Mental Illness. One could describe it as seeing the world through a cloud of smoke. Constantly unable to see reality. Surrounded by what could of been, what might be and what never existed in the first place.
When you don’t feel you are in control of your actions, when you feel consumed by your illusion of the world. There’s a stigma that comes attached with mental illness, people see it as a weakness but what if it can make you stronger?
Yes, mental illness can make you both your weakest and strongest self. When you are at your lowest self, mental illness warps and changes your mind till you are most certainly no longer yourself.
As a kid you never understand the negative effect of mental illness, you wonder why people are acting a certain way, not realizing that sometimes there may be no logical reason for why.
You often hurt the ones you care about most when you aren’t in your right mind. You tell them you care and then the next minute go back on all that, fuck things up and hurt them without always realizing the effect of what you are doing.
What others don’t see are the mental scars inside. More often than not you hear “well if I can’t see it, it’s not there” rather than people genuinely trying to understand what is going on. I say those people can get to fuck with their judgmental opinions.
If they had experienced mental illness or had someone they were close to experiencing mental illness, they would not be saying this. They don’t realize that you genuinely are ill. They don’t understand the mental pain that goes on inside your brain.
You overthink almost every situation and every possible outcome. You overthink what others think of you, you constantly need to be reminded of the fact that people care about you. Someone does one thing to upset you and there you are calling them out while thinking that they don’t & never did give a shit about you.
People tell you they are there for you but then let you down when you need them most because they can’t handle the severeness of your thoughts. You put yourself down, you make one mistake then spend a lifetime blaming yourself for that mistake.
You see the world through a cloud of smoke as if it isn’t actually happening. You do something stupid and it passes over you as if it wasn’t you that did that. You do things then shortly after wonder why the fuck you did that and can’t understand why you did it in the first place.
For example, I once tried to add on old teacher on FB while I was still at high school. Obviously something not allowed in schools. My mind was in such an unwell state that I tried to add then sent her a series of messages on FB without realizing what I was doing. Afterwards it felt like a dream, I did not remember doing it, it took me a long time to remember what I’d done. To this date I still don’t remember any of what I had apparently messaged her. It’s almost like it was a dream, I just have the faint reminder that it happened.
This is what being unwell inside your head is like, you may do things, not even remember them and they will feel like you’ve dreamed it all. You start to hallucinate and your brain mixes reality with hallucinations. You begin to believe these hallucinations to be real and when you realize that they were in fact inside your head, it takes you a long time to work things out.
It is a horrible feeling when you realize that you imagined a whole event or multiple events that you thought were real. It fucks with your mind, it isn’t pleasant to know that you can’t even trust your own mind at times. Your mind is supposed to be one thing you should be able to trust.
It’s difficult to apologize for something when at the time, you had zero recollection of what you had done just minutes after doing it. I don’t know how else to describe the feeling of being unwell mentally other than its like being completely fucking wasted to the point you can’t stand.
Only problem is, you aren’t wasted, there is no hangover. There is no puking your guts up, being hungover for a day, feeling like crap for another few days then starting to feel no better. When you are in a low mental state, its constant, it doesn’t just cease to be. You feel like crap all the time, you may laugh it off as if your fine, but you’re not. People may see you laugh nervously and think “Oh, they are over it” but that’s not how it works.
More often than not, you can keep your mood up only so long as you are in other people’s company, the second you are alone, the pain seeps back in and its like your drowning in a confused state that no one else can understand unless they’ve been there before.
You avoid telling people how you feel because you’re fucked up mind tells you they don’t care, they don’t want to know and that they won’t be able to help. A guidance teacher lets you down big time? You become suspicious of future guidance teachers as if they are going to do the same until they prove that they are there. It really is true that actions speak louder than words. A friend fucks you over? Your trust issues increase whenever you meet someone new to the point it takes you 4 times as long as others to make friends.
When I was a kid I used to constantly not understand why my mother was acting a certain way, she’d do things to hurt me then I’d wonder why she hated me so much. It wasn’t that she hated me, it was that she just didn’t understand the extent of what she was doing and how it was hurting me.
That’s what mental illness does to a person. It twists your sense of reality to the point you don’t know how to love, how to care like an actual human being. You do things for any or no reason and you don’t realize how much you are hurting those that you say you care about. You give up at the first sign of trouble when you should fight for what you want instead.
We go through life often wishing simply to have friends and people who care about us but we don’t always realize that this is possibly a bad approach to life.
If you wander through life desperate to be liked and have people who care about you, you loose sight of who you are as a person. You become so consumed with wanting people to like you rather than focusing on liking yourself.
Perhaps what we should teach to future generations is to focus on loving & respecting yourself before you think about anyone else. In this current world, some people become so consumed in having other people liking them that they forget about themselves. They may hate themselves or blame themselves for every slight thing that goes wrong in their lives.
In high schools, a lot of children put themselves and others down while pinning all their attention on making a certain individual like them, maybe someone they see as popular, cool or just someone that they want to be friends with.
The current school system is corrupted in the sense that teaching authorities focus on results. Everything is results, results, results. I believe this is the wrong thing to be teaching children. This is the wrong approach to life.
Yes, results matter. Yes, if you have good grades you have a better chance of getting into a course or getting a job but grades aren’t the be all and end all of life. You don’t get sent to jail for not having good results, nothing bad happens. You can still get to where you want to get to, you can still get into the career you dream of. Yes, it may require a little more hard work, but not doing well at school isn’t going to lock you down for the rest of your life so you can only get into careers you hate.
Schools tend to focus so much on results that students begin to overwork themselves trying to get as many qualifications as possible. Yes its good to study and aim to get as good grades as you can at school but teachers need to realize that some students may not be able to handle the pressure of doing so many subjects at once that they have very little down time.
This can lead to depression or having low self esteem. You become so focused on getting specific grades that you put yourself down when you don’t achieve the grade you were hoping for. I think that teaching authorities should start to factor in their students health.
They should begin to think about how this heavy workload can affect the students health. They should monitor the system better so they can adapt the timetable when they notice their students struggling. When students struggle they should be able to feel more confident to go to their guidance lecturer, head of course or head of year and feel that they are being listened to.
Another common problem with the school system is that students may be struggling and will go to their teacher to not get the help they need to improve their work or to be able to understand what they are being taught.
When I was in my last year of high school I absolutely hated school. I took three classes: English, History & Administration of which I only enjoyed Administration. I was seriously struggling with English & History but wasn’t getting the help I needed.
The sad thing was that I had extra support in BOTH of these classes that was supposed to help and assist me. In History, I really didn’t like the teacher. All he ever did was read from textbooks or put on videos and this was not the way in which I could learn. He would often read whole chapters from textbooks which I would not understand but then wouldn’t help us understand if we were struggling.
Other teachers didn’t like him, he told us weeks in advance when he was going to be off ill, he even laughed at me one day and had the whole class laughing at me when I got confused with a piece of work. What didn’t help is that I didn’t get on with the teacher I had there for extra support either.
She would never help me when I was stuck because she assumed I was just at it, when in actual fact I was seriously struggling. She called me a liar on multiple occasions when I wasn’t and when I proved that to her she was rude and didn’t apologize.
I also didn’t understand what we were learning in English. Yet again, they extra support teacher thought I was at it when I didn’t understand things. Then one day, we got a new teacher for one day a week whom was Italian. I didn’t understand the woman’s accent but no one would help me because they thought I was making fun of the woman which I wasn’t.
I tried to tell my guidance lecturer that I hated History, it was making me miserable and that I wanted to drop it cause I was never going to understand it. No one would listen to me until I stormed out the class and refused to do the work. I was lucky that with English, another new teacher started teaching us one day of the week (a different day to the Italian woman) whom helped me with my folio work. I feel if it wasn’t for this teacher then I wouldn’t of passed with a B. I ended up doing all the revision the last two weeks and was surprised to see myself get a B.
Teachers like these are not what we need. As a result, students struggle even more while knowing they can’t get the help when needed. Whereas I didn’t get the help I needed to do well in my last year of high school, in college I felt I got the help I needed.
Throughout my full 3 years at college I felt I was lucky to have an amazing guidance lecturer that was a great support to me. I’ve mentioned this before, but I organized a big Scottish journalism competition for my graded unit this year. During the process of this event, I was extremely busy and didn’t think to factor in time for myself. It even got to the point I would skip lunches and not even factor in time to eat.
I suppose this was the time when I was most lucky to have such amazing support. My old guidance lecturer was my rock throughout college especially while organizing this event. He would force me to stop for a minute, force me to take a lunch break and was genuinely there for me when I felt low also. He got supportive when my team weren’t nice to me when tension got high. Without him I’d of probably had a complete break down before I even got to the night of the event.
These are the types of teachers that schools need. People who genuinely care about the health of their students and want to actually help when things get tough.
After that huge conversation diversion, back to the topic of artificial friendship. Artificial friendship is fake friendship, when people act like they are there for you but when it matters they are nowhere to be seen.
It can be difficult to realize when a friendship isn’t healthy. In my younger years of school I had a massive argument/disagreement with a girl I believed to be a friend of mine. When we fell out, she began to glue herself to the sides of the kids seen as the “popular gang.” She would bitch about me and talk about me behind my back especially in classes to make me feel small.
One day we decided to work things out and be friends again but that was probably a bad decision on my part. I remember at the time I had a teacher whom actually said to me “be careful” when I told her I was friends again with the girl in question. At the time I just dismissed this and didn’t really get what she meant. Looking back, I now understand what she meant completely.
When I finished school I realized this girl was fake and wasn’t really my friend. I think I probably realized that a while before I was finishing school. Being the child that I was, I was desperate to be liked and have friends like pretty much anyone else my age. I stayed friends with her because it was easy and convenient. It meant I had someone to hang about with at lunch times.
What I should have done was ditch her there and then. I seemed to believe this would make me a bad friend but that isn’t correct, she was the bad friend for using me. Maybe I also stayed friends with her because i’d have to see her everyday anyway.
When I left school I realized my mistakes after I asked her about meeting up multiple times to no effect. At first she would say yes, maybe even like comments on my posts. But then she began to ignore my messages/texts and just like my comments about meeting up to make her look popular.
One day I got fed up with the whole pretense of this situation that I just cut her out my life completely and I can honestly say I am genuinely happy as a result.
I would say to anyone currently feeling like they have a friend who uses them and isn’t there when they need them to cut them out their life. It may be a difficult thing for you to do and you may have to see them each day but it will make you happier if you just have people in your life who want the best for you. People who are a support when you need them most.
I am one of those people in life who struggle to see the best in myself. I see the best in everyone else and wonder why I have people who care about me in the first place. I received some great advice from someone recently to focus on what matters to me, forget the rest of the world and to do things to make myself feel happy.
That’s what I would say to anyone struggling to see the best in themselves. Focus on what is important to you and hopefully things will start to become more positive for you.
Artificial friendship is not healthy. It isn’t good for you to have people who pretend to care but don’t actually. It is often difficult to tell if someone is genuine. I would say if you feel in your gut that they aren’t, you are probably correct.
Time and time again I have put off dropping someone from my life in the hope that I’ve been wrong and something would happen to keep changing my mind. If someone seems like a black cloud around you then maybe its best to let them go.
I’m not saying you should ditch your friends at the first sign of trouble but I am saying you should have a limit. When I left school I had a good friend whom I thought I would be friends with forever. It didn’t turn out this way, things began to change for her. She had a kid and through the whole time, I told her I was there for her. I tried to show her how much I cared.
She didn’t seem to see this and kept asking me if I was still her friend. She pushed me away and I began to give her space for her and her child thinking it was a good thing. Now she has me blocked on Facebook and I lost her but I have learnt to accept this. People change and its not healthy to hang on to the past. If people change, you need to accept this as them now instead of clinging on to what has past.
When life gets too much, take some time out for yourself. Do the things you love or the things that calm you down. Run a bath, listen to music, try and realize that you deserve the same respect in which you give to others. You are human too!
Volunteering is often underestimated in any line of work. Who would want to work but not get paid for it? Right? WRONG!
Although you may not get paid for the work you do, you may find an escape away from reality and something you love to dedicate your time to. Who knows? After a while of volunteering, you may even get offered a paid job eventually.
Just because it isn’t paid, doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth the time and effort if you put it in. What happens when you apply for a job and you have equal qualifications and experience to someone else? How do they decide who they want to give the job to? They look for a person who has something extra to add to the table.
A big example of this is volunteering, volunteering not only looks great on a CV but it also 1) gets you valuable experience and 2) Can become something you love and 3) Lead to you standing out to potential employees and maybe having the edge over someone else to be given the job in question.
I have had various enjoyable volunteering experiences. One thing I would say though is: when you decide you want to get into volunteering, apply for roles in which you have a genuine interest in, don’t simply apply because you want a volunteering role as you won’t enjoy it. If you take up a volunteering role and don’t enjoy it: quit it!
I suppose that is another plus to volunteering. When it comes to volunteering you can easily quit if you find you don’t enjoy it or that it doesn’t benefit you. Whereas if you apply for a job, you often have a contract with that employer so therefore if you don’t enjoy it you can’t just quit out of it as easily as you can with volunteering.
An issue that can be associated with volunteering is the distance in which you have to travel to get there. I learnt recently that whenever applying for a job or volunteer role it is crucial to research how to get there! Don’t just go by the city its in and say that will be fine as it might not! For example, I had an interview this week for a volunteer role with a big Scottish charity, Enable Scotland. Before applying, I didn’t look up how to get there, just assumed it would be easy since I knew it was in my city. WRONG!
I booked in the interview and then, that was when I looked up how to actually get there. To my shock I found I had to not only get a train but then get a bus followed by a 25 minute walk. If you are thinking of applying for a job or volunteer role and want to know how to get there, Google Maps directions is your best friend! – https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-4.3433119,13z
No matter what route I clicked on, they all involved me having to do a 25 minute walk! I also hate public transport – especially buses! With buses, you never know where to get off. I am that awkward person that feels embarrassed to ask the driver to let me know when he approaches my stop! Besides – I have had very bad experiences with rude & very unhelpful bus drivers. But that’s a story for another day!
The only reason I knew where to get off the bus, was because of a really noisy woman on my bus. She was talking to a guy and was telling him what street she lived at the back of which happened to be the street I had to get off at! So I literally got off the bus when she did then opened google maps.
Another problem that occurs when you don’t look up how to get to your interview beforehand is not planning enough travel time. This led me to having to run full speed without enough time to even go to the toilet. I ended up running at full force from University to the train station with about 5 minutes to spare to not only get my ticket but then board the train. Also, if it wasn’t for google maps directions I would of got lost. I ended up with my face glued to google maps on my phone, following a small arrow telling me what direction to walk in. I got to my interview, bright red face, sweating with about 1 minute to spare. Nope, not the best idea I had!
Volunteering can possibly lead to a job that you wouldn’t of stood a chance at without the experience gained through volunteering. For my graded unit earlier this year at college, I organized a Scotland wide Journalism competition with involvement from all colleges & Universities with a Journalism course in Scotland.
It was difficult work and at times I wanted to give up, but it was an enjoyable experience. It also gave me the chance to work with big companies such as the BBC, Scottish Sun & Daily Record whom I wouldn’t of had the chance to work with without this experience.
Volunteering can give you opportunities to further your career and work with people or companies you would have never dreamed possible. Volunteering also gives you the chance to shock yourself and go above and beyond to achieve something you wouldn’t of otherwise felt you could achieve.
Through volunteering I have made lifelong friends whom have changed my life for the better. While I was in high school, I volunteered for a school holiday program run by my local council. I got to work with children between Primary 1 and 3.
Through this involvement, I made a friend whom is now one of my best friends who is someone I can trust and makes my life better. Through this experience, I have also made many happy memories such as when kids would tell me they loved me or that I was their friend.
When I was coming to the end of high school, I originally was wanting to go into the childcare line of work, more specifically to train to become a nursery teacher. This volunteering experience gave me experience to make me stand out from the crowd and I came close to getting a placement on a childcare course thanks to this opportunity.
Unfortunately I got the place recalled at last minute because of a reference given by a teacher whom didn’t understand me. If it wasn’t for this volunteering experience, I wouldn’t of even got offered a conditional place in the first place!
Volunteering can also help you discover yourself, find who you truly are and help shape your career. For example, throughout high school, I had a community radio station based right outside my school, Pulse 98.4. This was a perfect chance to get involved with something that I had never experienced before.
In my mid high school years I got involved with the radio station, mainly involved with a program called “Schools out” which, you’ve guessed it, featured presenters whom were all still studying at school.
This was a great opportunity for me. At the time I was a quiet, kind of shy person. My involvement here, helped me to gain confidence in myself and who I was as a person. I then developed a love of radio. If it wasn’t for Pulse, I wouldn’t of discovered my love for radio, therefore I wouldn’t of considered Media as a possible career path.
When applying for college after leaving school, I picked Childcare as my main option, Media & Communications as my backup and Administration as an extra backup. I enjoyed Administration but didn’t exactly wish to pursue it as a career. Despite my teachers telling me I should pick Administration because it could get me a job, I wanted something with a little more excitement.
When Childcare fell through, I turned to Media & Communications as a backup. Three years after making that decision, I’ve left college with a HND Media & Communications and am now pursuing it further at University. I have discovered a love & passion for something I couldn’t of known I would learn to love this much.
I have met some truly amazing people whom I intend to keep in touch with for life. I have had amazing opportunities such as the Journalism competition, chances to pitch TV shows to the BBC and an abseil I did for small charity, CMV Action where I got to push myself and do something I’ve wanted to do for years in aid of charity.
If it wasn’t for the NC Media & Communications course followed by the HND Media & Communications course at college and the constant support & encouragement I received from my guidance lecturer and other lecturers while at college, I would not of had such opportunities or be pursuing a career I am in love with.
Through volunteering, you can make a HUGE difference to the lives of other people. A big example of this is the charity called CMV Action (http://cmvaction.org.uk/) The whole team who created the charity and run the charity are ALL volunteers affected by the CMV virus. They all dedicate their time to making the charity a success and raising as much money as possible for this fantastic cause.
Another example is companies that might not have enough staff & money to pay staff to run effectively. Another charity, Project Ability (http://www.project-ability.co.uk/) take on a lot of volunteers to help the smooth running of the charity. They have regular workshops for people with disabilities/mental illness where they have a handful of staff. Therefore they take on volunteers to assist the paid staff to ensure the individuals have all the necessary support crucial to their involvement with the workshops.
It just goes to show that volunteering can help set you up for your intended career, make you stand out from the crowd and make a huge different to the lives of others! I have supplied some links that you may find useful if interested in getting involved with more volunteer work:
How do you be careful without being too careful? Being careful is difficult. If you are too careful you can find yourself living on the sidelines as if you are observing everyone’s lives whereas if you aren’t careful enough you find yourself being screwed over again and again while looking like a mug.
For example, In my younger years of high school I put all my trust in a teacher whom I believed I could trust, who promised me she was always there for me but when I needed her most she let me down. Now, I don’t blame her after the way I treated her but this is an example of me caring too much. When someone I knew in real life whom I should of been able to trust let me down, I turned to my idol Cheryl – at the worst moment of my life so far, a woman who didn’t even know I exist got me through. Her album, Messy Little Raindrops came out when I was seriously unwell and somehow managed to heal me and get me to where I am today.
I am not in the best position in my life by the slightest, but I am not in the worst. So I keep going, Cheryl is the reason for this and I owe her everything.
When you care too much you tend to get hurt but when you care too little you get seen as a horrible person and become the one who is always left out of everything. Many an occasion, I have put my trust in people only for them to let me down when I need them most. As a result, I have major trust issues and struggle to trust others. It takes me a long time to trust other people. Even then, the slightest thing can happen to put doubts in my mind about whether I can trust them. Currently, I only have about five people I can trust completely.
With this changing world, trust issues can be increasingly common. In high school, I had a girl I considered a friend whom couldn’t trust me. I tried my best to show/prove to her that I was her friend and was there for her but she couldn’t see this. She began to pick arguments with me over social media which really upset me. She wouldn’t say anything to my face, but over the internet she would get annoyed at me. I tried to let her know I didn’t want to argue with her and I wanted to be there for her if she needs me. At the end of the day, I ended up cutting all ties with her because the arguments were getting more often & I didn’t want to be in her life if it caused arguments and upset us both.
When you have trust issues you can often find yourself left behind. For example, you could start a new college course where everyone doesn’t know anyone else. Those without trust issues make friends, become close and establish their friendship groups while you are still giving the bare minimum to others, not because you don’t like them but because you don’t know if you’ll be able to trust them.
On the other hand, you could decide you can trust someone, give them your trust only to find they betray your trust & set you back into your un-trusting ways. In my last year of school I had a friendship group of between 6-8 whom I considered my friends – I now only keep in touch with 4 of them, 2 of whom are my best friends still. My friendship group basically cut in half because I either realised that people weren’t real friends, fell out with them or just drifted apart. One girl I was friends with, I still talk to her occasionally but whenever I tried to contact her about meeting up, she’d either say yes without wanting to arrange anything or just ignore me. Another, I realised was fake, was never there for me when I needed her and had screwed me over multiple times. I even had a high school teacher warn me to be careful in my younger years when I made up with this girl, I never understood what she meant, but now I do. A third girl randomly decided to ditch a bunch of friends for no reason.
People change and times change but this has never been very helpful in my trust of other people. I organised a big event this year which ended on a sour note and only spoke to two people about it when I was feeling low because of it, another example of my lack of trust for others in general.
In other news, if you care too little you may find yourself gliding through life without a care for anything, without a passion, just a hopeless life wishing for something more. If you give yourself fully to a situation, yes you can be hurt, yes someone may break you down but you may find a passion or love worth the pain, something that keeps you going, keeps you happy and looking forward to living your life even more.
At the end of the day, I feel you should judge your life in measures. Take everything as it comes, if you have a feeling in your gut that someone is lying to you and doesn’t really give a damn about you, listen to that feeling. If you have love for a specific thing or a career you really want to pursue, follow your dreams and go for that no matter what.
Another example, In my last year of high school when I was applying for college courses, a teacher came to me and pretty much tried to force me not to apply for a course in Early Education & Childcare. I understand that she didn’t feel that the course was suited to me but at the end of the day, she’d never seen me working around kids whereas the woman who had, gave me a brilliant reference. Another teacher told me she didn’t think I was suited to this course but respected that it was my decision which I respected her for. I came very close to getting a place in an Early Education and Childcare course until the teacher who tried to force me not to apply for it gave me an awful reference, I was devastated.
I then decided to choose my backup course, Media & Communications. Three full years later I have left college with a HND Media & Communications and organised an amazing Scotland-wide Journalism competition where I got to work with companies such as the BBC, STV and the Daily Record. I was also advised not to study Media & Communications by the same teacher who tried to force me not to apply for the Early Education & Childcare course. I was told to pick Administration simply because it would get me a job. I feel that in high school, the creative type of courses are most often over-looked by teachers and seen as something that won’t get you a job, but that’s not true. The media has an involvement in everything from television to radio, to events management to journalism. Yes I enjoyed Administration and it may have a higher chance to get a job but did I want to study it as a career? No, I really don’t think I did and I still don’t think I do!
If someone, anyone tries to tell you that you can’t do something, don’t listen to them! Keep fighting your way through, because at the end of the day, this is your life, no one else’s. So why should anyone else get to dictate what you do with your life?
2016 has been an entirely dreadful year for me. No matter what I have done or what I have achieved this year life has come around and done a great big shit on my life again and again. Despite this, 2016 isn’t exactly the worst year of my life so far but it isn’t the best. Although I am having a pretty terrible year, there is always some one who is worse off and struggling more than I am. Now is where I introduce……………………
Charity of the Month!
Every Month from now on, I will have a small charity which I am supporting for that month by donating £10 to them and raising awareness if I can about the charity.
Charity of the Month for October 2016 is….CMV Action.
CMV is a common virus in which can affect people of all different ages. Once CMV makes its way into a persons body, it stays there for life. Most healthy adults and children will have no signs, symptoms or long term effects from the virus but unfortunately it can be very harmful to unborn babies. CMV is one of the main causes of children being born with permanet disabilities. CMV is the most common infection at birth. 1 in 150 newborn babies are born with congenital CMV.
As CMV is a relatively unknown condition, it is a common misconception that it is rare. It is actually in fact more common than Down’s Syndrome, Toxoplasmosis, Spina Bifida or Cystic Fibrosis.