Friday 6PM ft. Gracie

Get to Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
•15 years old •Self confessed rebel & revolutionary •Sailor girl in love with the ocean. •Writer and spoken word poet •Wild child with my head permanently in the clouds •Feels and thinks wayyy too much •Night thinker – daydreamer •Fueled by aesthetics & adrenaline •Can usually be found swimming laps of a pool, up a tree with my head in a notepad or a book, drinking strong coffee, singing along to my never-ending playlist or sarcastically arguing with people for the sheer fun of it •Will dance with you at 2am •Wearer of bracelets (I have sixteen that I don’t take off) • doesn’t have the answers, but will always try to use my words and my actions to help others •Wants to work as a sailor/youth worker to pursue my passion in life and make a difference in the lives and futures of my generation •free spirit™

What things would you say have shaped you as a person?
The way that my parents have raised me to do everything I can to be a light in the darkness and help others, the pain and negativity I see all around me in my generation and the future they’re facing, discovering the world of sailing, falling in love with the ocean and experiencing the difference if made in my life and the lives of others.

 What’s your big goal for this year?
My family and I are taking on a mega challenge this year to raise money for a charity that transforms the lives and futures of young people in need. My main goal is to complete and to be successful in that challenge – even though it’s definitely not going to be easy. Keep an eye out for a post on my blog with all the deets and how you can get involved to help me achieve that goal…coming soon…
Also, just to be the best, most confident, capable, compassionate version of myself that I can be- and to learn to kitesurf 😉

 What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with no preparation?
How young people can and should stand up for what they believe in and make a difference. I’d probably find a way to bring sailing and the hugely positive effect it has on young people’s lives into it. I’m highkey obsessed haha

Which skill would you like to master?
Spoken word/slam poetry. The rhythm, the performance, the power, the ability to express your message with so much emotion and clarity – it’s pure magic. I write a lot, but I struggle with the performance element (it always sounds so much better in my head lol). I’d love to master that and be able to pack a punch with my words.
Some of my favourite spoken word poems are called Cigarettes by James Hartzer, Text Me by Los Angeles Team and An Origin Story by Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay. They’re all on YouTube 🙂

What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you
could experience it for the first time again?
I just – I have no words for the 2hrs 20mins of feels that the movie Dead Poets Society gives you. It’s the most beautiful, raw, emotional film I’ve ever watched and the lessons it teaches you on teenage mental health, conformity and creativity are truly life-changing. Just go watch it.Now. Plus it’s about poetry sooo *shrugs* even better 🙂

Also, I would’ve said a song, but I’m way too in love with music to be able to pick just one. Same with books, actually. Could never even begin to choose.

 Who inspires you?
My parents. The strength that it takes to raise a family to live and think differently is immense, especially in our society. Their constant dedication to creating a better future for their own children and for other young people inspires me every day.

My friends and other young people of my generation. They struggle so much and yet they are so brave. They fight back against this society that oppresses them. They hang in there even though it hurts and I’m so proud of them for it.

The crew of the boats I sail. They are such positive role-models – people that give their lives to share their passion with my generation and to try and make a difference in our lives. Through sailing, I have met some incredible individuals and, one day, I hope to be like them. Finally, strangers. Every time I hear of someone doing something good in the world, it inspires me to keep going.

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General Mental Health Questions

Have you ever had to deal with negative reactions when you’ve opened up about your mental health, and what advice would you have for others?
On the whole I’ve been really lucky to have family and friends who’ve always been supportive, but something I have come across a lot is young people my age shying away from having these discussions about mental health because they’re ‘too deep’ or ‘too serious’.

As a generation, our relationships have become quite shallow and that’s something I really struggle with. I’ve tried to talk to certain friends about my own mental health, their mental health or even just a slightly more serious topic and I’ve found that they will try and avoid discussing it – even when they’re clearly struggling and it’s clearly so important to open up. I’ve also had a lot of experiences with friends making stupid jokes about mental health and suicide even though I know they themselves struggle with depression, self harm, eating disorders, etc.

I think they’re afraid of the vulnerability and so to joke about what’s going on inside their head is so much easier. To me, that is wrong. Mental health/suicide is not a joke and laughing about it will not make you better.

We need to raise awareness and say ‘Look, opening up…communication…sharing your struggles….they are the only way to move forward and get better – you can’t do it alone. There are people who care so whatever you do, don’t push them away. Vulnerability and openness are not a weakness and anyway, sometimes it’s okay to be weak. Sometimes that’s where we’ve got to start’

How do you think parents could be more understanding of their teens’ mental health?
Our parents grew up in a different society to us – the struggles and issues we face now are not the same as what they’ve experienced in their lifetimes. If we communicate with them and try to explain to them what we’re going through, then they must try to understand us by putting themselves in our shoes.

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Rapid Fire Questions

Why do you think it’s still so difficult for people to get help when mental health is
becoming something more and more people are being made aware of?
People are aware of mental health, but I don’t think it’s totally normalised yet. Mental illnesses have become a label and people don’t associate mental health as something that could affect them. It’s de-personalised. Another thing that I think really contributes to mental health is how self-centred our society is – if we had more community and people sharing their lives, I think there would a much better and stronger support network for people struggling with mental health.

What’s your opinion on adults expecting teens to behave maturely but then treating
them like kids when they’re vocal about important matters?
As a teenager, I’m always joking that I’m too young for half the stuff I want to do and too old for the other half. We have to break those stereotypes. Yeah, I’m a teenager, but I’ll still join in and share my valid opinions when I hear adults talking about issues that affect me, my generation and my future. Yes, I’m a teenager, but I’m still going to run around in the rain and watch Disney movies. Get used to it 🙂

What is one thing you wish you could tell teens all over the world?
Look around you. This is the world we are growing up in. This is our future and the future of the generations to come – our children, our grandchildren. Is this what we want for them? If we don’t stand up and do something now we are the ones who will suffer for it. Dream, dream big, dream of the world you want to create, then make it happen. Don’t tear down your peers – build them up. Come together, we are so much stronger that way. Vive la révolution!

Also, go sailing – you won’t regret it 😉

What is one thing you wish you could tell adults all the world?
You’re struggling too, we get that, but please, listen to the young people, help us, share your experience with us. We’re not perfect either and we don’t have all the answers, but together we can make the future brighter. Be good role models and reach out to the young people in your lives and communities – it makes a difference.
Also, stop caring so much about materialistic things – they will soon be useless if you don’t do something now to make the future better.

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Give Advice To Someone…

Who struggles with comparison?
Just….don’t. Please. It will only make you more unhappy. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others, but it’s so much more powerful to make the conscious decision to say to yourself ‘Stop, that’s not who I am. This is me and this is what makes me beautiful and unique. I am going to be the best version of myself that I can.’ Once you’re on that journey, comparing yourself to others will just slow you down. So please, put them to one side (it’s hard I know, but it’s so worth it). Focus on you and be strong.

Another thing….again I know it’s not easy….but once you stop focusing on your physical
appearance, the sense of freedom is incredible. I still care about what I look like and want to look good, but some days I’m like ‘does it really matter if I go to the supermarket in sweatpants with my hair in a messy bun?’ or ‘does it really matter if I get covered in mud and grass stains and if my hair goes wild?’ and I just go for it and as amazing and empowering as it is to feel beautiful, it’s also pretty awesome just to not care every once in awhile.

There are so many sad eyes on pretty faces. Can we all stop valuing physical beauty over our own happiness and mental health, please?

Who wants to be their own person but finds themselves following others?
It’ll take you awhile to realise this, but once you do, I swear you’ll never feel the same way again. Different is cool, different is awesome, different is fascinating. Different is not weird or ugly or unacceptable or unlovable. Why on earth would you follow everyone else when you could be so much more? There is a world out there and you have a place in it, you just need to explore and to find it. And you will, I promise 🙂 Something I try to live by is this: Always try to do the right thing, even if no one else will. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, even if you walk alone. Don’t isolate yourself from others, accept them for who they are and love them for it, but don’t become like them just for the sake of fitting in.

Who wants to learn to accept themselves?
I guess I’ve kind of answered this in the previous question and the question about comparison, but I’ll say it again – ‘Once you make the decision to be yourself, you are free from the chains and the pressure of society and you can truly begin to make a difference in the lives of others’

Who is being fat shamed but isn’t overweight?
I’m being totally honest when I say that I never look at anyone else and think ‘she/he is ugly’. If people are pointing out the negatives – it’s probably because they themselves are insecure. I know it’s hard, but why let someone’s irrelevant judgement and opinion of you affect you? I can assure you it’s not how the majority of people see you. If you’re feeling really strong, reach out to that person. Communicate with them. Maybe you’ll have a positive effect on them? Maybe you’ll give them a new perspective and change the way they look at things forever?

Who has a lot of fake friends and finds it difficult to stand up for themselves?
Be real. Stay true to who you are and what you believe in. Never stop searching for true
friendship and connection and if there are people worth fighting for then fight.
Tbh, as for practical advice, I’d say start a blog (if you haven’t already), you meet so many
like-minded people who are always there for you, people you can change the world with, plus you have a space where you can be entirely yourself and express your honest thoughts and feelings 💙

 Who struggles to trust people because of bad past experiences?
It’s not easy to let go. That’s something I struggle with too, but you’ve got to ask yourself – is this really how I want to live my life – scared of trusting anyone, scared to love, scared of putting my heart in someone else’s hands? Sometimes, in order to move on, you’ve got to take that first brave step….remember, there are people who love you, there are people who care, there are people who are good and kind. They are there for you. They’ve probably all had their heart broken at some point or another and yet they have come through it stronger and wiser than before. You will too.

Gracie’s Blog

Round The UK On A Tenner A Day Instagram

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

Lets chat (4)

xxxChips

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some mental health resources

Apps

(These are all free btw)

-Huddle

Available for: IOS

Talk through it together.

Huddle is an app for IOS users, it makes it super easy to talk about things you’re passionate about/struggling with, with people who have the same interests or have been in similar situations. They’re tons of groups for you to join about everything from body image to self harm to gaming. Share your thoughts, share your feelings, give advice, get advice but most importantly know that you’re not alone.

Unfortunately Huddle isn’t available for android users just yet but you can join the waiting list and be notified as soon as it is

-Bacon-The Game

Available for: IOS; Android

The rules are simple. Put bacon on everything. I personally use this app as a distraction and it works really well. Within minutes I’ve gone to stressed out to intensely focused on making sure my streak of bacon lands on Mona Lisa.

-Pacifica

Available for: Android; IOS

Do you ever feel like you don’t know how to just ‘be’ anymore? I remember when I had my first major depressive episodes, I eventually came out of it and I didn’t know how to go through a day and feel normal. I lacked interest in EVERYTHING, getting out of bed was one of the hardest things I had to do and I was barely eating because I had zero appetite.I use this app every day (at least I try to) to track my mood, journal if I don’t feel like writing and handle depressive episodes. The app offers a goals section

Calm Harm

Available for: IOS; Android;Online

The urge to self-harm is like a wave. Calm Harm is an app that helps you manage the urge to self harm using activities that fall into groups: Comfort, Distract, Express Yourself, Release, Random and Breathe. I’ve been using Calm Harm for the longest time, and it’s one of the most helpful apps I’ve ever come across. It’s available for IOS and Android users and FREE

 

FOR THE BAD DAYS

-MY TUMBLR

2019-03-02

So I recently started a Tumblr page because I needed a new creative outlet and there’s something really relaxing about spending hours on Pinterest looking for images to perfect the aesthetic I have going on on my Tumblr page. And I’ve gotta say, there’s something really therapeutic about looking at photos of cake😂🙈

Other tips:

  • Write a letter to yourself/ a friend
  • Write
  • Draw
  • Watch Netflix
  • Run your hands under cold water
  • Cry
  • Read  a book
  • Hold ice cubes
  • Clean up
  • Make a crisis box
  • Swear in another language
  • Memorize a poem
  • Tear paper
  • Call a friend/therapist/helpline
  • Listen to music
  • Take a nap

*I do not own the featured image on this post

xxxChips

 

Friday 6PM ft. Jade

Get To Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Hmmm… I’d say that I’m funny, sarcastic, and I’m not afraid to speak my opinions. I’d say  I’m adventurous, and a risk taker.

What things would you say have shaped you as a person?

The three things that have shaped me the most as a person would probably have to be my disability, and being an immigrant, and a person of color. These experiences have made me in my opinion more resilient and determined to break down the stereotypes that I face. Which is why I started blogging.

What are your pronouns?

My pronouns are she/her.

What’s your big goal for this year?

Hmm… My biggest goal for this year is to be happier  and to have better mental health. If you read my blog then you’ll know that I have horrible mental health but my goal is to do something to help cope with all these feelings. Whether that’s going to see someone professional, or talking to someone, or just disconnecting from toxic people. I just want to get better and be in the best head space I can.

What’s your favourite genre of music?

 I’m one of those people with a really eclectic taste, I listen to everything from rap, to pop, to metal, to Indian music, to Turkish music, to Afro trap, to EDM. But right now I’m obsessed with French rap!!! My favorite song at the moment would have to be Hiro by Soprano!!!   He’s a French rapper and he is just brilliant!!! So I suggest you check him out.

What is your greatest achievement?

This is a hard one cause I feel like I’m a boring person.  However, I’d have to say that my greatest achievement would have to be winning second place in the swimming championship.

Are you right or left-handed?

I’m one of those unique individuals who happens to be ambidextrous. Cool, right?

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by several people actually. I’m inspired by singers such as Kendrick Lamar and Stormzy. I’m inspired by the thousands of refugees risking their lives  looking for a better future. I’m inspired by the people on the streets lost to the eye of society. I could go on for days, honestly. 

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General Mental Health Questions

What’s your routine like on a bad mental health day?

On a bad mental health day I try to lock myself in my room and just exist in my own head. Or if that doesn’t work then I’ll blog about what’s bothering me in order to see if someone’s out there to help.  I’ve also found that on bad days writing specifically helps as well.

How do you deal with the thought that your mental health is holding you back?

I just know that I might be struggling now but it’s okay to take my time. It’s okay to struggle, and fail, and try again, instead of pushing myself until I explode. This took me a long time to master. And there are days where I still think I could be doing more but I’m doing my best and that’s all that matters.

How do you deal with loneliness?

Honestly some days I love being alone because it’s who I am, and I’m not bothered by wallowing in my cocoon. But on other days it sucks to be lonely and I feel like I’m drowning in nothingness. So on those days I try to find something that grounds me. For example, a friend, or a good book.

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Disability

What is your disability and how does it affect you?

My disability is retinopathy of prematurity which basically means I’m legally blind. That means that I can’t read print and I need my work formatted in an accessible way, such as braille, or electronically.

How long have you had your disability for?

I’ve had my disability since I was born so all my life.

What are some common misconceptions about your disability?

I think the most common misconceptions about my disability would be that I’m mentally  incapable, or that disabled people in general can’t have sex.

What do you hope to achieve through talking about disability on your blog?

I hope by speaking on disability people understand that I’m like them. I hope by reading my content you realize that disabled people are flawed, and wonderful humans who need just as much love as the rest of you. I hope you understand that if you pull back the layers of my skin, you’ll find blood too.

Which questions are off-limits when it comes to asking about your disability

The questions that are off-limits for me are about my sex life or if I’m a virgin. Just no… Please don’t ask. My thing is if you wouldn’t ask a sighted person then why would you ask me?

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Sexuality

Were you ever in denial about your sexuality?

Yes when I first realized I was a lesbian at the age of 12 I tried to deny it to my dying breath…but I realized that pretending was causing me to have a slow death.

What’s been the hardest thing about not being able to tell your parents/ friends about your sexuality?

  Well this one won’t have anything to do with friends since my friends all know that I’m gay. But I’d have to say the hardest thing about not telling my parents is feeling like I’m a burden at home and I can’t be my true self. Also I can’t tell my parents about my crushes.  Or bring my non-existent girlfriend home to them. And my parents probably won’t throw me a typical brown wedding so…

How do you deal with the stigma surrounding being gay?

I combat the stigma by blogging and sharing my  experiences so that other teens or whom ever feel less alone and don’t go through the shit I did.  I just want to show another disabled Muslim kid that’s okay to be gay, you know?

What is one thing you wish you could tell your parents about your sexuality?

I’d tell them that there’s nothing wrong with me, and that I don’t need a cure.

What are some of the reasons you haven’t come out yet?

The main reason is I’m not away from home. I’d like to come out when I’ve moved out so that if there’s a negative reaction I can make a quick escape.   Also I have a feeling if I do come out then I could be disowned and I’d like to be financially stable for something like that.

What’s the hardest thing about not being out yet?

Feeling like I’m not enough at home. Or feeling like I’m unwanted, and not being able to just kiss whom ever I’d please in public without my parents finding out.

Who are some icons that inspire you and remind you to stay true to your identity?

I assume these have to be LGBTQ so I’m going to say Kehlani.

Why do you think it’s so hard for POC’s parents to accept their sexuality?

I think it’s difficult for POC  parents to accept their kids because there are cultural differences and perhaps not enough resources for the parents to have access to.

How do you handle rude/insensitive comments about the LGBTQ+ community?

At the beginning I’d take those comments personally but now I just shrug it off and realize that I’m better off without those rude or insensitive people in my  life. It’s their problem for not being able to accept me, not mine.

Advice for handling homophobic relatives during the holidays?

 I’ve thankfully have never had to deal with this one because my relatives live super far but I’d have to say just grit your teeth and realize that those people in your family don’t deserve your time.

What is one thing you wish you could tell all LQBTQ+ POC?

I’d tell them to be themselves and to just hang in there cause it gets better I promise.

Jade’s Blog

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

Lets chat (4)

xxxChips

Friday 6PM ft. Mary

Get To Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Describing myself is something that is always so hard for me. It makes me uncomfortable when people ask me about myself. It’s something I’d really like to get better at. That being said, I’ve been trying to work on introducing myself as a writer when someone asks me about myself. This is not what I’m doing for a living right now (I’m working in an office, not writing) but it’s the thing that I am in my heart.  If I had to come up with some words as well maybe I’d use passionate, dedicated, loyal. Sometimes soft and emotional. A little bit tough. A lot of awkward.

Which 5 songs are on the soundtrack to your life?

I’m sure I’d answer this question differently every single time based on my mood but here’s what I’m feeling right now:

 “Release” Pearl Jam

“Silver Lining” First Aid Kit

“Comedown” Bush

“Eyes to the Sky” Joseph

“Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” Pearl Jam

My very favorite band is First Aid Kit but I’d say my favorite genre is 90’s alternative rock (2nd favorite genre is probably folk rock or something of the sort).

What are some of your goals for 2019?

Ah, I love making goals! Right now my two biggest goals are finishing my novel and buying a house. This year I’d also like to get a draft done of my next project, get some short stories published, and stay consistent on my blog. But my most important goal this year is to just write something every single day, no matter what that is.

Do you ever see yourself blogging full time?

I certainly would love to be spending a lot more time on my blog and connecting with humans on the internet, but I don’t think that blogging will ever be my sole focus. Fiction is my number one love, and I’m hoping that someday that’s what I’ll get to do for a living. But I really want to keep up with my blog on the side of that because I find it very therapeutic and I love connecting with other like-minded people this way.

Who inspires you?

So many people inspire me, from my family to prolific writers to bands to random people walking on the street. To narrow it down to blogging, though, the blog I love most, hands down, is Fire and Joy run by Nirrimi Firebrace. It is the most beautiful blog I have ever read and I have gotten lost in its pages for hours more than once. It doesn’t hurt that Nirrimi is an incredibly talented photographer and the imagery on her blog is just as beautiful as her words. And also — she’s just a wonderful human being all around!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Ah, I am definitely a night owl! If I ever get time off from working a “normal person” 9-5 schedule I gravitate towards staying up until 2AM naturally. I definitely feel a little sleepy for the first few hours I’m awake.

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General Mental Health Questions

Do you have any advice on managing your mental health while waiting to get help (eg. being put on a waiting list)

It really sucks that this is a problem that people have to deal with. I’m certainly not a mental health professional, but I can say what has helped me manage anxiety personally. Meditation always helps when I do it consistently, and there’s a lot of free resources online and via apps for guided meditation. Also, exercise is super important; sometimes I find that the only way I can calm myself down is to go for a walk. Honestly, it’s super simple but deep, belly breaths always help me too.

What have you learnt about yourself through your mental health journey

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that other people’s brains don’t work the way that mine does (honestly, this can probably apply to any person on the planet, because we’re all so different). I used to think that I was just weak for not being able to handle life the way that other people can. When I realized that not everyone deals with what I do I was able to find a lot more kindness for myself. I’ve learned that I can be incredibly sensitive, and that’s okay. Sometimes I think that that sensitivity is a superpower; that I’m able to feel things more deeply than other people. Anxiety isn’t always bad. And the times when I can really accept that it is something that is part of me I am able to manage it best.

Do you use any apps for your mental health?

Yes! The meditation app that I use is called “Insight Timer.” It has tons of guided meditation options but you can also just use it as a timer that will go off every few minutes so you get a sense that your meditation is progressing.

I also use “Digital Wellbeing” which is part of the settings on my phone but I know that there’s other apps out there like it. Basically I limit myself to 30-45 minutes of Instagram a day because I find that if I don’t I’ll spend all day on it, get absolutely nothing done, and feel terrible about myself. And I do not have the Facebook app on my phone at all for the same reason.

Lately I’ve also been using this app called “Woebot” which is kind of cheesy but also fun. This little “robot” texts you every day and chats with you about various strategies for managing mental health. It’s certainly not a replacement for a real therapist but it has been a positive supplemental tool.

I’ve also just started using the notes app on my phone to make lists (this was  suggestion from Nirrimi, at Fire and Joy). I find that I can be pretty forgetful, especially when I’m feeling particularly anxious. I’m hoping that this helps me remember things a little better.

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Therapy

What made you seek therapy ?

I’ve been putting off going to therapy for years. I have known that I have an anxiety disorder since about sophomore year of college (I’m now 27, so about eight years ago) and I’ve never worked up the nerve to go before. I always knew I wanted to go but I would always think “oh I don’t have time for that right now.” And then, this past fall, I had a series of really terrible things happen in my life over the course of a few weeks. I was desperate to gain control and to make the situation better, and the only thing I had control over was myself. So I decided to finally take that step to gather the tools that will help me become a better version of myself.

And honestly, I wish I had gone years ago.

What misconceptions did you have about therapy?

I was so worried about what my family and friends would think about me going. I didn’t want my parents to think that they failed me. And I’ve also always had this strange complex where I worry that maybe I don’t actually have anxiety and I’m overreacting (that is a bit of a paradox, I know) so I don’t actually need to get treatment for it.

None of that really mattered once I got there, though. No one has questioned why I’m going and certainly, no one has accused me of not having anxiety after all like I was worried.

How can I build the courage to start therapy?

Just remember that bettering yourself is something that you have control over. I was so worried about family and friends judging me for going — but there’s nothing shameful about wanting to feel better. And the more often I go, the more comfortable I feel admitting that’s where I go.

Honestly? My best advice for doing anything that you’re afraid of is to just take a deep breath and do it. I know that’s hard. Just because something is simple doesn’t mean that it is easy. But the longer you put something off, the scarier it becomes. I know because I’ve put a lot of things off. And I’m still fighting that particular beast.

After your experience with therapy so far, would you recommend therapy to someone?

Absolutely. I’ve been able to sit down and talk about some really difficult situations in my life that are causing me a lot of anxiety with someone who is completely unbiased and simply has my best interest at heart. She’s been able to help me with solutions that I would not have come up with on my own, and she can point out different perspectives. I almost never want to go to therapy before I get there but I always feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders when I leave.

Do you have any recommended resources for someone who can’t afford therapy?

I may not be the best person to provide advice on this, but I’ll try. I know that some therapists offer sliding scales based on income. I also imagine that in certain areas nonprofits may provide some sort of resource for therapists. And I’m also wondering if there are support groups out there for people with anxiety/depression, like there is for addicts and alcoholics (AA/NA). If not, they should exist!

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Pursuing Dreams

What’s your dream?

My biggest dream has always been to have my novel published. But there are smaller dreams in there, too, like published stories and a successful blog and a family and a home.

What’s stopping you?

Ah! This is where I want to say “well no one has published me yet” but the reality is that I’m stopping myself. I don’t spend enough time writing, and I definitely don’t spend enough time submitting. I need to overcome the paralyzing fear of not being good enough and just sit down and do the work. Sitting down is always the hardest part.

Do you think people’s opinions of your dream has affected your confidence in chasing your passion?

It absolutely has. The thing that almost always keeps me from writing (or from sharing my writing if I’ve already written it) is the fear that it isn’t good enough. It is so hard for me to let go of perfection and to be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to resonate with my art and that’s okay. I am always picturing that imaginary audience who is sitting there, waiting to judge my work.

I’m trying really hard to push through this and just focus on enjoying the process. I hope I get there someday soon.

Are you working on any cool projects at the moment?

Right now my big project is my novel. I finished the second draft back in October and I’m just now picking it back up. It’s a story about a father and daughter cleaning out the family house after everyone in their family has passed away or moved elsewhere. It’s about grief and family stories and dealing with the past.

I also have an idea for a collection of linked short stories but I’m having a really hard time getting started on that one.

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Anxiety

How long have you struggled with anxiety for?

Looking back, even though I didn’t realize it until fairly recently, I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. I was a very shy child and found simple things like interacting with distant relatives or playing games with other children nearly impossible. It’s been better at certain points of my life and worse in others. I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t feel nervous about something.

How did you identify your triggers and what do you do when something or someone triggers your anxiety?

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what my triggers are. I can’t always tell why I’m feeling anxious when it happens. I have been able to identify a few things with my therapist, which has been a great help. As an example, I’ve always been really anxious about doctors/hospitals, and I’m working with her to try and figure out exactly what that fear is about, since I’ve never been sure. Otherwise, journaling can really help me identify what it is that’s bothering me. But sometimes it takes a few days before I really know.

When something triggers me, I try to take a lot of deep, belly breaths and try to distract myself from whatever negative thoughts are spiraling in my brain. I also tend to call my boyfriend a lot, but I kind of think that’s a bit of a crutch and I’d really like to stop burdening him with my anxiety so often.

What things has your anxiety prevented/ stopped you from doing?

So many things! The main thing right now is that I want to share more of my writing/art in general but I haven’t been able to. It feels so vulnerable to share blog posts/Instagram posts and often I’ll put off doing it because it scares me. In the past it’s kept me from sharing my fiction, making friends with people that I really connect with, moving out of my parent’s house (still live here), and many other things. It almost kept me from studying abroad in 2011 which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I can’t imagine what I’d be like now if I had never gone.

Do you have any tips for calming yourself down when you feel anxious?

Lately I’ve been trying to distract my brain when I get stuck in an anxious spiral with the “categories” game. For example, I try to think of as many different kinds of trees I can. Aspen, Pine, Maple, Willow, etc. until I’ve gotten my brain out of the negative loop and I feel a little bit calmer. Sometimes those adult coloring books are also a good way for me to distract my brain for a little while. Other times, I just have to sit with it and accept it and just let it pass.

Do you think it’s healthier to focus on the healing than the anxiety?

Something that I’m trying to learn to do right now is to try not to fight the anxiety. The moment I fight against the fact that I’m feeling anxious, it turns into a full-blown anxiety attack. If, instead of fighting it, I accept that it’s there and try to work through it, it tends to resolve quicker. I guess in that way I am focusing on the healing — focusing on breathing deeply and distracting my mind while I just accept that I am anxious and that’s the way it is.

 

Mary’s blog

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xxxChips

Friday 6PM ft. Gayle

Get To Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Okay, this is can be difficult because obviously you want to make a good first impression but be completely honest at the same time, right? So, say if you walked up to me in a coffee shop and were like “hey I saw you over here typing really fiercely and kind of angrily on your computer, are you okay?” I would be extremely embarrassed because I probably forgot I was out in public and ramble something like this: “No, I was just really focused – I do that sometimes – sorry. I’m a blogger, I just get sucked into my writing sometimes, sorry for bothering you, I didn’t mean to. I’m okay, I’m just a bit awkward sometimes and I express myself a lot better through writing and art because I totally suck at expressing myself. I just hermit sometimes you know? I read a lot and – oh! I do photography – Sorry. Sorry for saying sorry so much but I really am sorry. Have a good day!” And continue to tell you my life story to try to mellow out the situation but really just make it worse!

What things would you say have shaped you as a person?

Ohh, I love this! What a great question! I would say

1) my family obviously, they’ve raised me and taught me to love others and that it’s okay to just be me, that I can be whatever I wanna be and to let my spirit run free.

2) This might be silly, but I feel like books have had such a big impact in who I am. I’ve experienced all of the characters struggles and agony right there with them, and even though they’re just stories, they’re real life lessons.
3) My mistakes. Everybody messes up sometimes and that’s okay, it’s part of being human. But what matters is if you learn from those mistakes and push yourself to be better!
What’s your big goal for this year?

Ahh okay, biggest goal for 2019?? You might wanna write this down (obviously so you can rub my failures in my face) *breathes deeply* to grow my blog big enough that I can turn it into my side-hustle and become an entrepreneur someday!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ten years is a long time…I see myself being 27 years old, settled down with a family, running my profitable blog from home while I homeschool my adorable little babies, and you know of course travel the whole entire world and meet every single one of you guys. Duh.
If you could have dinner with 3 people dead/alive who would you pick?
1) Chips, the obvious choice, who doesn’t want to have dinner with an angel?? …honestly just wanna skip 2 and 3 and cheat and have one big blogger convention and major sleepover – is that okay?? Please say yes, that would be a-maze-ing. Who’s in?
Who inspires you?
The entire blogosphere! Literally everyone is the best here, legit. How does this community not explode with so much love? My Mom! And I am not ashamed to say it! She encourages my plans for life because she wants me to bloom into my own person – who I’m meant to be.

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General Mental Health Questions

How do you suggest going about finding yourself?
This is a difficult answer to question because I’m still on the journey of “finding myself”. That being said, I have noticed a change in myself and can see myself growing. My tips – because this is what has helped me – is that before you can even begin growing into who you want to be, you have to accept who you are now. You have to accept that your flaws make you unique and that you are only human. You have to use your imperfections as strengths to push you where you want to be. And you have to accept that you will always have flaws, no matter how far you come, they are a part of the journey and a part of you.
Have you ever struggled to separate your problems with mental health from your personal identity and what advice do you have for people struggling with that?

This is a big question, and I’m not quite sure what you’re asking, but I think I get it, so bare with me! I used to keep my anxiety and depression in the same folder as the rest of me, I had accepted it as a part of who I was, even though I knew i wasn’t always like that I had convinced myself it was never going away so I might as well give up on trying to ignore it, right? Wrong. We don’t realize it, but we start to believe every thing that we speak. And think about how often we go around saying “I have anxiety” over and over and over. But I found a method that works, sis, and it’s all in your mind-set. Are you listening? I refuse to accept anxiety as a part of who I am. Instead of saying “I have anxiety” start saying “I’m moving through anxiety.”

How to get help when you’re scared to?
Having mental illnesses is scary. They make you scared of everything and besides that – you never know if someone is going to take you seriously or not – so it’s easier to just stay quiet. I get it, I’ve been there. But we all need to find the courage to speak out about it, because there are people out there who truly care, and you deserve relief and love. So, I would try to carefully bring it up with a close and trusted friend, a parent, or actually – start a blog and discuss it with other bloggers because mental illnesses are a very common thing. No, that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with, but at least you’ll know you’re not alone. Keep your chin up, lovely, you can do this.
What is the one thing you did or changed in your life that helped you improve your mental health most?

Mind-set. You’re thoughts are your most valuable asset, they’re what controls you. But technically, you control them so think happy thoughts! It’s a hard habit to get into to, but don’t stop, keep working, find a group that inspires you to take care of yourself and become the best version of you. Do whatever it takes to make it possible to love yourself. Please.

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Self-love

What do you love the most about yourself and have you always loved that part?
The fact I’m finally blooming into someone who is good and happy and productive and living! No I haven’t always loved this part of me because it has been buried deep, deep down inside of me covered by years of dust from my lazy inner demons. But I am finding an innocent love for myself again, and I couldn’t be more happy.
What 3 things have you learnt about yourself through your self-love journey?
1) It is completely possible to be happy again – don’t forget it, love, I promise you it’s possible.
2) I need to be thankful for my mental illness (maybe a love/hate relationship though), because it has made me strong and showed me just how capable I am of achieving my dreams no matter how strong something fights against me.

3) I’m a freakin’ queen for defeating my demons.

At what point did you decide self-love was really something you wanted to pursue and focus on?
Not to long ago – my boyfriend of two and a half years broke up with me and I realized just how much I allowed my happiness to depend solely on him. After he was gone, I noticed just how lacking I was in finding happiness in simply being alive. The fact I wake up every morning, the fact I breath, the fact my body is capable of these feelings at all. I realized just how much I was missing, because I let my happiness depend on something that isn’t promised.

What’s your best tip for learning to love yourself?

Sis, you just have to give up and accept yourself for who you are now, in the mess and chaos, before you can move on.
What’s your version of self-care?
Self-care to me is everything. It’s taking care of yourself not only physically pampering yourself (though that’s important too), but also taking care of yourself emotionally and spiritually – because that’s where things get balled up.

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

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Friday 6PM ft. Bayance

Get to Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Ooh well usually I’d just start with my name, age and where I’m from. But if I were to describe myself, I’d say I’m a people’s person who isn’t afraid to communicate her opinions and feelings and that I’m very passionate about justice, communities and turkish dramas (just kidding on the last one but hey, they’re really good)

What things would you say have shaped you as a person?

I’d say Islam is number one. Without it, I would’ve been completely different and probably lost. Also my experiences with people, reading and moving schools and homes a lot (getting to meet different people and being faced with different environments).

If your life was a movie what would it be called?

Hmm… “On Her Way To Save The World…once she stops procrastinating” Okay I really don’t know but my life so far might be “Mentally 40” or “Not Your Average Teenager”? So original, I know.

Which 3 songs are on the soundtrack to your life?

Oh man. I actually made a post called My Life In Songs describing my music phases so hehe, self plug there. But as in life, maybe Brave by Sara Bareilles, Never Be Enough and Titanium? I honestly don’t know.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Finished University and possibly engaged? I also hope to go into law or a political field so maybe a job there.

Do you ever see yourself blogging full time?

Honestly if I got the chance to, I would. I don’t think so now because my blog is very life based and I can’t imagine it with millions of views haha. But who knows?

Who inspires you?

My parents are super hard working and I get it from them. Noor Tagouri inspires me as well but I’m trying not to follow people’s footsteps and be my own boss. And spiritually, I should look up to prophet Muhammad because he was the best of mankind and treated everyone with respect.

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General Mental Health Questions

What are your top five self care tips?

1.Smile (even when you’re not happy)

2.Reflect on your accomplishments no matter how small

3.Pray

4.Treat yourself (don’t go overboard but maybe a new outfit, a new meal..etc)

5.Take care of your hygiene and health (I need to follow this myself)

6.Bonus: TELL YOURSELF YOU BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE YOU ARE

How do you practice being kind?

SMILING! And complimenting people (it doesn’t have to be about looks). Just have a positive attitude and keep bad thoughts to yourself. It’s hard but with practise, being a positive person isn’t too hard.

What distractions do you find helpful?

I hate that I do distract myself but I really shouldn’t. Face a difficult situation head on and get it out of the way. But I distract myself by eating, watching Youtube and sleeping haha.

Does hearing other people’s stories help you manage your own mental health?

YES, it makes me so much more thankful and like I feel like I’m not alone. Sometimes people have advice for me and I have advice for them and it’s great connecting with people.

What do you think of the mental health area on social media that promotes/ romanticizes illness ?

ROMANTICIZES!! I know a lot of people disagree but ever since people started mentioning mental health a lot, rates have increased by SO much. I think people are having a hard time distinguishing between their emotions and name any hard or sad situations depression. And it sucks because now you can’t really tell the difference between someone who wants to be tumblr or someone who actually needs help. I think making mental health a little more private would be better. You don’t see people with cancer writing “very bad migraine today or back pain” on their stories. They seek medication instead which is what people should be doing here or at least talking to people privately.

Has being on social media affected your mental health and how?Do you think social media has a more positive or negative impact for someone struggling with their mental health?

NEGATIVE 100%%%. It has doubled my anxiety and literally anything I post I always second guess. Seeking validation has tried to suck me in multiple times and this drug called social media drains a lot of time spent on nothing and it just ends up making you feel worse because you’re constantly waiting for someone to message you and comparing your successes to other people. It’s terrible. In fact, yesterday, I unfollowed everyone on Instagram. Nothing to scroll hours on my feed and no stories that are so fake keeping me distracted. I’m done with it.

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Self Love

What is your biggest insecurity and why do you think you’re insecure about it?

Hmm my voice? It’s really annoying in sound recordings hahah. I’m not that insecure about my body anymore but maybe my face? Like I don’t know eyebags and I just don’t have the best structure at all angles. I honestly do not care anymore because I don’t understand why I’d thrive to look perfect. My body is healthy and functioning and my appearance doesn’t matter in the long run.

What was the first step you took to overcoming that insecurity?

I guess I just stopped looking in the mirror as often and weighing myself. I just didn’t care about the little details and focused on what I could control like my personality.

Do you have any advice on learning how to accept your flaws?

You are more beautiful than how you see yourself – I promise. We get too used to seeing ourselves but to someone else, we are beautiful in our own ways. Our flaws make us human and I think it’s important to remember that you do not need anyone’s validation to qualify for beauty.

Have you learnt to accept your body?

Yep! There are obviously times where I’m like wow this picture sucks with me in it but I honestly don’t care much anymore. It’s just a temporary structure that holds your soul and will decompose one day as well. It’ll be replaced with something better and it just reminds you that this life isn’t perfect. I feel like we ignore that our bodies isn’t what’s on the outside but the inside too. And I mean literally. Look at how your body works together – all the cells, nerves and neuron messages making up and protecting your body from diseases. God made us this way for a reason and we shouldn’t compare our bodies to others.

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Anxiety

What is your first memory of experiencing anxiety?

Grade 3 when I was overthinking. I was just thinking how we’re stuck in this sphere that’s rotating around the sun and how huge the universe is and how we’re going to die and the afterlife would be forever and aah forever and aah can I just undo my existence and aah it’s coming and aah time is passing by and gefyufbjhsj. I’ve accepted it and am now trying to work my way to prepare for what’s next but there are definitely still times where I’m still in shock with this all and how no one seems so sucked in to this world that they forget to really look around them and ask questions, me included.

What’s the worst thing about your struggles with anxiety

That the only way I can release it properly is to cry and pray. Which is good but isn’t too handy in public. So it just gets bottled up and I feel a pit in my stomach followed by a headache.

What’s your best tip for learning how to cope with anxiety?

Write it all down. Get it down on paper. Pray because God knows what’s in our hearts and what we’re struggling with and there are times when I’d be so overwhelmed and anxious and then after praying, I’d feel so relaxed like there’s no worries in the world. If you choose not to believe in God now, that’s your choice and you could always ask me questions but your soul needs care too and denying everything would just make it darker. Another way I cope is to cry. Your mental health is like a bladder sometimes and if you feel too much emotions, let it out. Just like how you’d pee or throw up, stress needs to be released too and I promise you’ll feel better after a good cry.

How has your anxiety affected your education?

Only last year. I was trying to work and the group behind me was talking really loudly and then I started to think about how I used to be part of a big group like that and then everything became so blurry and I started getting dizzy and my heart was beating fast and just all thoughts hit me at once and I had to leave the classroom. It sounds really pathetic but it happened a few times where I felt really down but it got way better. Sometimes we think bad days and feelings last forever but they don’t. I promise you, they don’t.

 

Thank you so much for having me, Chips! I loved answering these questions.

Bay’s blog

Bay’s Instagram

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

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xxxChips

Friday 6PM ft. Jennifer Bethany

Be the person you needed as a kid…

I’ve been going on about this series for a while now and I’m so thrilled to share this with you. A big thank you to Jennifer, who this wouldn’t have been possible without and to all of you for your endless support and kind words. If you’d like to learn more about Friday 6PM or possibly be a part of it I’ve left all the info at the end, but I’ve rambled enough,let’s get straight into it.

Get to Know Me questions

 

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

 I would say, “I’m a short, wild haired, goal obsessed, ball of energy!”

If your life was a movie what would it be called?

 ‘How to Move Mountains’

Which 5 songs are on the soundtrack to your life?

1. Dreams by The Cranberries

2. Wolves by Selena Gomez

3. Better by Maggie Rogers

4. Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

5. You Learn by Alanis Morissette

What are some of your short term goals?

1. Financial Freedom

2. Get my small business off the ground

3. Stay being consistent

Do you ever see yourself blogging full time?

Yes, writing is my passion and I seriously pray that one day I can say I’m a full time blogger.

Who inspires you?

Rachel Hollis, hands down.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Listen boo, chin up. Respect yourself. Love yourself so fully that you don’t need any “man” to. Shush your mouth, get up for work and hustle. Write down your goals, actually have goals. Speak up for yourself. Don’t take yourself so serious. Life is fun and beautiful. Live in the present. Send handwritten notes to your friends. Live a little, live responsibly.”

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General Mental Health Questions

Why do you think mental health has been a topic people avoided talking about for such a long time?

I think people avoided it, because they were told to. It was taboo, because people said it was. Everyone expected their lives to come off as prim and proper, there wasn’t room for mental illness. It was shameful. But now, I think mostly due to internet access and social media, our human connection has become so great that we realized, ‘hey this isn’t so taboo, there’s a lot of other people out there like me”. And I think that’s truly beautiful progression.

Do you think receiving an official diagnosis matters?

Nope, I really don’t. I think self awareness is really powerful and that’s the first step to realizing you need help.

How do you deal with family/people that don’t understand or believe you about your mental health issues?

I’ve really not come across anyone that has challenged my eating disorder or depression. If someone were to, I’d simply ignore it. I know my truth and that’s all that matters.

Does time really heal?

Time really does heal all wounds. There’s no set time frame on when it’ll happen, but yes one morning you will wake up and your pain won’t be the first thing you think of.

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Eating disorders

When did you first begin to feel like you needed to get help?

I never initially felt like I needed help for an eating disorder. I truly just felt like I was dieting and doing a damn good job. It wasn’t until I went to my general practitioner for help with my depression that I was put on Celexa (antidepressant) and began to gain weight from that medicine. It wasn’t until I gained healthy weight back, that I realized I had a problem.

How did your parents and friends react to finding out about your eating disorder?

My mom was fighting cancer at the time. She had 13 surgeries over the course of 3 years. She didn’t realize I had a problem, because she just was going through so much. I know, looking back, my dad was worried. He would say things like, “you don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive.” and he would fix me food sometimes in an attempt to help. No one else ever said anything to me about my anorexia until after I was healthy again. They said things like, “Yeah you did get really small. I was worried.” But that didn’t do much for me in my struggle.

What’s the worst reaction you’ve had to telling someone about your eating disorder, and how has that experience taught you to deal with negative reactions since then?

I’ve not had a bad reaction. I recently for the first time talked about my eating disorder publicly on my blog. I had a lot of women come to me and thank me for sharing. Some even told me about their current eating disorder they are seeking help for and they are in my prayers so fiercely

What was the turning point for you that motivated you to start your recovery journey?

I realized after my kidney transplant that I’d never took the time to allow myself to heal from my ED. I decided that since I got a new lease on life, I wasn’t going to let my ED creep back in and control my life. I decided I would be in control this time around and would be the healthiest version of me that I can possibly achieve.

What’s been the hardest thing about your recovery?

Self talk. Not allowing myself to talk down on myself. I practice looking at my reflection and say out loud the things I love, even if it’s hard.

What are a few things you wish you’d known at the start of your recovery journey?

I wish I had known that talking about it, is okay. That talking about it would lead to ultimate healing.

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Body image

As you’ve got older, have you become more or less self-conscious about your body?

Much less self-conscious.

What was the largest contributing factor to the security/lack of security you have in your body?

Growing up I had a lot of people in my life that would comment negatively on my body. Their voices lingered in my mind for years and eventually morphed into my own voice. Beating that voice, changing that voice in my head, has been a life changer.

Do you think teenage boys or girls have a worse body image and why?

Honestly, I think it is probably more intense within teenagers in general. Especially now with social media. It’s so easy for them to see thousands of girls and guys who are what they would consider “average people” on Instagram that are “body goals” or “insta models” or whatever they put into the world. Those things are fine, but I think a younger audience is more swayed by that and it can be really damaging to a not fully matured mind.

What advice would you give someone with poor body image?

Love yourself fully. Find the motivation deep inside you to fight for yourself. You’re more than worth it. Your body is strong, it’s a temple, it’s a vessel. Take care of it and your body image will improve by tenfold. Speak your self-love into existence!

Jennifer’s blog

Jennifer’s Twitter

Jennifer’s Instagram

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

Lets chat (4)

xxxChips