chunks and slowly make your way through those tasks then it won't seem as daunting. For example "sort out what clothes to wash" is a lot more achievable than the whole task of cleaning the house. But if you do this for every component of the bigger goal then you are less likely to be overwhelmed (I will go into this in more detail on another post). 

6. Look after your health and hygiene 
I'm not trying to patronise, but let's face it, if you have Depression, sometimes it's hard to remember the simple acts of personal health and hygiene. This is, of course, totally acceptable considering the vast amount of other worries whizzing around your head, but it is one that should become a priority. I recommend setting an alarm on your phone to brush your teeth and shower and whatever else you need to do in that respect. I have alarms for everything, and I'm not ashamed of it. Sometimes I forget to brush my teeth, or shower, or take my makeup off before bed. I have alarms for all of these things so that I am literally not able to forget. And it's amazing what difference it can make to your mood when you're all smooth and squeaky clean. 

7. Take your meds! 
Not necessarily applicable for everyone suffering from Depression, but if you have been prescribed anti-depressants, it is SO important to take them everyday, at the same time. They are extremely strong drugs and not to be tampered with. I am currently on 200mg Sertraline and I know even the slight change in my medication taking routine can have such a huge effect. If you feel they are not working for you, PLEASE do not stop taking them suddenly. This can make you more depressed than you were before and it is so dangerous. Please talk to your doctor to slowly wean off them.  

8. Go outside 
Maybe it's a walk in the park, maybe you go into town, maybe you walk to the corner shop, or around your block, or even just sit in your garden. But I highly recommend that you leave the house at least once a day. I know it may seem difficult, but only do as much as you're capable of. Not only will you get some fresh air, you will get some Vitamin D and potentially some exercise. It will also make you feel as if you have done something with your day, even if you only make it to your garden. 

9. Try to eat healthily 
Now I know what you're thinking "eat well and exercise, same old". I know that you know that. And I also know how extremely hard that can be for someone with depression. "How am I supposed to exercise and eat well if I can't get out of bed and I have no appetite or motivation to cook?" you might be asking yourself. I know eating fruit and salad is the last thing that you want when you feel like shit, but it has been scientifically proven that junk food makes you feel worse. What I recommend is to at least take a multivitamin everyday. I do this so just in case I don't eat particularly well, or anything at all, that my body is still getting the nutrients it needs to function well.  

10. Treat yourself with some 'me time'
You are a warrior for battling a crippling mental illness everyday, and I think that deserves a reward. Have a bubble bath, watch movies, buy yourself something nice. Whatever it is that makes you feel even that tiniest bit better, make sure you are treating yourself on a fairly regular basis as life's too short and you deserve it. You rock.

 There are many therapeutic ways to make battling depression easier to manage, but these, I find, are some of the most important in my steps towards recovery.

I'd love to hear your methods of dealing with Depression so add a comment or drop me a message :) 

 Peace x

Friday 20 May 2016

Staying in control

I think the fundamental thing about dealing with depression or any sort of mental health problem is the inability to remain in control of your life. 

Lack of control is what makes it so difficult to bring yourself out. For instance, if I were to put off my own wants and needs for the benefit of others, I would be handing my control over to them, to some extent. Every now and then, this is perfectly fine, but there has to be a balance

When you are doing this to the point that you are not making any decisions towards your own path, you have ultimately lost all control of your life. And the more you lose control, the harder it is to get yourself back on the right path, YOUR path. You can't light yourself on fire just to keep everyone else warm. You absolutely have to save at least a little of yourself, for yourself.  

I, like many people, find it impossible to say no. If this is you, you're always putting other people in front of your own needs. And I'm not criticising you! I think it makes you a beautiful, caring person to be able to do that. But at the same time it makes you completely vulnerable and a target. It's just one of the messed up ways of the world. The nicer you are, the more shit you get. Awesome, isn't it? No wonder so many people choose to be assholes

Although it wasn't exactly my choice to take a step back, during my last major depressive episode I essentially cut everything and everyone out of my life. At the time my reasons were purely because I was pretty much in a catatonic state and needed to in order to begin to see clearly again. I wasn't thinking straight and just wanted everything to go away because my head was overflowing. As much as this time was terrible for me, I am almost grateful for it happening. This is because it helped me to essentially strip my life back to the basics and re-build my foundations. Have a read of my story, one of my other blog posts, if you're interested in reading more about this.

I am still pretty much in this process now, and am proud of how far I've come. But one of the main things I have learnt is that you don't have to please and be friends with everybody all of the time. Easier said than done, because when you're caught up in it, it's almost impossible to see what's doing you good and what's having the opposite effect. I am grateful for having this time to really think about what was bringing joy to my life and what wasn't.  

At the moment, I am only spending time on things that make me even that tiniest bit happier. Because I don't have time for things that don't. Obviously I'm not including the usual boring crap everyone has to deal with like bills and work (unless you love what you do) and yada yada. I'm talking everything outside of those responsibilities. I'm talking about relationships mainly. Because relationships are what you deal with every single day. People, conversations, interactions, friendships, colleagues. The main thing is to not let any of those take the wheel on your life.  

 You should be the most important person in your life. If you lose sight of that, that's when you get problems. It's ok to be selfish sometimes. You NEED to be and you totally deserve to be. So go on, treat yourself. Life's too short.

I've written a more detailed post on making the most of today if you're interested to read more and I'd love to hear your stories about trying to regain control of your lives as I know it's a steep uphill climb and you're not alone!

Feel free to drop me a message or a comment :) 

Peace x

Thursday 12 May 2016

Make the present, pleasant

You know when people might say a piece of advice over and over but it just won't stick until YOU realise it yourself? 

The way you can tell an alcoholic over and over to stop drinking but they won't until it is THEIR decision to, not yours (I have personal experience with this, and found out the hard way time and time again). 

Well I had a moment of sudden realisation myself recently. People have told me over and over that I think ahead too much or worry about the past, I need to just make the most of today. It's one of those things that people can tell me until they turn blue but until I, myself, make that discovery and decision to change my mental behaviour, it won't stick. 

I might have the facts engrained in my head but it will just be there as knowledge, stuff I know will make me feel better but it stays purely as information and is not put into action. 

It's almost similar to the way you KNOW that you should exercise and eat healthily, but until YOU decide that it's going to start happening, then it will just stay as bits of information inside your head. And if you're like me, you probably have a lot of things like that. From searching for endless amounts of time for a cure to treat this illness, and you'll know that if you get a regular sleep cycle and don't use screens before bed, eat healthily and exercise, draw, listen to music, spend time with positive people, get more sun, go for a walk, write your thoughts down, do a gratitude journal etc etc. (I could go on for days) that it will ease your symptoms so much. But, especially for someone with Depression:

a) it's not easy to process that much information when your head is so crowded

b) at the end of the day, you are depressed, it's not that simple to just be like "OK, today's the day I'm going to get better" because you know there's no guarantee of that for one and also if you can't sleep and forget to eat how the hell are you supposed to get all those other supposed cures achieved as well?

Anywho, I had this sudden realisation where parts of that information I'd been storing for years finally fell into place. Make the present, pleasant. I'm so sick of being sad. And because of this, I plan out my future to be as good as possible because I'm trying to hold on to the hope that it WILL get better, and the future will be bright. But if I carry on just WAITING for the future to happen, it will never turn out how I hoped. 

Unless I try my best to focus on today. By taking things bit by bit. Not thinking too much about the consequences (obviously easier said than done with the constant crippling anxiety lurking on your shoulder). I just want to have fun again. I want to be ridiculous and make stupid decisions and LIVE MY LIFE. Because I have wasted far too long being miserable. 

My Dad always told me "PMA, that's all you need" (Positive Mental Attitude). Yeah, cheers for that, if I had a positive mental attitude then I wouldn't be depressed! It's not a button that you can just switch on and off when you feel like it. You don't have any control, it can hit you at any time, like a storm. However, you CAN try and get a slight grip on it enough to function. 

The way I see it is, if you had a broken leg, you COULD just sit at home and wait for it to heal. OR you could get some crutches or a wheelchair and try to make the most of the situation, no matter how painful it is. Do things you enjoy. Spend time with people you love. Travel. Try something new. Live. Some days will be better than others. Some days you mentally and physically won't be able to do it, but that's ok. It's OK. When you need to do nothing, do nothing. But when you feel able to, do things that you LOVE to do, because life's too short to do things that make you feel like crap. Say no to things you don't want to do, quit the job that's making you even more miserable, stop hanging out with the people that don't bring something positive to your life. Live.

It took me to reach a point of rock bottom a few months ago before coming into this realisation. I've been in extremely bad states, but this topped it by miles. I was suicidal, I was catatonic. I couldn't talk. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't move.  I was completely and utterly numb, but at the same time feeling as if I was whirling around in a never ending tornado. I wasn't dead, but I wasn't alive either. 

Since then it's been one of the slowest and most painful recoveries I have ever had to do. By recovery I mean getting myself back up to the level where I can function. By no means am I cured, far from it, but it has pushed me to make some major changes to my life. 

Because I was in such a terrible state I couldn't handle contact with anybody, I shut the world out completely. All of my friends, family and everything. Even Adam (my boyfriend) had to fight to get let back in to a certain extent. For a good two months I hadn't had any contact with anyone other than Adam and I am so grateful for his support. I went back on medication after having a break for a while and I went through a ridiculous process in the NHS's mental health sector to realise they couldn't offer me what I needed, forcing me to go private. I dropped out of uni and moved out of my shared student accommodation, which I was sharing with my best friend at the time. 

And even though it was only a consequence of me doing this, I realised she was a toxic friend to me. Not necessarily on purpose, but she was draining me of all my remaining energy so that I didn't have any left to care for myself. She was making me feel extremely guilty for 'abandoning her' when in reality I was on the verge of suicide, which she knew, just didn't understand. Therefore this situation has resulted in me cutting contact with her. 

It has shown me again who my true friends are, and dropping out of uni and stripping my life back down to the basics has really given me time to re-evaluate my life and sort my priorities out. Right now, my priority is me. And I'm going to take things one day at a time.

Feel free to drop me a message or comment :)

Peace x

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Support systems and dysfunctional families

Having a solid support system is one of the most important things, in my opinion, for coping with a debilitating mental illness, or any illness or difficulty for that matter. For most of us it is extremely hard to trust people, and putting your trust in the wrong people can have such a negative effect, like I found out the hard way, time and time again. This doesn't, however, mean that no one can be trusted, because if I didn't learn to trust the people that I do now then I would be in so much of a worse state. Firstly, not to go off on a soppy love rant, but I honestly don't think I would still be alive if it weren't for the support of my amazing boyfriend, Adam. I know that so many people suffering with mental health aren't as lucky to find someone so special, and I completely appreciate that. All I can say to those people is that I really hope you can find someone like that soon.

Summer sun park fun (and random cute dog)

Adam has consistently kept me grounded from the day we became friends, picking me up from rock bottom over and over. He is so patient with my constant mood swings and change in attitudes and is so understanding of all my struggles. I like to think I also do the same for him, as he has suffered with severe social anxiety and mild to moderate depression in the past. I like to think we are a solid support system for each other. Adam has taught me that it is possible to love someone unconditionally. He accepts me for me completely, with all my flaws, and gives me the strength to keep trying, even in the darkest of times. We have been together for roughly 5 years, give or take, and still going strong. 

Having a jam with weird instruments in Morocco last month (I change my hair colour a lot)
On our way to a gig (or something) a couple years ago

Seeing as family, for me, haven't been the most reliable support system, I have found a beautiful family within my f**ked up little friendship group. We're all a bit damaged, but at the same time we accept each other for all our little quirks. You've probably heard from a number of different people that you need to stick with your true friends, who are usually a small group of 2 or 3. Our group, however, has nearly 20 people who I can be myself around. Yes, some more than others, and some I might feel I can trust more than others, but more or less I have had an absence of supportive parents, and instead gained a solid family of 20. We like to think we have something special. It's a bit of an odd bond where it's genuine love that we feel towards each other. Obviously not the kind of love I have for Adam, but really powerful family-type love. There have been a number of times where I feel the world has turned against me so I shut everything out, and EVERY SINGLE TIME the majority of these people don't make me feel like sh*t for ignoring them. Instead, regardless of whether I make contact with them or not for weeks, or months, will consistently try to make sure that I'm ok and express their fondness of me and how much they are there for me. I know that whatever sh*t situation I find myself in, each one of them would go the extra mile for me. If that's not family, I don't know what is.

I'd love to hear about your support systems too so pop me a comment or a private message, even if you just want someone to talk to about this!

Peace x

Monday 9 May 2016

Housing crisis and finding a job suitable for sad people

I'm currently stuck in a situation where I can't afford to live by myself and I can't cope living with other people. I need a space to myself where I can go to escape the world and recover when I need to. A space where I don't have to put any effort in whatsoever with anyone and I can just do what I want without any judgement. I've had so much trouble in the past sharing houses with people. It doesn't matter how much I might get on with them, it completely changes the dynamics in any relationship when you share a space 24/7. It makes it 10x worse when you are suffering with something like Depression or Anxiety, or both. People like me NEED time to theirselves. Everybody does. Where they can be themselves and not need to make any effort. Yes, you will have your own room but there's always the fact that any of your housemates can knock at any point asking for something, or even just barge straight in wanting to talk or borrow something. And when you are not in the state to see anyone, it's not the best situation to be in. Even if you tell them not to disturb you for the day and make up an excuse like "I have to get so much work done." or "I'm revising." or "I'm not feeling well." Whatever your excuse might be there will always be some point in the day when you are forced to interact with people whether you want to or not. After all, you share a bathroom with them most likely, and a living space and a kitchen. You don't have control over whether they have friends round, how noisy they're being or whatever. I want somewhere where on my bad days I can comfortably go for a piss or grab something to eat or slob out in front of the TV without being terrified of bumping into someone and having to force a conversation when I'm really not in the state to. 

If you're like me, you'll love spending time with people, but when YOU choose to. I need time to prepare myself before a social encounter, it's a lot of effort for me. So when I'm not in the mood, I can seem like a grumpy, boring, antisocial d*ck. I don't purposely try and be rude or blunt but when I'm forced into a social situation I'm not prepared for, it may to some people come across that way. And like, for f*** sake I'm having a sh*tter of a day where I'm in a constant battle with my own negative thoughts and I just want to go for a f***ing p*ss! (Excuse the profanity) But instead it causes tension and people take it personally and they start talking behind your back and I've been told on a number of times by my previous good friend that "I know you're depressed and everything but you're bringing the mood of the house down and creating a really stale atmosphere and it's effecting other people."..... REALLY? So instead I'm starving and desperately trying to hold my wee in whilst I've shut myself away in my room in fear of "my current state of mind effecting other people." Am I not allowed to live in my own house? I don't ignore anyone, I don't snap at anyone, I just might not be as engaged and not giving super optimistic and bubbly responses to questions when I'm in that state. And the thing that i believe is the hardest thing for most people to understand about this condition is that I don't CHOOSE to be this way. If I could be super happy chatty fun bubbly Becky 24/7 then of course I would. But I CAN'T. And I HATE it. I don't want to make anyone else feel sh*t. I want to have fun and be happy just like everyone else in this world. But give me some time to prepare and get ready and I'll be the outgoing fun person that most people know me as (that don't really know me or know that most of the time I'm a sloppy useless mess). 

I want to be able to live in a place by myself so I can do what I want and be how I need to be and then choose to go out and be sociable when I want to and feel able to, not when I'm forced to. And have a place to escape to afterwards when I've had enough. This is when the time I do spend with people is most worthwhile and people enjoy being around me. I don't want anyone to see me when I'm in a bad state because I'm ashamed that I can't change it and it makes me feel worse. I hate it when people feel sorry for me and I hate it even more when people make me feel guilty for being in this state. If people could just understand that EVERY SINGLE DAY all I ever try to do is find ways to get rid of this fucking curse. This great big black cloud that constantly hangs above my head that just won't shift whatever I seem to try. When I am around people, I just want to have fun. Something that feels impossible most days.

The problem is though, in order to live in a place where I can be comfortable, I need money. I need the kind of money that I am not stable enough to earn right now. I'm really lucky to be financially supported by my Dad but I feel so incompetent and like a waste of space that at 21 I'm still being fully supported by my parents. It might seem on the outside that I'm just spoilt and can't be bothered to find a job. When that is not the case in the slightest. I would love to have a job and feel normal. But most of the time I'm too scared to leave my house even if it's to do something fun. I am disabled. Not the kind of disabled that most people would associate with being in a wheelchair, but the kind of disabled that's invisible. I have no physical evidence that I am unable to work, but I'm not. I'm not even able to walk 2 minutes to the shop to buy some comfort food most of the time because I don't want to interact with anybody. Even if it is a 30 second interaction while I pay for my f***ing chocolate. 

Another huge issue is that every one bedroom flat that I've looked at which seems to be fairly good value, they have a no pets policy, no DSS (benefits) and you have to show proof that you are in full time employment OR it's students only. I want a cat, I am looking into disability benefits, and I am not stable enough to hold down a part-time job, let alone a full time job and I would still be a student if it wasn't for this f***ing illness. It's bullsh*t

I've been trying to find a job that I would be comfortable doing in order to take the pressure off my Dad having to still fully support me financially. I want more than anything to be independent and earn my own money. Ideally I want to be stable enough to go back to uni and complete my Degree, maybe going on to do a Masters or studying at a music college in Amsterdam. However, I know for a fact that that's not going to happen for a long time now. I really need to focus on getting myself up to a stable level of life competence before I can even think about doing that. I want to graduate uni with a 1st. But that has to be postponed until I can get my life together enough to remember to even get out of bed every day and eat. And more importantly find things to keep myself busy so I don't spiral down into a pit of negative thoughts, unable to pull myself out and thinking the only way to get out of that situation is to off myself. 

I've been looking into being a house sitter, dog sitter and dog walker. Because this just sounds like the perfect job for me right now. It can be fairly decent pay, there's no tax involved, I can work the hours that I choose to work, there's hardly any social interaction involved, the work isn't that difficult and I get to spend time with lots of lovely animals. This is especially good if I end up moving soon into a place with a no pets policy, which is practically all of them. There's a website I came across called Tailster which is an agency to pair people who offer services such as dog walking and dog sitting and other related animal services with clients. It's even got a cool app feature where you can track your dog walks and and take pictures of the dog which the owner can see. Pretty cute.

I've also spent loads of time applying to online jobs such as transcription work and reviewing websites. These are good because it's stuff I can do in my PJs, and can accept as many or as little jobs as I want. Not a huge amount of pay, definitely not enough to earn a living, but it's still money, and gives my days a bit more purpose right now.

Really sorry for the negative rant, just needed to get it out of my system.

I would love to hear if anyone else is facing similar difficulties or has done in the past, or has any advice they'd like to share! Feel free to pop me a comment down below :)

Peace x

Sunday 8 May 2016

My Story


My name's Becky. I'm 21 years old and I live in Brighton, UK. I've been considering starting up a blog for the last couple of years and decided today's the day! My story is pretty complicated so bare with me while I'm trying to explain the basics!

My parents have been divorced since I was around 10 years old and I have lived with an alcoholic mother. My Dad has always worked abroad so has pretty much been absent, although supporting me financially. I went to an all girls boarding school for secondary school which I pretty much hated, but recently found out from my Dad that I was only there because he wanted me to be away from my mother's drinking habits as much as possible. I've always been a fairly academic student but decided, as I much better relate to and get on with boys, that I wanted to move to the state school down the road where lots of my friends were. My Dad was really hesitant so made a compromise and let let me go to a nearby mixed private school. I also hated this school but at least I was able to have male school friends. I was so persistent on my Dad allowing me to give up boarding and he eventually obliged, leaving me with living with my alcoholic mum. She was a nurse and was constantly working nights so would hardly ever be there, and when she was, she would be drinking and leaving me to pick up all of the pieces. 

When I was 15 I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and severe generalised anxiety disorder. I was put on anti-depressants. This was mainly due to the fact I had a very traumatic sexual experience when I went on holiday in Turkey with my Dad, stepmother and stepbrother. My GCSE years at school I was in one of the most fragile states of my life with a huge mix up from my experience abroad that got spread around through rumours at school to make me look like the bad guy. I was too weak to fight back, so ended up getting bullied because of what people thought of me. I didn't attend school for quite some time as i was too unstable. Eventually, I forced myself to go back, keep my head down, and get through my exams. By some miracle I ended up getting fairly decent results, not as well as I hoped seeing as I am an A student, but hey ho. 

Going to college was great for me as I didn't go to a private 6th form and was able to go to a state college with all of my real friends. It was a fresh start for me and I was surrounded by people who knew me for me and not any stupid rumours that spread in secondary school like wildfire. However, I was still living with my Mum who was consistently making me pick her up off the floor with her drinking habits. I couldn't cope and about two thirds of my way through college I had a huge breakdown and had to drop out. I was self-harming and in a pretty much catatonic state. After a few months away from college my Mum felt guilty for being one of the main causes for my breakdown and got me an opportunity to work as a Production Assistant on a reality TV show in LA (Her best friends', daughters boyfriend worked there). And considering it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I could really do with the time away from my Mum and home life, I decided that i'd go. Two weeks later I was on an 11 hour flight to LA.

When I got there I met with my mum's best friend's daughter, Dora, who immediately made an effort to make me feel unwelcome. I have always disliked my mums best friend as she was an enabler. She also had an impression of me that I was a druggie, college drop out teenager. Ok so yes, I smoked weed, and yes, I dropped out of college. But I was in no way the stereotype that that judgement suggests. But she made sure her daughter and boyfriend thought that of me.  Being in LA was good, I had a lot of time by myself to reflect, and went on jogs beside the LA river in the gorgeous weather on days where I wasn't working. On days I was working, I was really busy and in a great environment where I made some really good friends with my colleagues and got an insight into the Hollywood TV industry which was CRAZY. The time I was at Dora's house though, her and her boyfriend were so rude and judgemental and cold towards me which made me leave LA at the end wanting to cut contact with them as well as my mums best friend. 

Me in LA with a few of my colleagues :)

I was so glad to be back with my friends and the guy I was seeing at the time (who, going strong for 5 years, is still my boyfriend and complete support system). I actually applied to return to college on special circumstances and made it through with two Distinctions and a B. Although I hadn't been able to plan further than that, so made an impromptu decision to go to Brighton Film School seeing as Adam, my boyfriend, chose to move there for uni, and I was accepted unconditionally. 

Again, it was a fresh start from me. It meant I could move away from my home town and be completely independent without worrying about being my mum's carer. It also meant I could be in an exciting new town, meet new people, be at a new school (uni) and just start again, to some extent. I've now been in Brighton for nearly 3 years. It's also had it's ups and downs and I'm now in the position where, having another huge suicidal mental breakdown a few months ago, am hiding from the world, on a really high dose of anti-depressants, seeing a therapist twice a week and the majority of the time too scared to leave the house. It's a constant daily struggle to keep my shit together enough to even remember to eat and sleep. Since September, I have had to drop out of university, as I just can't deal with having to write a dissertation in this state. I was attaining Distinctions at Uni and doing so well academically, and being a perfectionist I feel so humiliated and angry at myself for being in this state. I know it's not my fault, it's this stupid debilitating illness, but it just fucking sucks.

I want to be able to at least feel confident enough to hold down a part-time job to get some structure back in my life but I just can't. Instead I'm constantly trying to find therapeutic ways to get my life back on track. I have so many goals and ambitions and it is beyond frustrating trying to even begin to move towards them. So I spend most of my days at home, trying to work out what to do with myself, most of the time just trying to find ways to waste time before going back to bed. 

I love making music. It is something that I just have never had the time to sit down and work on. So this is what I have been trying to do. To channel my thoughts, feelings and emotions into a creative piece of work without having to speak. Like art. I now have the time to do that. Yes, it is still extremely difficult to find the motivation, but every now and then, i'll get a sudden burst of inspiration and create something I am proud of. It is a way of changing my perfectionist thinking patterns because I don't have to present my work, I don't have any deadlines, I don't have anyone breathing down my neck telling me to do things a certain way or that I'm doing it wrong. It completely takes the pressure away and lets me focus on things at my own pace completely. It has given me hope again that my future isn't going to be shit. 

I also love writing, and I have thought for a long time that it would be therapeutic to write all the shit that runs through my head down. I have never had the confidence to really get it out in the open though, but I see this as taking a step towards my recovery. I know there are so many people out there, in a similar situation to me, who will completely understand what it's like.

I would love to hear your stories too.

Thank you so much for reading this!

And if you are currently going through similar shit, then you are not alone and if you need to chat or anything, pop me a message or leave a comment :)

Peace x