Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Mental Health

In the light of recent events surrounding mental health and suicide, I felt I had to scribble down some thoughts on the matter of it all.

When I refreshed Twitter and saw the devastating news of Mike Thalassitis I actually said “what?!” out loud to myself. I couldn’t believe it. Another young soul who felt like he couldn’t go on any longer, taken away from the world far too soon. I felt so deeply saddened and shocked by the news, I still do. Reading the thousands of tweets, comments and shares surrounding this young man is absolutely gut wrenching. Watching Montana Brown, another ex Love Islander, on This Morning break down saying she wishes she replied to Mike’s last texts made me feel sick. I cannot imagine what she must be feeling, the overwhelming sense of guilt and the “I could have done more” phrase circling around her head. It’s something no one should have to go through in their life. Every post, comment and share I’ve seen has been telling the world how much of a kind, caring soul Mike was with such an exciting future ahead of him. A true gentleman that was often misunderstood from the television persona he seemed to have taken on. 

Mental health and suicide is something which is still not spoken about enough. The awareness surrounding the ‘taboo’ subject has certainly gotten better than it has been previously over the past year or two but is still not taken as seriously as it should be. Men, in particular, are not getting the help they need. The most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales, is suicide. Read that again. The most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales, is suicide. In an ever developing world the only thing that seems to be deteriorating is our mental health. Why? Mental health issues have obviously always been a problem throughout the ages but has it worsened now due to the digital age? Is it because the educational structure we go through is so robust? Is it the pressure of having to have your shit together by the time you’ve left school/college/university when you can just about decide what to eat for dinner? Or afford it for that matter... Social media? Relationships? Bullying? The truth is, all of those matters and more can affect someone’s mental health and well-being and I do believe we live in a much more pressured society than we ever have done before. It’s a rarity to talk to someone, particularly a millennial, who hasn’t experienced mental health problems. I know someone personally who took his own life, I’ve been through other horrendous situations where I could have lost someone I loved and I, myself, have been through some pretty tough patches too. 

For a young woman, who’s only recently turned 23, I sure as hell have been through a lot of shit in my time which in turn affected my mental state. It’s strange, yet therapeutic typing this out. It was only a year ago where I felt so low I genuinely couldn’t see a future for myself. It’s almost like you feel absolutely every emotion all at once and in turn it makes you numb to the core. I was at the lowest point I’ve ever experienced and I remember the day I just looked at myself in the mirror and broke down. It was like something out of a movie. I could barely breathe, crying like I never have done before. I was slumped on my freezing cold bathroom floor for what felt like hours until I could calm myself down and pull myself out of it. It was fucking scary. That being said, with some ups and downs and still a few road bumps along the way every now and again, a whole year on and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I’m in such a good place. I’m happy, laid back and enjoying my life. It’s so crazy looking back to think of what a dark place I was in, thinking that was it. Yet here I am. There’s so many bullshit clichĂ© sayings with this being one of them but there truly is light at the end of the tunnel and things do get better.   

I went through everything by myself. It’s the way I’ve always been, I’ve had no choice but to deal with the cards I’ve been dealt with and get through things in life with me, myself and I and this phase in my life was no different. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my thoughts and feelings, I didn’t want to bother people or come across as attention seeking. I wanted it all to be okay and to not let anyone see how things really were. Luckily, for me, I was able to get through it by myself. I threw myself into the gym, albeit a few hiccups along the way with gym anxiety, I started researching and learning about spirituality and the law of attraction and most of all, I focused on myself for once. I started putting myself first for the first time and over the past year, it has done me wonders. Learning about spirituality and the law of attraction really helped me along the way. It’s something I practice in every day life. It’s incredible and opens you up to a whole new world and way of thinking. The gym was fantastic too. Getting those happy juices flowing and taking care of the physical side of myself also and I’ve even made some friends for life along the way which is just an amazing bonus! However, there was a fatal flaw in all of this. Did you pick up on it? I did it alone. I never reached out. I didn’t want to feel like a burden. And that’s exactly how the majority of people feel. Not everyone is lucky, they can’t get through it by themselves. 

Men often feel this way. Men are told from the moment they can just about babble the word “dada” that they are a man. And being a man is more than just a gender. They must do and say certain things. They must assert their strength and superiority at all times. They can’t be seen as weak and crying? Crying?! Have a laugh. You’re a man and men don’t cry. It’s a ridiculous concept and power play and these small micro aggressions from birth are what leads to problems later on in life. I’ve spoken to so many guy friends and nearly all of them struggle to open up, they feel they can’t talk and if they do, they think they’re seen as weak. This needs to change and it must change now. Too many men are dying. Too many men are left without the help and support they need. No matter what gender or what age, check up on the people in your life. Reach out. Let people know you’re thinking of them and that you’re there for them if they ever need you. Watching someone’s Snapchats or liking a few Instagram photos isn’t checking up on someone, do you know how easy it is to fool the world into thinking you’re living your best life? Engage in a conversation, take an interest and listen to the response. Be there for people and for god sake, allow people to be there for you too! Stop pushing people away. Allow them in, even just one! It could truly change your life forever - you have no idea how much one conversation could change yours or somebody else’s life. It’s also important to remember that ultimately, you are in charge of your own happiness, so is everyone else. You are not solely responsible for the way someone may feel and their actions don’t necessarily reflect anything you’ve done - understand that you can’t change someone and they won’t get better over night. It’s all a big crazy rollercoaster and you’ll be in for one hell of a ride but if you persevere and see it through, it will be the best damn ride you’ve ever been on.

RIP Mike. Thinking of all his family and close friends at this devastating time. 

Please reach out if you are struggling. I’m always here for a conversation no matter whether we’re close friends, acquaintances or complete strangers. Don’t suffer in silence.

Until next time...


Elle x

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Let’s Talk

I know what you’re thinking. Bloody hell Elle please not another emotional blog post about love and heartbreak. I hear ya. Today, I want to talk about body dysmorphia and behavioural problems in relations to food. Woah. Deep. I know. You ready? Let’s begin... 

Body dysmorphia, for those of you that don’t know, in the simplest of terms, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about their flaws in their appearance. I truly believe within my generation there is a much higher percentage of people, both men and women, who have body dysmorphia compared to older generations. Body shaming has something that has always been around, there has always been ideal of what and whom to look like but in most recent years, it has most certainly become worse. For example, next time you pop into Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S, wherever it is you may shop, take a look at the magazines and newspapers. You’d be surprised at how many are plastered with images on the front pages of women who are being body shamed, the latest fad diet which FYI does not bloody work and is not scientifically backed up in any way shape or form and nine times out of ten there will be some new “super food” you absolutely must have in your diet and a staple food that you should never consume again for as long as you all shall live. Sigh. And don’t even get me started on social media and the rise of ‘fitness influencers’ on Instagram. We’ll save that chat for another time. 

Back to body dysmorphia. So yes, I do believe thanks to the way in which we are fed news, images, supposed facts and figures and the social media life we all live in, our generation is a bundle of anxiety ridden, depressed young adults with huge body issues. Now, I’m certainly not tarnishing everyone with the same brush here. Everyone is different. However, how many of you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see? Is that due to what you really feel or the way in which society has made you feel? How many of you scroll through Instagram and compare yourself to anyone and everyone who pops up on your screen? I, for one, am so guilty of all of the above. I’m no stranger to eating disorders and body dysmorphia but something I have noticed lately is the way in which we respond to others who express this feeling of dissatisfaction with the way they look. The first thing I think we need to make clear here is that the most confident, outgoing people you know can be, and more often than not, are the ones who suffer the most. It’s insecurities masked by unreal confidence and a lust for life. Don’t be fooled. You can have body dysmorphia and still send your boyfriend/girlfriend nudes. You can have body dysmorphia and still wear revealing clothing. You can have body dysmorphia and still upload selfies upon selfies and a crazy amount of gym pictures. You get the gist. 

I know I definitely fit under all of those categories. I always laugh when my best friend tells me she loves how confident I am when in actual fact it’s fake confidence. It’s the fake it til you make it kind or I would literally not function day to day with the crippling insecurities I suffer from. I come across as confident, I send nudes to someone I’m in a relationship with, I buy sexy lingerie and strut around the bedroom like I’m BeyoncĂ©, I post probably one too many selfies and wear short shorts and a sports bra to the gym. I like to create an illusion that I’m this crazy confident gal who thinks she’s the shit (in the nice non arrogant way ... *tumbleweed*). When in all honestly, I’m so insecure. I’d be here all day if I listed all my insecurities and things I would change about myself and sadly, I know I’m not the only one. And one thing I’ve noticed what people say to me and admittedly, I’ve probably done in the past, is sit there and say “but you’re so pretty”, “but look at you”, “oh shut up you’re perfect” ... you get the idea. We think we’re helping. We think we’re giving compliments and making the situation better when in actual fact, we’re making it worse. If someone expresses a negative way in which they feel about their body, do not dismiss it. It may seem like a passing comment but it could be a cry for help. I have used this method before to try and get advice off someone because I’ve needed help. Just by changing our communication and ensuring that we are actually listening to the words that are being spoken, we could make a huge difference to someone else and give them the help and support they need. 

What I’d like people to take from this is that people from all walks of life, no matter what they might look like to you, no matter how confident they seem, could be masking the truth to how they really feel. So be kind. In a world in which everyone seems to gun for one another and tear each other down, be the one to lift others up. Give someone a meaningful compliment. Ask your friends and loved ones how they’re doing, if they’re okay and really listen to the answer and give a lending ear if necessary. You have no idea what a genuine compliment could do for someone. Please don’t get this confused with being a sleaze or crossing lines but tell someone something you like about them. It doesn’t have to be physical. It could be something that may seem so insignificant but it just might make someone’s day. I’d like to think I’m good at giving genuine compliments but I also wish I’d voiced them more. When I’ve looked into the eyes of the guy I fancy and thought fuck those are some dreamy ass eyes I could look at fo’evaaa, when I’ve seen a stranger and adored her coat but didn’t tell her, when a family member made more effort to look nice and I didn’t tell them how good they looked. It’s nice to be nice. Kindness over everything, every day. I would love to discuss this topic in much more detail but for now, take away this small nugget of information and remember that you never know what someone else is going through. 

Until next time...


Elle x

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Rejection

Whether it starts with getting picked last in your P.E class, not making the cut for your Uni course or being told by your significant other you’re no longer desired by them, we all experience rejection throughout our lives. And let’s cut the bullshit, it’s fucking shit. 

My love life... let me rephrase. My non-existent love life is a constant show reel of rejection. It’s like the reel is scratched up, jammed. Stuck on repeat. It’s like a vinyl record, peaking. Reaching your favourite, most magical part of the song but abruptly cutting off without a chime or word to be sung again. 

Rejection is embarrassing. It’s hard to deal with. It makes you question everyone and everything. It makes you wonder how you could be so blissfully unaware of another person’s ulterior motives. It highlights that people will always know the right things to say, when to say them but their actions can’t keep up. They can’t harmonise with the lies. The lines become blurred and the truth comes out. 

I can imagine, for those that bother to read my ramblings, are probably sat there thinking I’m a bitter bitch. And yes, maybe I have become slightly bitter. Maybe I have turned into a cynical young woman, way before her time. Maybe, just maybe, I’m fed up being treated like a disposable sex machine. Good enough to look at, good enough to fuck, good enough to boost one’s ego but certainly not good enough to keep. Thrown away when the job is done.

I’ve never really understood what it is I do that people run away from. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from bloody perfect and I have many flaws, all of which I’m aware of and work on daily. But what I do know is that I am kind. Not just nice. Not just “oh she’s an alright girl”. I mean truly kind. A kind soul. A heart of gold. I would do anything for anyone, no questions asked, no ulterior motives, no wanting anything in return, no judgment. Just wanting to be good and do good. Wanting to make other people’s lives better, happier and more fulfilled. For someone who’s been through a fuck load of traumatic experiences in such a small frame of time, I sure as hell still have a lot of love to give. Time after time, I do my best to wear my heart on my sleeve, let my guard down and bare my soul. Time after time, I’m shown I should protect my heart and hide it away, keep the guard up, locked and chained. Not to bare my soul for anyone that walks this Earth. 

Maybe that’s what it is. They can smell the desperation of wanting to be loved so badly from miles off. That’s all I’ve wanted. From my earliest memory of a child, I have never felt that I fit in anywhere. I’m an outsider, a loner. I know a lot of people but few of those hardly know me. I don’t have many friends, I never have. I’ve never been close to anyone in my family or even felt like I was loved at all. It’s quite sad, isn’t it? To grow up in a world that’s bursting at the seams with people yet not one of them loves you. Not one of them wants to know you, for you. Not one of them wants to learn your little quirks, your likes and dislikes and not one of them truly cares how you are, how you feel and what really goes on in that mind of yours. And that’s what it comes back to. The way people view me. I’m told I’m so perfect, I’m gorgeous, I’m kind... but only perfect enough to fuck. No more and no less. Only gorgeous enough to have on your arm for a few weeks until you get bored. Only kind enough to take advantage of until the benefit wares off. I’m disposable. Always have been, always will be.

For me, rejection is based around love. Of the lack thereof. I’ve never been with someone that hasn’t cheated on me. I’ve never been with someone that hasn’t lied to my face, gone behind my back and hurt me. I’ve never been with someone who’s just been honest. I’ve never been someone who hasn’t ignored me for days on end, ghosted me. I’ve never been with someone committed and loyal to me. I’ve never been enough and I don’t think I ever will be. 

And maybe, that’s okay. Maybe that’s the way my life is supposed to be. Maybe that’s my path. I love love. I love being in love. I love feeling like I’m loved but if that’s not set out in my path of life, who am I to keep fighting against it? I’m 23 years old and already feel like giving up completely. Well, that’s a lie. I felt like giving up a hell of a long time ago and that feeling has never faded. It’s just become stronger over time. I feel I don’t belong. I’m worn down and broken. I wish someone would be honest with me for once and tell me what the hell is wrong me. Why does everyone leave? 

I feel that I’m an old soul trapped in a young girl’s body and I’m not sure how much more upset, hurt and rejection my fragile heart can take. 

Elle x