Posted in Lifestyle, Mental health, Personal

Any Happy Little Thoughts?

Welcome back to my piece of Neverland, Lost Kids. Recently a few friends of mine have told me how incredibly down and off they’re feeling these days. That truly breaks my heart. To see the people you love around you suffering and you can’t really do much to help them absolutely sucks. I wish I could take their pain away and give them the chance to see what a bright future lays ahead of all of us. This month is especially hard for me seeing as I lost five friends over the period of March in 2015. One of them sadly took his own life. So not only does this give me the strength to stand up and help others in a disheartening situation, it gives me the motivation to go out and talk about mental health and encourage more people to talk openly about the problems they face every day. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, not at all. It’s something we should embrace. Be proud of. It’s not a glamorous thing to live with, it’s not a fashion statement that might change in a few months time. It’s a type of illness that will be with you for as long as you live. And you should be a proud and brave warrior to have gotten this far in life without giving up. I’m proud of you for doing that.

I just want you guys to know that no matter what negativity you may be facing right now, life gets better. No one will 100% understand what you’re going through or how you’re feeling, we all experience everything differently. But know the people who are making an effort are there for you. You are loved and you are cared for. Every period of darkness ends when light cracks through. The light in your life could be anything, your friends, family, hamsters, dogs, a book, a TV show, a band and so many other things. It’s up to you to find that source of light, and never let go of that love and passion you have for it.

If you’re feeling worthless or that life isn’t worth living, please know that death is irreversible. You can’t cover up a death with long sleeves or tattoos. When I wanted to end my own life, I heard this incredible quote from Frank Iero (of My Chemical Romance) which was ‘the world won’t be a better place without you’ – no one will be happier or better off. A cure for cancer won’t magically appear. Bullying won’t stop. World peace won’t happen. Famine, poverty and sickness won’t be things of the past. The only way that you can actually make a difference in the world is by sticking around and being you. You never know, you might be someone’s reason to live. Even if that someone is your dog. Because think about it, without you, who would they have to take care of them? It would break them if you left now.

I am completely inspired by everyone that wakes up every day and thinks ‘I can’t do this anymore’ but carries on, braves those demons for another day and lives to see another sunset and another sunrise. It’s incredible that despite those demons attacking your mind and your thoughts, creeping in at every opportunity possible, YOU are STILL HERE! What a great achievement for the day! You didn’t give up, you made it! That in my eyes, is a very successful win against any Mental Health demon trying to destroy you. You’re winning this battle, man! You got this!

Take a moment to think about all the things in life you love. Even if it’s stars, space, Doctor Who, Supernatural, reading, music, tattoos, writing, nature, animals, photography, drag queens, history – it can be anything you love and want to spend your time doing/ watching/ being in or around. Now think about all the times you felt like everything was just too much. Wouldn’t you much rather go watch the stars from your back garden with a warm cup of hot chocolate before you go to bed at night? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to stay in a cosy blanket and binge watch all of those Doctor Who episodes with your pet sat beside you? To listen to music full volume with your bedroom windows wide open singing your heart out along with your favourite band? Imagine doing the things you love the most instead of doing something destructive. When you feel so bad and awfully and that life is a pile of shit, why not go to your favourite spot in the park? Or go watch a film in the cinema. Camp outside and have your own adventure. You’ve got nothing to lose by going to a place that brings you happiness, comfort and more than anything, hope.

There’s so much more I could say, and so much more I want to say. But for now, I think the points made here are enough for today. If you have anything you’d like to talk to me about, or even if you just need a friend / stranger to rant and vent to. Never, ever hesitate to contact me. You can comment on my posts asking for my social media and I’ll gladly give it to you and we can chat there. If you need any advice for yourself or others and aren’t sure where to go, again, please feel free to message me if you feel like I’d be of help. I won’t ever let anyone stand alone in this war we have between our mental health. You’re never alone. Not even when you feel lonely. You’ve got a girl in South Wales that would be heartbroken if you felt like you had no one around to talk to, or to care for you. Even if she is a lost girl, she cares for you. This post is for anyone that needs to hear the validation of their existence in this cruel world. This is for my friends. For Chris. For anyone suffering and needs to remember that they are what makes this world beautiful and interesting and worth living for. The negativity will end, just please don’t end yourself before you see that beautiful sunshine at the end of the darkness. And for me, please, have an awfully big adventure with your life.

blackbird-3

Posted in Books, Lifestyle, Mental health, Personal

Quotes To Get You Through The Day.

Keeping with this years theme of being positive and keeping those thoughtful vibes flowing, I decided to create something a little bit different on my blog. I decided to collect some quotes that my friends, family and myself adore that help get us through the day when we’re surrounded by negativity and darkness. I hope you enjoy this new kind of post on my blog! Here are the quotes we believe help get you though the day.

1) 

17022224_1369896313054372_2816084072853507389_n

2) fall-in-love-with-yourself

3)

full_size

4)

impossible

5)end-the-violencebreakthe-silence

6)

once-you-make-a-decision

7)

Perfect the art of.png

8)the-darkest-night

9)

c575402dbf269d95cbccf1cd3a9eea8b

10)

d23a239dc7870b08bb2c4a9ba936b4c4

 

I hope you enjoyed these beautiful quotes! I even had the chance to design a few of them! What were your favourites? Let me know in the comments below! If this is quite popular then I’ll definitely be doing another post similar, and your favourite quotes could end up in the post! If you liked the designed of pictures 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8  and wanted to use them- please let me know as I designed them! I’ve yet to design a water mark or logo thingy for myself so that’s why there’s nothing on them currently. Either way, I hope you enjoyed and saw my nod towards Peter Pan/ J.M Barrie towards the end, and in the boy’s words himself, have an awfully big adventure!blackbird-3

Posted in Lifestyle, LUSH, Mental health, Personal

I’m Thankful For…

Last Summer when things got too much for me, I decided to try and remain calm by reminding myself of all the things I’m thankful for. Sometimes I feel utterly lost and alone, and then, because of that genius idea, I get to look back on all the things that have made me thankful, happy, stronger and overall better. So I thought, why not share what I’m thankful for at the moment.

1)  My Mum

 

I will forever and always be thankful to my mum for everything she’s ever done for me. She’s my rock, best friend, therapist, confidant, landlord, hamster grandma, but best of all, she’s my mum. I know I’ve put her through hell and I probably still do, but she’s never once given up on me, not through the physical illnesses I had years ago, not through the mental health saga that is my life, not through deciding to leave school, even when I suggested leaving university, she was cool with it. I’ve always got her to see me through the dark days, to hold me when I’m sick, to watch me grow and to pick me up again if I fall. I hope she knows just how grateful I am for her. I love her endlessly and I could never be without her by my side.

2) Cups of Tea. 

tumblr_nbuj3ts17R1tiyj7vo1_500.jpg

They are the be all and end all for me. Tea makes everything a little bit less painful. A break up? A loss? Feeling ill or down? Tea might not solve the problem nor will it bring anyone back from the beyond, but it always soothes the soul. I’d be completely lost without my cups of tea. Cups of tea made right are always something that cheers me up, and something I will always be thankful to be offered.

3) My Stepdad’s Parenting. 

My Stepdad, Mark, is always either annoying me to the brink of me throwing a frying pan at his head, or he’s being incredibly sweet and caring and fatherly. But either way, I feel like I can always speak to him about things that are bothering me and I know he’ll have some story in return that’ll make me feel better about the situation. Sure we argue, but who doesn’t argue with their parents? To know when to make me a cup of tea without saying a word is a talent, and one he has down to a T. To know what means a lot to me, and to accept my illness and still be supportive and caring is something only true father does. I’m blessed that I have two dads, both are pretty awesome. But Mark, he’s the one that makes the best cups of tea and has probably the most chilled our parenting style ever.

4) Showers.

handheld-shower-head.jpg

I’m usually a bath princess but when you really need to clear your mind, showers are the way forward. I don’t really know what it is, but that feeling of being cleansed by the running water really clears my mind and helps me focus on the here and now, rather than the possibility of the future or the mistakes from the past. Plus, washing your hair feels amazing when you feel like crap! You’re almost washing the bad thoughts out of your mind!

5) Thom and Andrew. 

14022171_10210372086680576_5532486446682421892_n
Thom (back) and Andrew (sunglasses)

Thom and Andrew are two of my closest friends and I absolutely adore them to pieces. They always have been supportive and loving. I feel like they’re my family and I’m theirs. They give me joy and comfort, advice and ideas, friendship and love. When times get tough, I know I will always have a message waiting for me from Andrew to cheer me up. When I need backup or have my confidence knocked, I know without a doubt Thom will not only be there to help me back on my feet, but he will also defend me until he’s out of breath. Those two incredibly good-hearted lads mean the world to me, and I make sure that everyday they know I love and appreciate them so much.

6) Lush.

15.jpg
LUSH CARDIFF BOIII

I have always loved Lush, and I will continue to always love Lush. But since working there, my love and respect for everyone that works with us has grown immensely. I feel utterly at peace and at home whenever I walk through the front door. Not only do Lush create and sell incredible products that help with everything, working there has given me the strength and confidence to move forward with my life. Despite having a mental illness, I feel capable, accepted, welcomed and trusted in Lush. My coworkers are like a second family and I honestly cannot be more thankful to Lush. Working at Lush makes me feel like I’m doing something productive and something that others benefit from. That’s honestly one of the best feelings in the entire world and I can’t thank Lush enough for giving me the opportunity to do that.

7) Dogs. 

IMG_6706.JPG
My very own Darcie Dog.

If you don’t know me, then you’ll probably not know that I absolutely adore animals. Especially dogs! Dogs are everything to me and whenever I see a dog or I get the chance to pet one, I go out of my way to keep the day positive and happy because, why would bad and negative things happen when dogs are around? Dogs are good and pure and I’m just very thankful that they’re in this world. I’m thankful that my dog is awesome even if she does hate me sometimes.

8) My Dad. 

My Dad will always try crack a smile out of everyone no matter the situation. Recently, with my granddad being ill, he has been suck a rock to me and my grandma. He’s been keeping everyone going and keeping us all hopeful. I know he tries his best in every single situation and honestly he’s someone that I’m utterly proud to have in my life. He may be the world’s biggest dad joke teller, but at least I get to hear those cheesy puns on a daily basis – and you never know, somedays a cheesy pun is exactly what you need to hear! My dad will always give advice and be supportive of everything that I decide to do. And I just hope he knows that I truly am thankful for him. Always.

9) My Granddad. 

IMG_2662.JPG
Me and Grumpy Gramps

My Granddad has been very sick recently, but we know he’s on the mend seeing as he’s telling everyone that he needs a ‘dump’ and someone to wipe his arse properly! It’s little things like that, that really make me appreciate my Granddad even more. Not only is he a strong fighter, he’s also hilarious and comes out with golden sayings like that. He’s always encouraged my choices and has supported me no matter what. And for that, I can never ever express how grateful I am to have him in my life.

10) My Hamsters (Sam and Dean). 

15965257_10154861070591948_5559429290046383829_n.jpg
Sam (pale) and Dean (dark)

My beautiful hamsters have been such a blessing in my life. Animals are natural antidepressants for me. Sam and Dean (yes they are named after Sam and Dean Winchester, fight me) calm me down and they ground me into the moment. In the middle of an episode, I can be sobbing uncontrollably, on the brink of a panic attack or about to spend all of my money on crap I don’t need. But my hamsters, they remind me to keep calm and to look after myself like I’d look after them. They bring me natural joy and make my day even better just by having them in my life. I’m just so grateful that I’m able to have Sam and Dean and to be able to call them mine.

Those were just 10 things that I am extremely grateful and thankful for in my life at the moment. I’m thinking about making a post like this every now and then to ensure everyone knows who and what I’m grateful for. Obviously Everyone mentioned above will continuously be on the list, but I’ll be making sure new people and things feature in new posts. If you’re having a hard time at the moment and are struggling to find the good in life, just think of all the things you’re grateful for. They can be as simple as water, your bed, a TV show, a pet, cheese or whatever else you’re thankful for. If you decide to make a post like this, let me know! I’d love to see what you guys have to say. Until next time, have an awfully big adventure for me.

lily

Posted in Lifestyle, Mental health, Personal

My New Year’s Resolutions

Happy 2017, Lost Kids! I sincerely hope that this year is better than the last for you all. Even if you had the best year of your life in 2016, let’s make 2017 even better! I may be a few days late posting this, but what a better way to start a brand new year than with New Year’s Resolutions?!

The first resolution I have is to reply faster to messages, emails, texts and so on. I’m honestly just so bad at replying to anything and everything that I usually miss out on key pieces of information. But this year, I’ll stop procrastinating and get to replying to messages as soon as I can.

Secondly, I want to challenge my mental illness. I want to do things that end the stigma surrounding Bipolar and Cyclothymia. Obviously it won’t end the stigma all together, but if I can make a difference in my community, friendship circle or family then that’s still a huge achievement. I’ve applied to have a supervisor job at work and honestly, I’m terrified. But that’s just because I’m thinking of all the stigma surrounding my mental health issues, not about what I’m capable of. Even if I don’t manage to get the job, it’s still a huge step to even be considered for that role with the issues I suffer with on a day-to-day basis.

Having said that, I also want to come out of my head more. What I mean by that is, I want to stop thinking and start doing. If I overthink things I end up not going through with my original plans. I really need to do this, not just for the personal gain it’ll grant me, but also it’ll help me take opportunities either through my current job, or via the media.

I would love to do more to raise awareness of Mental Health Issues. I want to be more active in raising awareness, breaking the stigma and helping others that need it. Either by posting articles online, talking about it on local radio shows, or just becoming more active on social media about Mental Health. We keep losing great, talented and beautiful people due to mental health and the fear they have with admitting they need help and the judgement they may receive. It’s time for that to end. 2017 is the year for that to end.

To practice mindfulness more often and getting into a routine again. Mindfulness was first introduced to me by my mum who suggested I research Ruby Wax’s books and her experience with mental health and mindfulness. I used to practice mindfulness before being put on my antidepressants – and since then, my ‘mental muscle’ hasn’t really been put to use. This year, I’m hoping to get back into this calming and peaceful routine and hopefully it’ll ensure easier days and happier thoughts.

And finally, to accept myself and show myself the love and compassion I deserve. Not only will this give me the confidence I need to achieve other goals I will be setting myself throughout this year, but it will help me finally realise, I am pretty much a punk rock princess and I deserve love, compassion and respect from myself. I also believe this will help me bring down any walls I have put up due to my lack of self-confidence and self-esteem from previous incidents in my past.

So those are my New Year’s Resolutions! I’ve also decided that I’ll be basing this year around the word ‘Positivity’. By putting positive vibes out into the world, I truly believe that some good will come out of it. Last year, so many negative things happened, the negativity was so strong people almost lost hope. But not this year. This year will be positive and full of good and pure vibes. Let me know down below what your New Year’
s Resolutions are and if you base your year on a word! And until next time, have yourself an awfully big adventure!lily

Posted in Beauty, Lifestyle, Mental health, Music, Personal

November 2016 Favourites.

Yet another month has come and gone! How mental is that?! In the blink of an eye, November turned into chilly December. For me it’s gone by a little bit too fast! None the less, November most definitely did have it’s perks, and these are some of my favourite things that I fell in love with in November.

Comfy red shawl / scarf. 

Unknown.jpeg
Frank and myself as I’m wearing the scarf as a cloak lol

If you know me really well, you’ll know that I’m always, always cold. Even in the summer when it was boiling hot, I sat in the garden with huge fluffy slippers and a blanket wrapped around me burrito style. So needless to say that when winter rolls around each year, I’m constantly seeking refuge in the oversized, and warm looking section of every single clothes store I can find. However, this year, my mum beat me to it. She found a scarf / shawl from Primark that was exactly what I’ve been looking for! After I purchased my beautiful red checkered scarf, I was so cosy and warm, I fell asleep happily wrapped up in it. This was most definitely one of the highlights of my November as sad as that sounds.

You can get it at Primark for £4. (Others are available and prices do vary)

Glory Days – Little Mix 

album-review-little-mix-glory-days-01.jpg

November was a great month for music, especially for my girls Little Mix. The British girl band released their third album in mid November, and it’s probably the best album they’ve released to date! After having a rocky few months in their personal lives, the girls came back with an empowering album that will go down as the ‘Girl Power’ album of 2016. The songs released are beautiful, honest and sometimes heartbreaking. But more than anything, they’re inspiring young people, especially young girls, to not let a partner / an ex-partner rule their lives and have a negative impact on their futures. This is such an important message for young people these days seeing as cases of domestic abuse are continuously rising. Hopefully anyone that listens to this album will feel empowered enough to do what’s best for them and put themselves first. In my opinion, Little Mix have created an album that has strong underlining theme of feminism, and have reached out to their fans and anyone else that listens to their music to never settle for something or someone that treats them less than equal and without respect.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

crazy-ex-girlfriend-spoilers.jpg

I finally had the chance to catch up with Season 2 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in November! The first season left us with the biggest cliffhanger of all, Rebekah FINALLY had her moment with Josh …. at his engagement party. What was going to happen to Rebekah and Greg? I love Rebekah and Greg more than Rebekah and Josh, so obviously I was devastated for Greg, who was completely oblivious to what was happening at the time due to passing out blind drunk. But still. Poor Greg.

Season 2 picked up where it left off, but with a few changes. I won’t go into too much detail, just in case – but most of the characters have changed and developed, and it’s brought a brand new vibe to the show. Not only is it a fantastic new show that combines musicals, comedy and drama that has underlining themes of mental health, addiction and feminism – it brings characters we’d usually overlook to life. Of course there are some stereotypes in the show, but since season 2 has kicked off, the stereotypes are slowly being stripped away thus creating multifaceted characters that are strong enough to hold main narratives / subplots without the need for supporting characters to ensure the success of that storyline. This is most definitely one of the best shows I’ve ever decided to watch- thanks Netflix Suggestions!

Retrofest 

12672194_413204578804890_7163566483361046459_o.png

Retrofest is a pop up fashion festival that usually takes place in the Cardiff area. It’s run by a close friend of mine, so when I found out Retrofest was returning to Cardiff just before Christmas time, it excited me greatly. I went with two of my best friends, Thom and Andrew and took to prowling the stalls for bargains and incredible purchases. We met a non-profit organisation called Heads Above The Waves that offers help and support for those that are suffering with depression, self-harm and such. We spoke to them for some time and were extremely touched that they set up an organisation that’s extremely close to our hearts. The people at Heads Above The Waves were completely and utterly lovely and they most definitely made us feel welcome and gave us a strong sense of community. Retrofest also supports local businesses like Cosy Cat Vintage, Amy Laura Smith clothing, Rock Ola Reborn, Dizzy Pineapple and The Vegan Pizza Co. It’s a beautiful event that happens every couple of months that brings people together in the most stunning way possible. If you’ve never been to Retrofest and you’re in the Cardiff area when it next pops up, definitely go check it out! It’s a unique and quirky festival that’s full of life and colour that definitely deserves more attention.

Panic! At The Disco – Cardiff Show 

IMG_8476.JPG

As soon as I heard that Panic! were coming to Cardiff, I think I wet myself. I instantly grabbed some tickets and counted down the days until I could officially say I’ve seen the Holy Trinity of Emo (My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and of course Panic! At The Disco) and let my soul rest in peace. Listening to them really brings back memories of when I was in the midst of my Emo days, and honestly, I relish every second of it. As soon as they came on stage, I was thrown back to my 14/15 year old self in my room listening to them, wearing thick black eyeliner, wearing ‘ironic’ shirts, writing a novel that was about to become the next big thing and despising anything that seemed false or negative around me. My friend Martha and I did have a few drinks before the show, and I’ll admit I was ever so slightly drunk, BUT – it was the BEST concert I’ve been to in the arena. They hardly needed gimmicks or a lot of action on stage, the pure talent of the band and of course, front man Brendan Urie was enough to keep the crowd satisfied and entertained. Everything about the gig was exactly how I imagined it, and I was most definitely not disappointed by any of it.

The setlist was everything I could have asked for. I screamed like a lunatic when The Ballad of Mona Lisa started playing – again I was thrown straight back into my Emo days reliving some bittersweet memories. But it was perfect. I can’t even describe how incredible it was to be able to have the experience of seeing one of my absolute favourite bands in person, but also experience the same feelings and thoughts I once had the first time I ever listened to them. It was most definitely a literal throw back.

IMG_8455.JPG

Brendan actually showed us his drumming skills once they brought a second drum set on stage and he let loose on those things! It was utterly captivating. The shear talent of that man is un-comprehendible, his vocal range is beyond incredible! I honestly couldn’t get my head around how perfect his voice was in person. I had actual goosebumps when they performed Bohemian Rhapsody. I was just in awe of the talent of the people on stage. If you ever, ever, have the chance to see Panic! live, please do take that chance to see them! Even if you’re not a hardcore fan, or even know a lot of their material. It’s so worth it just to see the talent and experience one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live.

Heads Above The Waves (based in Cardiff) 

headsabovethewaves.png

As I mentioned before, I met representatives of a non-profit organisation during Retrofest called Heads Above The Waves. I wanted to add these guys in my November Favourites as they deal with issues that are very, very close to my heart. And this time of year can be extremely tough for some people who suffer with mental health, self-harm and so on. Not only are they always happy to help, they’re always so lovely and kind and will always point you in the right direction to seek further help. They also listen to the young people that come to them for advice and cater to their needs. Each person is seen as a person, not a problem, or another case of self-harm, a victim of bullying etc. It’s a really great organisation that I’m so glad I found by chance. For further information on the organisation and information about what to do / who to contact when things get too much visit their website here.

The Purple Project! 

THE.png

I feel like I’m tooting my own horn a bit here, but this is something I’m super proud of. I started a project/ competition called The Purple Project. All you have to do is go outside, create a video, take picture(s), write about the experience / how the experience makes you feel – or even how the colour purple makes you feel. Throw it online and use #ThePurpleProject and #FindYourNeverland so I can find it. The top 5 entries will be getting a little something, something for their effort and time. For more information I’ll leave my blog post explaining it all and my Facebook page so you can see updates on the competition as the month goes by! Please do get involved! I promise, it’ll be super fun!

So until the New Year, that’s it for 2016 favourites posts. I wish you guys a fantastic Christmas, Hanukkah and a happy which ever holiday you celebrate personally! I hope December is kind to you and brings you everything you’ve wished for. And I will speak to you guys soon in my Blogmas posts!

lily

Posted in Lifestyle, Mental health, Personal, YouTube

The Purple Project / COMPETITION!

THE.pngISN’T IT TIME WE HAD SOME FUN?!

I’ve been planning this for sometime now, and I hope that you guys will join me on this purple journey! What I’ve decided to do is home in on a certain colour. I of course chose purple, my favourite colour in the entire world. What’s so important about the colour purple I hear you ask? Well, that’s entirely up to you! For me, purple represents adventure, Neverland, magic, home, space and an entire world of opportunity. Purple is all around me in my every day life, and recently I’ve started noticing feelings linked to the colours I see around me. With The Purple Project, what I want you guys to do is go out and film anything you see around you that’s purple. Go on an actual adventure! Explore new places! Find that purple! You can ask people what the colour purple means to them, try find ways to express how it makes you feel by using your creative skills. As long as you go out and use your skills and then throw them on social media by using the #FindYourNeverland and #ThePurpleProject, it doesn’t matter if it’s good, bad, long, short, a video involving people, or a video with nothing more than still images. You can take a picture/ pictures and write about how those pictures / going on the adventure to get those images made you feel. I want you guys to go out and discover new places. I want you guys to go out there and get your purple on!

In recent months, there’s been so much hate, anger and confusion as to where our futures are heading. Over here in the UK we’ve had to deal with the aftermath of Brexit and a lot of us are still scared and confused, whereas some people have accepted it and planned for the unknown future. And needless to say America is divided about their current President. The constant horror stories streaming in from Syria are always plastered on our TV’s, online, on our radio’s. So why not go out into the world and try find some piece of innocents left in it? Find your very own Neverland. Find your new favourite place to spend those lazy Sunday’s. Not every single clip has to contain the colour purple. You can be as creative or as basic as you want. All I’m asking for you to do is, go out and find the magic I know the world still has left in it. Let’s remind ourselves that despite the horrific events in the world, and the demons we have to face every day, that the world is still beautiful, and that we, even with everything going on around us and in our heads, we will always be validated. We are here. We are alive. We are magic.

We can sit and be afraid for our futures, or we can go out and actually remind ourselves what we’ve got left to fight for. Let me know what the colour purple means to you by creative a video and posting it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube by using the #FindYourNeverland and #ThePurpleProject. The top 5 videos / creative projects that I see will win some purple goodies and a chance to collaborate with me on a project of your choosing (obviously within reason) and to showcase your work in a creative environment linked with my social media and university- and it’s not just limited to the UK, no matter where in the world you are, you can participate! So, what’re you waiting for?! You’ve got an awfully big adventure to go on!

The Purple Project will be running from the 1st of December until New Year’s Day. Winners and honourable mentions will be announced the first full weekend of 2017 (7.1.17-8.1.17). Any questions or enquiries about this event, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

My Email is lilithmae96@gmail.com

Twitter
Facebook

lily

Posted in Mental health, Personal

Living With Cyclothymia.

To say living with a mild form of Bipolar is exhausting is most definitely an understatement. To go from being insanely happy and content, to wanting nothing more than to stay in bed, feeling heavy and glum with a mind that seems like it’s about to melt out through your ears. It’s a tough thing to live with.

Currently I’ve got the diagnostic of Cyclothymia, however my doctor, my family, and my close friends all know that it will eventually turn into full-blown Bipolar, however, it may very well stay stable and not develop into full-blown Bipolar. At first when I heard this, I was truly scared. There’s a lot of prejudice and misconception surrounding these disorders and I would hate to think that my future and my achievements would be judged solely based on a condition I have. A lot of people fear hearing the words ‘Depression’, ‘Bipolar’, ‘Schizophrenia’ more than they fear cancer or other terminal illnesses. And why is that? At least with cancer, you can physically see the side effects of it, thus showing people you really are ill and do need that extra bit of help. With mental health issues such as Depression, Bipolar, Cyclothymia and such, they’re far less visible. Many people become doctors and give the most fantastic piece of advice to those of us that are suffering which is ‘Just cheer up! Life could be so much worse!’ – Um, hello? If it was that easy, do you think people who are suffering badly would just, you know, stop feeling that way and in turn, stop their suffering? If only it was that easy!

Not only do I aim to help those that are suffering with anything that I am, but I also aim to educate those that are a little wobbly on this subject matter. This is what it’s like, for me, to live with Cyclothymia and the challenges that come with it.

I’ve been suffering with Depression for about 5-6 years now. When my journey with mental health issues only just began, I was thrown right in there amongst the prejudice and the stigma that surrounds it all. I was told by teachers to ‘build a bridge and get over it’ – this was after being bullied for years, self harming, and one or two suicide attempts. Because that’s just something you can build a bridge and get over isn’t it? Life was utter hell during those years. My mood swings were getting increasingly worse. My downs were close to horrific. Little things would send me flying off the handle, screaming, crying, wanting to die. It could be anything that would set me off. My step dad touching my shoulder while I read a book, my mum not paying attention to something on the telly… anything. And I’ll admit, it’s very embarrassing to actually come out and say that. At the time it was the most embarrassing thing in the entire world. Not one person my age that I knew of did anything like that. Why was I different? It continued to make me feel isolated and misunderstood, so by the time breaking point came, I was consumed in being labelled as that ‘Freak’, ‘The Emo’, ‘Clinically Insane’ – but that’s not who I was. I was still Lily. I will forever be Lily. It took me a long time to come to that realisation, which is rather silly when I look back on everything. Who else am I going to be?

Finally the idea to actually look up mental health issues linked with Depression crossed my mind. I did a few of those quizzes the NHS post online to try narrow down my search. First off, I went straight to Schizophrenia. It was the one disorder that I understood the least, but during the period of being bullied that’s what I was being labelled as. Straight away it indicated that I had very little symptoms to even suggest Schizophrenia was in fact what I was suffering with.

After scrolling through and finding disorders that I’d never heard of, I finally reached one in regards to Bipolar. Before the quiz started, it informed me that there are two main types of Bipolar (Bipolar | and Bipolar ||) however, there was another cheeky type, a lesser known type of Bipolar called Cyclothymia. I took this all in and continued with the quiz. And lo and behold, this was the first time anything made sense. The symptoms they listed, I related to. Excessive spending? In my opinion, yes. Drastic mood swings? Definitely! Periods of feeling confident, happy and almost ‘high’? Of course. Episodes of Depression? Yep! Sleeping can be an issue? Most definitely! I won’t list them all, but you see where I’m going with this. The idea played on my mind for a few years, but I couldn’t figure out if I was just one of those people who looked into it too deeply, or if it was actually me. There came a point towards the beginning of this year that I just had to ask my mum what she thought. To my complete and utter surprise, she’d been thinking the same as me. I was shocked, I didn’t think it was that obvious what I was going through. But apparently it was. So in January 2016, I finally got diagnosed with Cyclothymia. The apparently very common yet lesser known type of Bipolar.

It was beyond a relief to finally understand what was going on with me and my mental health. I came to terms with it shortly after the diagnostic, and slowly the fear of having that misconception, prejudice and stigma surrounding my condition didn’t bother me anymore. I knew that I was Lily. I knew that I was still a person who deserved respect and validation. I wasn’t some ‘untouchable’ creature that should be shunned by society. I was, and still am Lily. I am a sister, a friend, a daughter, a cousin, a creative, bright young lady that has a future, who also suffers with Cyclothymia.

Even with a more positive outlook on my diagnosis, living with Cyclothymia is hard. It’s exhausting in ways you couldn’t even imagine unless you have it. When you’re in the middle of an episode, Depressive or Manic, all you can do is watch helplessly as your personality crumbles and you become a stranger. All you can do is sit and watch as everything unfolds. I know my episodes don’t just affect me, but also my mum. And that’s something I hate the most about my disorder. My mum doesn’t have Cyclothymia yet she’s the one that also suffers with me when my episodes erupt. Sadly, with all mental illnesses, just like physical illnesses, it affects the people you love and are the closest to the most. The love and kindness that my mum has shown me throughout my lifetime has given me a standard of the love and kindness I should show every single person I come across. She sees the person, not their mental illness, skin colour, race, religion etc. She’s my hero and she’s the real reason I keep a positive outlook on my life with this disorder.

The fact I get judged by friends and peers for sleeping a minimum of 10-12 hours a day utterly disheartens me. It’s not that I’m lazy or that I’m staying up until God-knows-when doing God-knows-what. It’s the fact that sleep consumes me. If I don’t have at least 1/2 days free for myself to do nothing at all, I will end up crashing. With uni and work, the chances of having that much-needed me time is very, very slim. I know what most people will say, ‘why not give up your job?’ – the twisted thing about uni is, you get given a student loan but it hardly covers anything. I need a job to keep myself afloat. I need my job to keep me independent. If I don’t have my job, my job that I love and am completely and utterly passionate about, then I will be at a complete loss. Lush has given me a lifeline to be myself, it’s given me access to the help and support I need, when I need it. There is little to no discrimination, prejudice or misconception in my work environment. That’s why I need my job. In a world where there will be stigma around a disorder I so happen to have, stigma surrounding any mental illness, Lush gives me that safe haven where I can be completely me.

The fact I get tired so easily can be a result of the many meds that I take. But it’s also a well-known side effect of Cyclothymia. You will always end up waking up tired, no matter if you sleep a solid 9 hours or a measly 3 hours. The tiredness lasts for what seems like forever. I don’t hate or judge the people who criticise or judge me for it, in fact I aim to educate them. I am practically a 90 year old woman living in a 20 year old’s body. I will be more likely to snuggle up on the sofa with a nice cuppa, under a blanket getting right into the night’s episode of Eastenders, than to be staying up all night, drinking, partying and doing whatever the heck else they assume I’m doing. Sleep is just something I have to do in order to regain energy so I can continue to be myself. To continue to fight for myself.

Oh, and the mood swings! I can’t even keep up with what mood I’m in anymore. For example over the weekend, one minute I was happy and feeling productive with my uni work, and then the next, panic and anxiety took over. I was convinced I wasn’t going to see my parents again. That my house was going to collapse and that I was to die there and then. The tears didn’t stop for hours. It resulted in an argument with my family because I couldn’t find the words to express what happened or how I was feeling. Eventually when that episode ended, all of my energy was zapped. I felt weak and vulnerable and completely guilty for causing an unneeded argument in my household. However, the next day, the previous day’s events were almost completely forgotten. I was buzzing! I went into work, felt confident, felt happy, almost in a ‘high’ sort of way. I made every single customer I saw to laugh, feel comfortable and gave them the validation that can sometimes be lacked in other stores. My sales were impressive (if I do say so myself), and for once, I felt like I was Super Woman. I could do anything that day. I felt like nothing could bring me down, and in all honesty, I felt like I was someone else. I felt like I was the person I should always be. But none the less, it took it’s toll on me, so on Monday, I had no energy left in me to even get myself up for university. It’s not just about having your moods change drastically, or switching from one feeling to the next – it’s the toll it takes on you that makes it all so very tiring. When you’ve started a project you think you can handle, just to realise later on that you really can’t handle finishing it, that makes you feel like a failure. Like you can’t handle the goals you set yourself. But, in reality, when things end up like that, I look back and notice that the goals I set myself were way beyond what I was capable of during that time. It’s that feeling of ‘I can take on anything’ that really knocks me side ways most times. Because I truly believe I can take on anything, but somethings take longer than others. My condition just makes it harder for me to see when I should draw the line.

Having said that, it’s heartbreaking to feel unsure of your own decisions. My heart utterly broke when my mum was consoling me after I had a mild panic when she said ‘it’s okay, I forget your brain doesn’t work as it used to, too’. That made me crumble. Even with a positive look on life, and trying to spread a positive message within the Mental Health community and to educate and help others, that one simple sentence from my mum reminded me how sick I can get. My brain doesn’t work as it used to. It takes me longer to process and understand things. Life is a lot harder these days. Sometimes we all forget about the invisible illness that’s constantly lurking. And that’s okay. To forget, to feel equal – that’s one of the best feelings ever. But then suddenly you’re thrust back into this world where episodes are a thing and there’s a prejudice surrounding an illness you live with. My aim with this post isn’t to tell you what my life is like, but it’s to give everyone and anyone an idea of what life with Cyclothymia and other mental illnesses is like. So we don’t ever have to forget our illnesses to feel equal. We don’t have to be ashamed of our illnesses to feel like we are good enough. Because we will ALWAYS be good enough. With or without a mental illness, nothing can stop us from achieving what we strive for. Brains are weird, each and every one of us is unique and different, so are our brains. All I’m asking of you is to remember, not everyone thinks like you. Be patient.

There is always that worry at the back of my mind thinking about when/ if my Cyclothymia develops into Bipolar | / Bipolar ||. What will it be like for me? Will it really change my life? Will I still be able to achieve my dreams and goals? There’s just so many unknowns floating around about my future with this disorder. But there’s one thing I know for definite, I won’t ever, EVER, give up on being me. I won’t ever let a disorder, illness, my past interfere with my future or achieving what I’ve dreamt of for years. In Fall Out Boy’s words ‘I didn’t come for a fight, but I will fight ‘till the end’ sums up everything I stand for these days. If anything challenges me, I will step up and fight for myself. What’s the point in fighting the stigma and helping others if I can’t even fight for myself and my rights and my future? No matter what happens, even if I’m not mentally prepared for it, I won’t ever give up fighting for myself. I won’t like my diagnosis of Cyclothymia define me. I won’t like Depression limit my abilities. I won’t let my past influence my future. I am Lily. I am 20 years old. I have Cyclothymia, a very common type of Bipolar. I am important. I am worthy. I am capable. I am a survivor. My illness is not who I am. I will have an incredible future despite having an illness.

So if you take anything away from this post, please, please, remember to always send love. Reach out for help if you are suffering. And remember, I am always here for anyone. Friend or stranger, if you need a friend, I will be here. Ready to go on an awfully big adventure with you all. Always.

lily