Monday, 21 March 2016

Common Misconceptions | #LetsTalkMentalHealth

When it comes to raising awareness about mental health, I'm all for it (hence why I started the hashtag #LetsTalkMentalHealth in a previous post)! However, over recent years there is one thing I have come to learn.

On a daily basis, mental health faces many misconceptions due to it's lack of awareness. Who it might affect, why people experience mental health problems. Pretty much anything from being diagnosed to getting help, making it all the more important to challenge these myths and help more people understand mental health.

"Young people don't experience mental health problems, it's just a part of growing up."
Back in high school, a friend of mine was diagnosed with depression. To me, he acted how he had always acted and I didn't notice his withdrawal until it was pointed out to me. I had never experienced or known anyone to have depression and at the time I found it extremely difficult to understand. "I don't get it... Why is he depressed? He's got nothing to be depressed about." He was admired, top of the class, surrounded by great friends and family. I couldn't comprehend how someone so young and loved could be suffering from a mental illness such as depression. It is only now after experiencing similar symptoms myself I realise my mistake. It's a common mistake that anyone can make. One in ten young people experience mental health problems. One in four young people experience suicidal thoughts. Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70% over the last 25 years. Having a mental health problem can happen to anyone at any time, including young people. 

"Mental health is caused by personal weakness. You can snap out of it if you try hard enough."
Having a mental health condition is not a character flaw. In fact, it is not any personal flaw. Mental health problems are to do with genetic, biological, social, environmental and historical factors. Furthermore, telling someone to snap out of being depressed or anxious would be just as effective as telling someone with their arm in a cast to straighten it. You can't "snap out" of being unwell at free will. 

"You have to have gone through something dramatic to have a mental health problem."
Mental health is a tricky thing that can come in all shapes and forms. For some people it can hit them like a bus. This could be caused by a life changing event, maybe an accident or the loss of a loved one. For me, anxiety crept upon me like a cat in the night; slow and silent. I didn't know what it was but it was suddenly there and I couldn't seem to shake it. It was only after I fully understood anxiety I was able to pinpoint the event in my life that started this rippling effect of anxiety and panic. For others it's just something that happens with no explanation or cause.

"People experiencing mental health problems can not hold down the stress of a job."
All myth. If someone experiencing mental health problems has/is getting the appropriate, sufficient and effective treatment there is nothing stopping them from being just as productive (if not more) as someone without a mental illness. From personal experience, I know many people who alongside having a mental health condition also have excellent attendance, punctuality and motivation and will no doubt not only succeed but also thrive in life.

"People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable."
Personally, I find this the most unrealistic misconception about mental health. People who are mentally unwell are no more dangerous than anyone else. In fact, they are more likely to be the victim of violence or to harm themselves before they hurt others. With the appropriate treatment and support, people who experience mental health problems can live a successful, happy life within a community, and are nothing more to be afraid of than anyone else.

"Therapy is a waste of time. Just take a pill."
There is nothing wrong in taking medication, most people find it extremely effective however for many cases it is not a permanent solution. It is just as important to gain additional support such as counselling, learning how to head on face and overcome mental health is hugely beneficial and for many long lasting.

"I can't do anything for a person with mental health problems..."
Over recent months I have been asked countless time by both my friends and family how they could support me. What could they do to help if I was feeling unwell or in the midst of a panic attack? Friends and loved ones can make a big difference regarding someone's experience of mental health. By simply reaching out and letting them know you are available, you will be making the world of difference. Take them for a coffee, go for a walk or watch a movie... There is nothing so simple yet gratifying to know you are wanted.

These are only a few common misconceptions I have personally come across. For others it's many more. So many people still face discrimination towards their mental health which is quite honestly disgusting.

I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant, but it's 2016. Time to change.


Monday, 14 March 2016

A Little Beauty Haul

Since we last spoke I explained that I got a new job... "The rest of today consists of snuggling up in a blanket and treating myself to an Internet browse, trying to restrain myself from spending my entire pay check." While I was successful not spending that Sunday, later that week I made the bad decision of taking a trip into Manchester. Needless to say I spent "some" money so I thought I would turn my lack of will power into a little beauty haul.

Catastrophe Cosmetic is by far my favourite face mask by Lush (as you can see from my finger marks) containing blueberries, calamine powder, chamomile blue oil and Irish moss gel specifically designed to sooth and soften troubled skin. The face mask is enriched with minerals and antioxidant vitamins A, C and E not to mention smells amazing. It really works a treat!

I also went for the Rosy Cheeks face mask which contains rose oil, calamine powder and kaolin. This mask is designed to cleanse and smooth the skin; "uncover calm, matte skin which says you've been kissed by a rose." I have yet to try this one out but (per usual) the product smells amazing!

Of course I couldn't go to Lush without buying a both bomb, so I went for the Titsy Totsy bomb after hearing great reviews! Titsy Totsy is scented with a combination of florals including geranium, jasmine and rose... mmm! What sold this to me even more is the fact that it is also studded with several real rosebuds.

After some consideration I also bought myself some new mac lipsticks and pencils. 

First off the lip pencils. The pencils I bought are in the shades Spice and Soar. If you're looking for a simple matte finish then I would recommend a mac lip pencil. There are a variety of pigmented shades that last throughout the day, with a soft, precise edge that makes it very easy to apply. If you can't afford both a lip pencil and lip stick I would definitely recommend the lip pencil!

The lipsticks I bought are in the shades Velvet Teddy and Brave. Velvet Teddy is a brown-nude colour with a matte finish that doesn't give that orangey colour some taupe lipsticks can give. Brave is a satin, slightly more pigmented, reddish colour with more of a shiny finish in comparison. Both are bullet shaped, with a sweet, vanilla(ish) scent that I absolutely love!

When it comes to my eyebrows I always get self conscious. I have very light, fine hair so like many people I fill my eyebrows in, however I'm always worried that they're a shade to dark, or maybe drawn onto blotchy and thick making trying to find the perfect eyebrow pencil a tricky task. On a trial and error I picked out the Archery Brow Pencil by Soap and Glory in the shade hot chocolate and I absolutely love it! It's a 2 in 1 brow filling pencil and brush that gives you full, precise control when shaping your brows.

I also bought the Arch De Triumph brow shaper and highlighter by Soap and Glory. I especially love the highlighter as it is very easy to apply and blend. A definite recommendation! 

Lastly I restocked my Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. This cleanser is by far my favourite as it leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated. It also lives up to its 200 uses guarantee at a very affordable price.

I hope you enjoyed this little beauty hall and I'll see you again soon!


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Being Catastrophic

I've got 99 problems and 89 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that I'm stressing out about for no logical idea.

I am an overly obsessive analytical fusspot that allows my mind to wonder into the weirdest (and most unlikeliest) situations. To say things escalate quickly is an understatement. Sometimes the scenario can be fairly ordinary, something that most people wouldn't need to think twice about.

"Hey, do you want to get tickets to see Cage the Elephant?"

Sure, that sounds like fun!

Except, I'll have to get on a train full of people... That's nothing in comparison to the crowd outside the arena, never mind inside -

- Don't be silly you used to get on trains without a problem before. Forget about the crowd and think about the band. You'll have so much fun!

I guess... But what if I don't feel well on the day? What if I get nauseous and I embarrass myself and my friends.

Stop, your friends will look after you. Besides they wouldn't invite you if they didn't want you there.

What if I lose them in the crowd. It gets hot in venues like these what if I faint? What if I get trampled? Maybe it's too much hassle than it's worth...

"I dunno... Can I let you know?"

Get the gist?

I have a tendency to be catastrophic. It's not intentional, in fact it's quite the opposite. Overthinking leads to negative thoughts, creating problems that don't even exist. That's exactly what the mind does. However, there are many ways (almost tips if you will) to help fade out those negative thoughts and overcome a problem without overthinking it.

Find a Distraction
A distraction can be almost anything you want it to be. Talking to a friend, walking the dog or perhaps even binging on your favourite tv show. Although to some this may seem as though you're avoiding the situation all together this tip can actually be extremely effective (from personal experience, depending on the situation of course). I sometimes find that the less I think about it the less of a situation it becomes. I don't get stressed and when the event eventually comes around I end up enjoying myself enormously.

Be Mindful
If you find yourself overthinking yesterdays worries or tomorrows problems, engage your full attention with every activity you undergo throughout the day. Talk yourself through every step of your day. You'll find your mind will wonder less as it's too busy focusing on the present.

Get a Different Perspective
Getting somebody else's perspective might not always go your way but it always has your best intentions at heart. Talking about a situation with someone who is not involved is very refreshing. They're not in your shoes. They will see the facts as clear as they are without other insignificant factors blinding their view. Whilst to you the situation might entail 'this, that, the other thing, oh yeah not to mention that' to them it's just 'this and that'.

Make a List of Good and Bad Things
This is the one tip I probably find the most useful. There is something so refreshing about getting it down on paper. By recognising the scribbled pros and cons out in front of you for exactly what they are is almost like seeing clearly for the first time.

Think About the Bigger Picture
Whatever situation you're worrying about, ask yourself, "Will this matter in a months time? Six months? What about a year?" If the answer is no then what is the point in overthinking it.

Sure, some of these tips might take a little practise but on the whole they could be very rewarding!


Monday, 7 March 2016

Snow Day

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