'A Million Faces'

Sometimes when we are feeling low we feel so alone, but there is always someone who is there for us, waiting to hold us up through the difficult times. I thought this song summed it up quite well. 'A Million Faces' by Thunder I've never seen you look so empty I've never heard you sound so low I've never felt your pain so deeply And I just wanted you to know Cos when your smile feels like you're lying When it's all too much to bear There ain't no use denying You gotta put that weight down somewhere And as a million faces go by You're gonna find a new connection On that you can rely And you'll feel your heart take wings and fly But we've all gotta get a little broken sometimes You sa

One month without Mum

It's been a month since Mum died. Thirty-one days. Seven hundred and seventy-four hours. Four thousand, four hundred and 60 minutes. It feels like a long time, as though it's been years, but also feels as though she could have died yesterday or last week. If there's one thing I've learned from grief it's that time stops making sense and you just have to roll with it. Sometimes hours can feel like days and other times days can seem like hours, but as long as you're moving forward it doesn't really matter. I miss Mum more than ever. Christmas is beginning to enter the shops and it's always been such a special time of year for us. Mum made the cake in October, and we'd start making mince pies a

My experience of bullying and how I use it to help others

Being bullied is something which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t even wish it on my bully. It robs you of your self esteem, makes you feel like you’re an easy target and forces you to wonder ‘why me?’ When I was in Year 7, I was quite a quiet girl. I used to sit in assembly and wonder how on earth the big Year 11s managed to stand up in front of assembly to deliver the bulletin without freaking out. I settled in well – I made friends quickly and really enjoyed the lessons. However, I lived in fear of becoming the bullied kid because I was told at the end of Primary School “big school is where you get bullied” However I was determined to keep my head down, get on with my work an

Stand Up Against Bullying #MakeANoise

I distinctly remember being about nine or ten and mentioning to a teacher, who asked me why I was crying, that I was being bullied. They told me that I wasn't being hit so it couldn't be bullying. It was, unfortunately, something that really stuck with me but at the time struck me as being completely wrong. I didn't understand that, despite being told by another teacher, bullying was wrong but in the eyes of someone more senior... it wasn't a thing. It took me a long time to realise that during times at school when I was excluded by people who I considered as friends or teased or generally picked on; that it wasn't due to there being something inherently wrong with me but that I was being bu

Don't bother coming into school today, everyone hates you! It's #AntibullyingWeek

It was an absolute pleasure to be asked to write for Strong Young Minds. The work that they do is truly life changing and nothing short of inspirational. My name is Anita Dennison and I am a 19 year old Queen’s University student. I have an award winning campaign that helps and advises young people and their parents 24/7 on all things bullying, but sadly things haven’t always been this positive for me. When I was just 16 and studying for my GCSE’s like thousands of other students across the country, I became the victim of a year long hate campaign on Facebook, which escalated on from an incident at my school. I would wake up to messages such as, “don’t bother coming into school today, everyo

'Make a Difference for Men & Boys'

I believe in equality and it’s something I spend time thinking about… working out new ways to try and reach out to people in need, help change perceptions or even reduce stigma shown towards different groups of people. Perhaps it’s because I’m a vaguely nice person who wants to see a better world; or maybe it’s because I’ve been on the receiving end of stigmatisation and feeling really alone due to my personal struggles. The thing about mental health problems is that they don’t discriminate between genders, races or difference… perhaps in a way mental health problems are a wee bit more accepting than I’ve seen people be over the course of this week but maybe that’s for a different time…! One

Opening up can be difficult for some people, however it can be one of the best decisions you can mak

Opening up – it is a hard thing to do. Especially if you feel like no one cares. Back in 2012 when my best friend moved to the other side of the country, I felt lost, alone, worthless. I used to isolate myself in my room and I used to do things to hurt myself, physically and emotionally, my mind was filled with negativity and self loathe. It was a circle of hatred; every day I found another little thing to hate myself about until eventually, I was at a complete stand still. I felt lost, I didn’t even feel sad anymore, and I felt empty. And to me, that was worse than feeling sad, because you didn’t know how to feel. It was a horrible experience, I felt as if nothing could hurt me, but nothing

Where'd All The Good People Go?

I'm deeply saddened by the recent events in Paris. I'm sad that there is such tragedy and terror in the world and I hate seeing unnecessary loss of life. The hope I take from this situation is that we are all struck by how awful and terrible it is. Thankfully we haven't reached a point where acts of terror and atrocity are routine and we're completely desensitised to it. We are still struck by how unnecessary this kind of violence is. I am so thankful that there is humanity, kindness and the possibility for peace in the world. Right now, we have an opportunity to react in a responsible and appropriate way. This is the act of a specific group of people... Not a Nation or religion as a whole.

Funerals Are Weird

Mum's funeral was last Friday. We chose to have a small service at the crematorium in the morning followed by a larger thanksgiving service at the church in the afternoon. I've been to a few funerals before now. The first I ever went to was my Grandma's. I was only eight and all I can remember is walking into a lamppost on the way there, and hiding upstairs when everyone came round to the house afterwards. The second was my step-granddad's. I was 14 by this point and I remember being panicked about missing a maths lesson because it was close to my first GCSE exam. The third was the funeral for my friend's Dad. I was 17, the church was full, she sang and her brother played the piano. It was b

Gain Strength From Fear

I can't decide if Timehop and Facebook memories are helpful and motivating or really difficult at the moment. I've been faced with daily reminders of where I was this time last year, an inpatient on an eating disorder program. It's hard to see where I was at that point in time but it's also been motivating to realise how far I've come... it's been a long road and I'm still definitely on it and hell I've faced a lot of fears on the way! One of my favourite books (and film for 2015) is 'Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found' by Cheryl Strayed. I was thinking about fear and came across this brilliant quote that seemed too perfect for this blog: "I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my jou

Slow Down, Your Mum Died Last Week

Mum had terminal cancer for 20 months, and the more ill she got, the more my life changed. I went from changing pretty much nothing in my life (other than implementing a little extra support), to dropping almost everything, attending lectures sporadically, accessing a lot of extra support, and going home every night to visit Mum and the rest of my family. Perhaps naively, I assumed that once Mum died, things would go back to normal, whatever normal may be. That’s not exactly how things have gone, though. For one, I’d forgotten to factor in emotions. Emotions are often useful, but since Mum died the majority of the time they’ve been a nuisance. They’ve left me lying in bed on a morning trying

Painting The Psychiatric Ward

The psychiatric ward I am in felt rather clinical with it’s white walls and grey doors. There was no colour, nothing to look at as you paced up and down the same corridor and so the ward manager asked me to paint some art on the walls. It was good because it gave me a focus but also brightened up the place. Claire Greaves has suffered from mental ill health for many years. Through this blog she hopes to raise awareness and understanding to the general public and therefore reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. She hopes through her passion for writing and her experiences that she can help other sufferers to feel less alone. ​ Read Claire's blog: https://mentalillnesstalk.wordpress.com

Please Excuse Me While I Overshare

I’m probably guilty of oversharing; I’m a private person but when it comes to my mental health, I’m quite comfortable being open about my struggles. It’s an interesting balance. Will people be interested? Am I on the right track? Is this too much? It’s a conversation I’ve had on multiple occasions; perhaps my desire to share my story goes back to a time when I struggled to let anyone in, I became wrapped up with my illness and ultimately stayed unwell on my own. It was hard to open up to the people I care about. I was scared to let them down, to admit I was struggling and to allow them into the depths of what was going on in my head. There wasn’t always a right time or a right way to talk ab

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