Everyone is dealing with something. Everyone has issues and everyone struggles.
Everyone, except me.
I hear stories about the students at my school; someone’s dad died. Someone else’s parents had split up. Another is depressed, another is anorexic.
Whilst all this is happening, I feel so guilty. I know it’s not my fault, but my life is so easy compared to other people’s. I just don’t think it’s fair. How can I talk to someone normally when I know she forces herself to throw up the food she eats every day?
That’s why I’ve decided to do everything I can to help people who are struggling.
At school, if anyone ever needs someone to talk to, they know that I am here. In fact, over summer I messaged my friend who is battling anorexia just to offer her some support and someone to talk to. It might not seem like a big gesture, but small acts of kindness like this can make someone feel worthy and encouraged to keep going.
I also know how intense some people find school and how they can find it difficult to cope with both their mental health as well as their grades. This is why, last year, I was a maths buddy to someone in the year below who was struggling, just to help them get back on track. I have also had a few revision sessions with my friends who work better in a more relaxed and one-to-one environment, because I understand how stressful they find the school atmosphere.
It’s also really important to just be there for others. My friends know I’m here for them if and when they want to talk about anything, and I always make sure to listen intently and try my best to help them in whatever way I can, even if that just means giving them a hug.
Here’s a few tips on how to help those who are struggling;
I’ve joined TWE to try and help others, like our readers. I just hope that these articles do help you in some way because the whole team is here for you. We want to support you in any way we can.
So really, I just want to write a quick note to you. Yes, you, the amazing, brilliant, kind, talented and worthy person reading this right now. You can do this and you will do this. You are loved and you are treasured by those around you and we all want you to thrive.
Overall, if you are on the ‘other side’, I advise you to do as many small things as possible to make the lives of those struggling just a tiny bit easier. You could do this by simply asking how they are doing, and if they need any help.
I hope this helped :) Have a fantastic day!
Trigger warnings. Everyone with a mental illness who is on the internet has heard of them. A trigger warning (or content warning as it may also be called) is a short warning at the start of a social media post, photo, piece of art, TV show, advert or any other type of media that alerts the consumer as to what kind of content could be in that product.
For example, you may have seen “TW: abuse, trauma” at the start of social media posts about the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp court trial, or “TW: suicide mention, drug abuse” at the beginning of TV shows like 13 Reasons Why. These are there so that if troubling topics upset you or trigger your mental illness or certain thoughts, you can either avoid the thing or you can proceed with caution.
Many people have triggers, and there are so many. However, that doesn’t make them any less important or relevant. If someone sees triggering content then they could relapse, hurt themselves, be upset or just be uncomfortable. We at TWE make sure to know people’s triggers so that we can let them know of any triggering content in our movie nights, or our articles and social media. That way, our members and followers can avoid the content and protect themselves.
TV shows like 13 Reasons Why have been in hot water over trigger warnings in the past. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, 13 Reasons Why is about a young girl who commits suicide and then leaves pre-recorded tapes detailing all of the reasons why she did it, intended for certain people to listen to. The show follows one of her friends listening to the tapes. The TV programme showed a graphic scene of Hannah’s (the protagonists) suicide, with very little warning. The warning that was there said that the content may be unsuitable for younger viewers. When the season launched on Netflix, social media erupted about how the gruesome scene triggered young people around the world who had mental health difficulties, and even contributed to some suicides, as they couldn’t get the image out of their heads. This shows the glaring importance of sufficient and informative trigger warnings.
Since then, Netflix has removed the scene from the show, and now shows a video of some of the actors before the series telling viewers to watch with someone they trust, or don’t watch at all.
The use of trigger warnings has thankfully been increasing, especially online. I personally try to use trigger warnings wherever I can, even if the topic isn’t triggering to me personally.
If you do see something online that doesn’t have a trigger warning, you may feel upset, scared, or anxious. If you feel comfortable, message the owner of the content (or have a friend do it for you) and let them know that the content they posted is triggering and they may have upset many more people. Hopefully, the poster will add a trigger warning and remember in future. We are all human, and sometimes we forget things.
If you do see something online that triggers you and you feel you may hurt yourself or someone else in any way, please don’t hesitate to tell an adult, a friend or call your local emergency number to get help.
999/111 in the UK
911 in the US
When I wake up, I like to think my day will be grand but some days this doesn’t go to plan. Like for instance, the other day I was going to the health care clinic for an assessment. So, I thought as I’m near Greggs I would go in and get some hot tomato soup to give me some energy.
When I went into Greggs, the woman asked what I would like and I said just some tomato soup please. So, after I paid, I made my way to the clinic with my mammy as I can’t go into my local town alone.I have very bad anxiety due to my past with bullying so I’m scared of seeing someone from my old high school in town.
After we arrived at the health care clinic, I checked in then went to sit down to wait to be called in. When I sat down,I opened my hot soup as it was in a take-away cup so I couldn’t see what was inside. I was expecting it to be tomato soup but it was chicken soup! As I’m a vegetarian, I couldn’t eat it.
This situation really got me down and angry. I know people make mistakes but that was going to be my go kick to start the day. During the assessment, all I could think about was the soup situation it really got to me and it made me so anxious during the assessment.
After the assessment I went back to Greggs to tell them about my soup and I was really expecting them to say “we can’t change it as you had already taken it out”. But I was totally wrong! The woman who served me before was so kind about the situation and she changed the soup for me but then also offered me a free pasty of my choice. She was so sweet and very apologetic.
After that situation, I sat down and thought about it when I got home and just questioned myself ‘why did that bother me so much?’ I was really overthinking it and it got me feeling hot and really anxious. Normally, someone would just be like oh they gave me the wrong order, I’ll go back and complain.
My mental health hasn’t been good over the past year, I believe it has gotten worse, especially with my bulimia, it’s hard to break a routine you’ve been doing for so many years.
My bulimia has made me start some awful behaviours like bingeing at night then not eating during the day as my parents are at home (when they are not at work ). I think I revolve my life around bulimia as that is the only thing I feel I’m in control with.
After recapping my day, I sat down with my mammy to talk about what happened that day. She said that she thinks it’s my mind making me overthink about small incidents like this and then it brainwashes you into thinking that the day ahead will be ruined due to this situation.
I agree with what my mammy said and so, the next day I phoned my mental health and said to them look I need this weekly therapy like I was supposed to have but I’m not receiving it. I would like a new therapist please one I could rely on, not going on the sick all the time”.
They replied that they couldn’t give me further help as I needed to take it to the head of department. I was really upset about this and I didn’t know where I stood with my local mental health services.
So, situations like this happen but I don’t think people realise how much it can affect people. Overthinking is one of the most common things with mental health and it needs to change!
I feel like I always do,
I feel like a fool.
Wipe the tears,
Which are threatening to break through.
I wish that I was,
I wish that I was someone new.
I see the sun,
I see it rising in the sky.
Now when I trace my scars,
I feel like I can fly.
I will always be true to me,
I know one day my bravery will set me free.
I will fight forever, I won't cry anymore,
Today's the day I will even the score.
I'm a survivor.
I walk the streets,
Of my hometown.
And I reflect,
On just how often I've felt down.
No one understands,
Quite how I feel.
Makes me feel like my emotions,
Are not a big deal.
You see the scars on my wrist,
You see my hand in a fist.
My heart is locked like a vault,
Little do you know it's all your fault.
I will always be true to me,
I know one day my bravery will set me free.
I will fight forever, I won't cry anymore,
Today's the day I will even the score.
I'm a survivor.
I'm a survivor.
I'm a survivor.
What is a mental breakdown? Well, according to WebMD, “a mental breakdown ( or a nervous breakdown) is a term that describes a period of extreme mental or emotional stress.” During these, the stress is overwhelming to the point that a person cannot perform normal day-to-day activities. Although “mental breakdown” is no longer considered a medical term, it is still used to describe intense stress and/or the inability to cope with a life change.
Despite “mental breakdown” no longer being used as a term in the medical community, it has been used to describe a large scale of symptoms. These include:
People experiencing a nervous breakdown may also withdraw from family, friends, and/or co-workers. Signs of such withdrawal include:
To cope with a mental breakdown, you can try the following:
To get in contact with your local helplines then visit:
Self-harm is not normally a lighthearted subject, and understandably so. However, as someone who has a long history of self-harm in many different forms, but has been clean for years, there is absolute beauty in recovery, and people don’t talk about it enough in my opinion.
I will mostly tell you about the beauty I have personally found in my self-help path to recovery, and some of the techniques I used to quit toxic coping mechanisms such as SH. Please note that if you are in a situation where you don’t think you can recover on your own, seek help as soon as you possibly can. I self-harmed on and off for four years, and I have now been clean for four years straight, all through trial and error, and little promises to myself.
Everyone has a different experience with self-harm and other harmful coping mechanisms, and we all have our different reasons for doing it. These aspects of the issue make recovery also look different for everybody. The important things to remember are: relapse is normal and common, learning to love and take care of yourself after dealing with something like self-harm is never easy, and everything is going to be okay. You are not alone, you are not weird, and you are not a bad person for having this struggle.
Dealing with mental health issues on my own from a young age has never been easy, but over the years I have discovered many helpful, healthy coping mechanisms, and strayed away from the harmful ones. In taking care of myself in this way, I have developed a much stronger and more fulfilling relationship with myself. One of the most efficient steps I took was making promises to myself. It not only provided motivation, but it created the beginning of the relationship with myself that may have been missing. Over my recovery journey that relationship became stronger and more loving. The last time I ever self-harmed, I had been clean for months, and it was a relapse. I felt terrible, and the sc*rs were just a constant reminder of my failure to recover (RELAPSE IS NOT A FAILURE TO RECOVER; IT IS EXPECTED! This was just a concern of mine at the time). The disappointment and shame around my new sc*rs were not helping me learn to love myself, so I turned it around and made them into motivation and goals. Rather than self-loathe for relapsing, I decided that if I couldn’t quit self-harming out of self-love I would do it because I hated the painful reminder of sc*rs and having to hide them; for me, that was the greatest starting place. It wasn’t forcing me to create self-love out of nothing, it was simply the first step to quitting a bad habit. Sc*rs were inconvenient, I was simply fixing that problem. Self-love could be developed after.
Of course, as I have mentioned, everyone is different. However, I self-harmed for years, and nothing except what I am about to suggest got me anywhere near quitting for good, so I believe it is worth sharing.
I needed to acknowledge that my mental health issues were not going to get better on their own, I was not going to wake up one morning feeling incredible and taking care of myself out of nowhere. You may know this already, but I was waking up every morning practicing harmful coping mechanisms and self-destructive habits and then claiming things would be better someday. However, when you live in that toxic cycle and do not acknowledge that you are feeding into it rather than fighting against it, things will not get better (if you’re anything like me, at least). It can be hard to admit that you are feeding into a cycle like that, but doing so was one of the biggest steps towards recovery for me, and it was the first one. It sucks to hear, but ending a harmful habit is quite difficult and you are going to have to challenge yourself and stay motivated.
Being clean for any amount of time felt amazing to me. In addition, starting by creating small goals and working my way up was much more productive than deciding to never do it again one day if I was feeling decent. Small victories are still victories. Be proud when you reach a goal no matter how small it is (you set that goal for a reason, it was difficult for you). Allowing yourself to feel as good as you possibly can about being clean for any amount of time is incredibly important, and helps develop a more positive relationship with yourself. Self harm often comes from feelings of self hatred, and even just a low self-esteem, so allowing yourself to feel proud of something is a really good step, especially if what you’re proud of is not hurting yourself.
As I mentioned before, turning disappointment or other negative feelings over relapsing into even more motivation is, although possibly difficult, much more productive. Negative thoughts towards myself fed into my SH and, weren’t going to help me quit; try and flip the script. “I was clean for so long and I ruined it” vs “let’s see if I can be clean for even longer this time”, “I just added more scars to heal and hide” vs “these scars will heal too, let’s not add any more”, you can say these phrases to yourself over and over again, for as long as it takes.
Those two tools are super important, and they both involve having empathy for yourself. If you feel super guilty and terrible for relapsing, be kind to yourself. I know this is an area where you need to challenge yourself, but you need to be patient with yourself as well. This is not an easy task. The following is relatively specific to my friends and I’s experiences, but I believe the main message applies to most: all habits are hard to break, but this is one often rooted in unsupported mental health issues and deep internal struggle. That’s why even just deciding to quit on your own is huge. People talk about recovery like it’s something everyone who has self harmed just does at some point on their own, and it makes those who have been struggling with it feel silly for not being able to stop. You are in pain and at some point, you didn’t have the tools to deal with it in a healthy way. Therefore, you have now developed unhealthy habits that became the only outlet for your internal struggle. It is much harder to feel emotional pain and to just start coping in a super positive way on your own (especially at a young age). It is easier to cope in a negative way in private; that’s what was accessible to you at the time. Of course, it is possible to stop and develop better habits, but it is not easy, at all. It is called recovering for a reason; people don’t normally have to recover from things on their own. Try and be kind and patient with yourself.
If nothing else motivates you, try to turn it into a bit of a game. This may not help you develop a positive relationship with yourself, but it will motivate you to quit self harming, which is a step towards self-love in and of itself. How long can you go without doing any form of self harm? This can also take away the shame in relapse, because it makes it feel less intense and emotionally heavy, and just resets your stage in the game.
Also, if you can, involving someone in a casual way was really beneficial to me as well. At one point I felt like I couldn’t stay clean on my own, so I put everything in my room that I could use to harm myself in a bag and told someone close to me, who I knew wouldn’t tell anyone else, to hide the bag somewhere. I knew I wouldn’t go looking for it, but not knowing where those potential tools were felt like an external barrier I didn’t have before. Sometimes pure willpower really isn’t enough, and you need separation from temptation. That is not something to be ashamed of.
Once you’re clean for a while, you can start looking forward. In my experience, the whole process of quitting helped me develop self love. Every method I used added positivity to my negative relationship with myself until I truly felt like I could love myself. Once that happened, I started paying attention to my interests, what I liked, and eventually developed hobbies that became outlets. I do have intrusive thoughts and get tempted every now and then. However, remembering the work I put into recovering, how long I have now been clean, and my promises to myself not to do it again is enough to keep me going in a positive direction. Currently, I love myself more than I love anybody else, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I really hope you learn to love yourself, too.
HELPLINES (NEVER HESITATE TO REACH OUT):
Trevor Lifeline: Mental health and LGBTQIA+ (US ONLY)
ONTX Ontario Online and Text Crisis Services (CANADA/ONTARIO) For text support, text SUPPORT to 258258
Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line (CANADA/ONTARIO)
With the current COVID-19 situation, they are only taking texts, chats, and emails from 4:00 pm – 9:30 pm EST every day except Saturday. Text: 647-694-4275
Samaritans (UK & ROI ONLY)
Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK - local rate)
Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI - local rate)
Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
E-mail Helpline: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 Hour service
Have you ever witnessed a couple break up due to one of them lacking self-love? Witnessing that growing up never failed to confuse me. It confused me how someone can dislike oneself, when they could never become someone else. As I got older, it finally became clear to me that self-esteem issues are very real and valid. Unfortunately, I figured this out firsthand, my self-esteem took a big hit within the last three years of high school.
The transition of self-pity did not happen overnight. In fact, it started in middle school and continued to grow until it was no longer avoidable. It is fairly normal to feel self-conscious in high school as it is a tipping point in most of our lives. However, I spent so much time fantasizing that I was somebody else, that seemed to hold off any feelings of hatred towards myself for the time being. This is not healthy. At all. There are plenty of ways to deal with loving yourself, and wishing you were someone else is not the solution.
I was very fortunate to have enough self-awareness to realize the amount of self-hatred I had was not normal. Nobody should feel as though they are not enough, and they constantly change themselves to become more appealing. I have dealt with many aspects of self-esteem issues, my body image being the biggest. Overcoming these three problems has proven that the journey to self-love is difficult, but so rewarding and satisfying once you have achieved it.
Physically, I never felt like a pretty girl. I struggled with my weight and acne for years on end, they always made me feel the most insecure. The societal standards for beauty are so high, it is very easy to feel ugly in your own skin. Constantly comparing myself to girls who were deemed as beautiful according to society’s standards proved to be detrimental. I realized that once I stopped holding myself to these unfair standards, I found beauty within myself, which matters the most. It is essential to stop caring so much about what others think, at least for things that are out of your control.
Overcoming my body issues were the biggest hurdle of my journey to self-appreciation. I have tried many things to control my body weight, hoping that losing weight would eventually make me pretty in the eyes of society. Diets, fasting, exercising, and avoiding mirrors were not foreign concepts to me. I would force myself to drink apple cider vinegar because it was said to aid in weight loss. I became so obsessed with the idea of being beautiful in the eyes of everyone , I turned into someone unrecognizable. The process to self-love was not a short and easy one, but it feels good to be comfortable with myself. Once I realized that nobody’s opinion actually mattered, then I started to see the beauty in myself. Granted it will not happen overnight, but hopefully one day you will see yourself as the beautiful person that you are. Society is messed up, it carries unreal standards for people of the upcoming generations and puts them in a position of self-hatred, just because they are not “beautiful”.
The best remedy for myself was to read about other’s experiences. Knowing that you are not alone can truly help the healing process be a little more manageable. There are a lot of self-help books and articles that you can access online to read about other people learning to truly love themselves. Although none of these sponsor us, they offer fantastic advice! Here are some ways you can achieve self-appreciation:
· Lyftly- An app where you can anonymously post stories about how you are feeling, and you get the chance to connect with other people.
· seventeen.com – Clicking on this link will take you to articles that contain celebrity experience with body positivity and self-love. You can even sign a pledge to treat your body with respect.
· Write positive sticky notes – As cliché as this sounds, having something positive to read from time to time can really boost one’s confidence!
· whosthecutest.com – Click on this link to find out who the cutest person around is. You will not regret it.
· Love yourself – I know that this is the final step to your journey. It is not the easiest thing around for a lot of people, they struggle with a lot of self-deprecation. The moment when you can look in the mirror and truly love the person in front of you, you have won the game of Life.
Self-love is an expedition that many will embark on. It is too effortless to fall into the hole of self-pity simply due to the fact that society has high standards. I struggled a lot with truly loving myself due to the fact that I could not maintain body positivity. It got to the point where my own reflection was avoided by me. However, realizing that I am not alone, and others’ opinions do not matter I was able to achieve the highest form of self-love. To anyone reading this article: you are beautiful, and you deserve to love yourself. At the end of the day, you cannot expect people to love you when you cannot even do it yourself. As Robert Morley once said, “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.”
We all have the idea that depression is all about - continuous low mood, having no interests in doing the things you love, disturbed sleep, isolating yourself and being indecisive. And that’s all true! However, there are more symptoms of depression that are lesser-known. Continue reading as I tell you symptoms that may surprise you.
Aches and Pains: Many people who go through depression will experience back pain, sore chest and chest pains. These pains aren’t usually associated with any specific injuries. There are studies to suggest that pain and depression share a neurological pathway, meaning the more depressed you are, the more painful your body will become.
Forgetfulness/ “Brain Fog”: A lot of people will say that they often feel forgetful. Countless studies show that people with depression have a tougher time remembering the specific details of their lives, meaning they can remember the overall event but not in particular detail.
Changes in Menstrual Cycle: Cortisol is a stress hormone and it rises during a depressive phase. Due to this, messages to the brain are being sent to the brain and reproductive system which leads to a delay in your period.
Guilt-ridden: The constant thought of feeling guilty over the most ridiculous things is something that people with depression have gone through. It consumes the mind to the point where the depressed will start to question everyday activities or major life roles.
Moving or speaking more slowly than usual: Slowing thoughts and physical movements are known as a severe symptom of depression. Speaking and moving more slowly is due to decreased energy levels. It is also known that certain chemical changes in the brain can cause this.
As someone who experiences depression, I can say that I have gone through aches and pains, brain fog and delay in periods. It‘s a crippling feeling. Before any knowledge of depression, I didn’t understand why I was experiencing such. I began questioning which led to anxiety taking over. I thought there was something physically wrong with me. Glad to say that my mind was exaggerating and physically I was fine.
How to overcome and control your depression is by;
Get Enough Sleep: Poor sleep patterns can contribute to depression. Whether it’s the depression causing it or the lack of sleep. So try to arrange a time to sleep and a time to wake up. Even an hour before your bedtime, you should give yourself some time to unwind down. Turn off your devices and read a book, listen to music or listen to a podcast.
Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant and drinking can worsen your depression. It decreases inhibitions and potentially leads to risky behaviours and poor decision making which can have long-term consequences. While alcohol might seem like a quick fix to escape reality, it is NOT the answer. Also, do not drink while on medication, as they don’t interact well.
Exercise: Regular exercise encourages the brain to think in positive ways. That is because of the chemical known as endorphins. Now, you don’t need to run a marathon. Try and find a fun activity to do. Whether it’s taking a dance class or rock-climbing.
Eat Healthily: Foods such as sweets, high-fat dairy products and refined grains, when eaten in a large amount, can cause a risk of depression. So take these foods in moderate consumptions and eat foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole-grains.
Avoid Caffeine: Take a step back when it comes to caffeine. Coffee, soft drinks and even chocolate have excessive amounts of caffeine. It’s fine to eat/drink a fair amount but do not become dependent on it. It can lead to interference with sleep. So avoid it by gradually cutting it back. You will experience caffeine withdrawal, but distract yourself and it will pass.
If you or someone you love are showcasing signs of depression, you should make an effort in learning more about the illness, including the symptoms so that you can know what to expect. You should also look into treatment options such as therapy and medication and most importantly, make them know or yourself that you are not alone. :)
If you want to get in contact with your local helplines then visit:
- Indie Sahota
The word “confidence” is a term that has a nuanced meaning, which varies from person to person. Yet, the core idea of confidence is centered upon individuality and control, and how one’s unique strengths and beliefs may allow them to be positive toward themselves. Nowadays, there are many ways to bring down one’s self-esteem, such as by comparing appearances and lifestyles or talking down oneself and their qualities. I’ve struggled with confidence throughout my teenage years due to my experience with trichotillomania, and the sensation of feeling out of control of my own life.
Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder that is associated with an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is described as an irresistible urge to pull one’s hair out, usually from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, and other regions of the body with hair. While this may be seen as a habit, it can also be fueled by stressors such as anxiety, sadness, or even boredom. The act of pulling out hair is usually done to bring forth relief and temporarily help with the stressors that are experienced. This disorder may also come and go and sporadically span throughout numerous days, weeks, or years.
I have dealt with trichotillomania ever since I was a child, but the disorder significantly impacted my well-being as I entered my teenage years. With the significant stress and anxiety brought forth by my familial and academic environment, I had managed to internalize that conflict for many years due to the belief that I was confident and in control of my life. Yet, as my well-being gradually slipped away, I felt as if every action and every thought I expressed had no impact. My life was not going the way that I had meticulously planned for it to, and I did not recognize myself. Thus, I began pulling strands of hair in order to feel a sense of relief. However, my physical appearance continued to make me insecure, and thus led to a continuous cycle of temporary relief due to deepened insecurity.
With time, I have learned how to control my hair-pulling. I have listed tips below that demonstrate external/physical and internal ways to feel in control of trichotillomania, which ultimately led me to be more confident in myself.
Ways to be physically confident:
1. Play with an object/fidget toy
Occupying yourself with something to play with is a good way to stray away from the urge of picking your hair. Whenever you feel bored, anxious, or stressed out, use a small object to twiddle, twist, or press! I usually use an eraser due to its smooth texture, which I would have in my hand during class to relieve my stress. However, you can use whatever works for you! The goal of this is to make you feel in control of your actions whenever you encounter stressors.
2. Tie up your hair
I have observed that whenever I tie up my hair in a ponytail or braid it, the hairstyle restrains me from excessively picking at my hair because I would not want to ruin it. By doing this, it allows you to be conscious of whenever you have an urge, and thus allows you to feel more confident in yourself.
3. Write out your feelings
When you have an urge, write out how you feel and your current circumstance in a designated journal or paper. As you write, you may feel less stressed as you are replacing your potential physical hair-pulling into one that is through writing. When you want to go back and reflect, read through your physical writing and document or be proud of how you were able to overcome the compulsion during that time!
4. Photo document your progress
While this may not be suited for everyone as it may be too uncomfortable, take photos of yourself in order to see the growth of your hair. I usually do this whenever I want to look back on how I have been doing, and it definitely makes me feel as if my physical growth is a representation of my internal one.
Ways to be internally confident:
1. Establish a minor, yet accomplishable, long-term goal
One of the ways that I have felt confident in my sense of control was through the use of goals. By establishing a goal, I have set up a responsibility that allows me to feel like I am making an impact within my life, despite encountering certain compulsions that sometimes feel uncontrollable. My most valued goal is to treat life one day at a time and to not over-evaluate my mistakes. This allows me to lessen my stress, which ultimately decreases my urge to play with my hair.
2. Focus on deep breaths
I found out that focusing on your breathing whenever you have the urge to pull greatly helps with releasing internalized tension and anxiety. Google has a great 1-minute breathing exercise tool that you can search up and follow along whenever you encounter stressors. This will ultimately make you feel internally better by decreasing the sensations that you had, and making you feel capable of having a solution for it.
3. Try to meditate
Meditation is a great solution that allows you to feel connected with your inner and outer self, while allowing you to resist your urges within a certain mindset. YouTube has great videos showing meditation techniques that may be categorized by time or music based on your preferences. By doing this daily, you may feel as if you can gradually resist the urge to pick your hair.
It is incredibly understandable if you do not feel comfortable talking to your peers or family members about your experience with trichotillomania. As of this day, I can admit that I am not completely confident as well. Yet, it is important to be aware of the resources and help that you can get if you need it, especially through the helplines that I have listed below:
International OCD Foundation Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 in the US or Canada, 85258 in the UK, and 50808 in Ireland in order to speak to a counsellor 24/7. This is also applicable to COVID, depression, anxiety, and many more concerns, which can be viewed on the www.crisistextline.org website.
The CALM Lifeline: Call 0-800-58-58-58 or visit www.thecalmzone.net to learn more about OCD. This is a nationwide lifeline based in the UK.
SAMHSA Helpline: Text 1-800-662-4347 to communicate with a counsellor that will aid you with support and guidance whenever you are encountering incredibly difficult conflicts with your mental health.
I hope that these tips will help you as they did for me. While developing confidence takes time, its meaning and perception are completely dependent on how you define it to be! Make sure to take your time and truly believe in yourselves throughout any stressful times.
When hearing the word “daydreaming”, I imagine getting briefly distracted in math class before snapping myself out of it. That may not necessarily align with how you imagine daydreaming, but in the end, it can be harmless. Daydreaming is defined as separating oneself from external reality and immersing oneself in their head. It is surprisingly very common among people. A study conducted by Harvard in 2010 found that people spend about 47% of their waking hours daydreaming. Upon hearing that statistic, you might panic and think that is too much time to spend daydreaming; however, a wandering mind can be beneficial as it can motivate you.
If daydreaming can be harmless, why am I writing this article? In my case, I am not just daydreaming, but I am maladaptive daydreaming. Maladaptation is defined as the inability to adequately adjust in an environment or situation. Maladaptive daydreaming are daydreams that are so intense, they can interfere with daily life. I have suffered from these for years, they became the most prominent when I was in middle school. I knew that I had an issue when I started to feel genuine emotions from my daydreams.
If you are hoping that I somehow overcame these intense daydreams and am sharing my advice, I am sorry to inform you that is not the case. Writing this article allowed me to learn more about this condition and explore the possible causes and solutions for my problem. I spend a significant amount of my waking hours daydreaming, a lot more than the common 47%. The content of my daydreams are intense as well. In my head, I have created a whole new life, the only thing I have kept is my name. I will not be going into details about what these daydreams hold, due to sheer embarrassment, but at least I can recognize this is not normal.
Anyone who suffers from maladaptive daydreaming can agree that we have had issues arrive from our inability to live outside of our heads. The list I have provided below are issues I have because of my maladaptive daydreaming.
Along with the issues I have from maladaptive daydreaming, it is important to target the causes for my refusal to face reality. Facing these and figuring out healthier ways to cope is vital in the process of stopping my maladaptive daydreaming.
The good thing about this situation is my awareness that I am daydreaming too vividly and too much. Unfortunately, it is not officially recognized as an illness, but it is much rather seen as a symptom of other illnesses. Maladaptive daydreaming is the most present in people with anxiety, depression, and OCD. While I am not clinically diagnosed with any of these conditions, I know that I suffer from maladaptive daydreaming and I hope to eventually overcome it.
Maladaptive daydreaming is an addiction for me. My fantasy world constantly entices me, even when I am in the middle of a social interaction. I hope that my experiences with this condition has helped other people realize they need help, or even educate people who may not suffer from this. Maladaptive daydreaming is an issue that needs to be talked about more, and I hope that it becomes a stronger talking point when it comes to mental health.
Dissociative identity disorder, (DID) (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) is a trauma-based personality disorder that forms in childhood, usually as a result of repeated trauma before the personality fully forms. This causes a split in the personality of the person, creating two or more distinct personality states, otherwise known as alters. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding DID as the condition is quite a complex one, however, it’s not as uncommon as you may think, it’s thought that around 1-3% of the population have a diagnosis of DID which is around the same amount of people that are redheads, so it is so important that you know the truth about this disorder.
Here are some common misconceptions surrounding DID and how it actually is to experience this.
(DISCLAIMER: DID is different for everyone and my experience may differ from someone else, do not take my word as gospel)
1. Alters are “evil sides” of the host.
This is what a lot of people seem to think and that just simply isn’t the case. There are different roles within the system and although there are alters known as “persecutors” in some systems, they aren’t evil, and they typically don’t understand that what they are doing is wrong.
2. It’s obvious when someone switches.
This is an extremely common misconception, but in reality, switches are really subtle. It can be as simple as seeming as if you’re spacing out, or sometimes not even that. Unless you know about someone’s DID and how the different alters act, you likely won’t even notice the switch. Only 5-6% of DID systems have an overt presentation of their alters. Although some alters do have different accents, genders, sexualities, mannerisms etc. most alters will do their best to mirror the host as a way to keep the system safe.
3. If you had DID, you wouldn’t know.
Now this one can sometimes be the case. I went most of my life not knowing about my DID, but what I did know was I was losing periods of time, and my friends and family knew what I’d done during that time and I didn’t recall any of it. About two years ago one of my alters presented themself to me and that’s how I found out, I then later got a diagnosis from my therapist. Although initially, it is common to have no awareness of their trauma self-awareness is possible at any time, it’s not uncommon for people to find out about alters and recognise switches through letters or journals entries that they can’t remember writing, items of clothing that they didn’t buy amongst other things.
4. DID can develop at any age.
This is most certainly not the case. DID can only develop in early childhood, usually before the ages of 4 and 9 which is before the personality fully forms. It’s important to note that there are other dissociative disorders that may develop slightly later on, but for DID, it is physically impossible for this to develop after early childhood.
5. Parts of a DID system are just variations of the host at different ages and times in their life when trauma took place.
This is most definitely not the case. Alters can be any age, gender, nationality or personality type, for example, I have a 19-year-old male, a 25-year-old female, and a six-year-old female amongst many others. Alters are not just fragments of the host that are “frozen” in time marked by when trauma took place, as for a lot of systems, trauma took place every single day. Many alters are not associated with any specific trauma, but still have an important role in the mind.
6. Integration is necessary to live a normal life or is everyone’s goal in therapy.
For some people, this is the case, but this is up to the system to decide, for me and my system, we have decided we don’t wish to integrate, plainly because we can live a perfectly normal life without doing so.
7. You can “kill” alters.
This is physically not possible. Although alters can go dormant, they are not dead, they just disappear for a long time.
8. DID isn’t real and anyone who says they have DID is a faker.
This is definitely not the case. DID is a recognised diagnosis worldwide and saying that it isn’t real is the same as saying that schizophrenia or OCD isn’t real, invalidating a mental illness can be extremely damaging for someone, even if someone was faking, it’s not anyone’s place to say so.
There are a lot of other misconceptions surrounding this disorder as it’s not seen by most people that often, but in order to fully understand this disorder, it’s important to listen to people’s experiences with DID and be willing to understand. If you want more information on DID, I recommend Dissociadid on youtube:(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6kFD5xIFvWyLlytv5pTR1w)
Their videos really helped me to understand my system more. If you need to talk to anyone about DID, you can message me on Instagram: @mummysbrattybunnyboo or you can message us on any of our social media platforms here at TWE.
If you are struggling with DID, it is super important that you get the right support, whether that be from a therapist, your doctor or an online support system. DID can be extremely dangerous if you are struggling alone and after everything I’ve been through without support, I would never wish that on anyone else.
Remember no matter what you aren’t alone and you are loved and understood.
Have you ever wondered why the majority of people in our society have become so captivated by various social media sites? It has become a habit for many to check it constantly, worrying about what is trending or what people think of them. Social media is a great source of communication, for the most part, but the impact on mental health can be severe. We must emphasise why it does not have to control your life and how you can, in fact, control it yourself.
Be honest with yourself and answer this: how long do you actually spend on social media per day? What do you turn to when you have completed your daily routine and need to wind down? Is it fair to say that your mobile phone may be holding you back? It is not a negative thing to be socially active on the Internet, but as a teenager, you may find it refreshing to take a step back. I know that may sound cliché but I have found that it is true and it is surprising how much productivity increases when you take more breaks.
Thinking back to a few years ago, I remember coming home from school, sitting down with my phone and spending so long on it until the battery was practically dead. Some days I would even sit there until it was 7 PM and it was time for dinner. Honestly, I can’t comprehend how I coped with homework and my mental well-being. Perhaps I did find some enjoyment in scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, but now I have come to realise how consuming that lifestyle really was. Now, when I come home from school, I don’t even think about going on my phone for hours. I have learned to adopt the mindset that allows me to stay motivated and complete tasks, not just because they’re necessary, but also because I want to.
I read somewhere that “humans will do more to avoid pain than find pleasure.” Therefore, procrastinating becomes second nature, because we have trained our minds to think this provides us with an escape from pain. But, what if we can find pleasure in being productive instead? Think of an essay you need to write and instead of thinking “I have to write an essay”, think “I get to write an essay”. It is a great feeling reminding yourself of the reward of finishing homework, or the result of spending time revising for a test. So, that’s what I focus on instead. So, by focusing on what is good for you, you are already reducing the hold social media has on you. I honestly feel it is so refreshing.
My advice to readers would, therefore, be to control social media and prevent it from controlling you. Trust me, scrolling through Instagram for 30 minutes a day is so much more interesting than scrolling mindlessly for 3 hours, desperately searching for new content. It can be quite scary to think about the future but preparing for it productively will provide you with much more satisfaction than social media ever can.
To remove the habit of checking your phone, the most obvious way would be to put it in a drawer in the other room. However, there are other options:
To summarise, reducing your time on social media is not only beneficial to your mental health in the short term but helps you in the long term. After learning to stop checking it, I have found that my life has become much more productive and I feel happier as a result. Removing it from your life completely is not always necessary but taking a break can be crucial! Remember that social media does NOT control you if you do not allow it to. Be your own master!
Apps/websites that can help you stay off social media:
Self-control- an extension for your computer and an app that stops you from checking customised websites that you add yourself
Pomodoro tomato timer- allows you to spend 25 minutes working and then 5 minutes on a break on a loop. This means that you manage the amount of time you concentrate and it allows you to enjoy time away from your work without sacrificing precious time! I also love the to-do list feature so you can know exactly what you need to do.
Hold- an app that times the amount of work you do and grows a tree while you do it- this is quite satisfying!
Okay, so a lot of people have their own viewpoints on what autism actually is, and a lot of these opinions are media based. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder, and has many different factors, including but not limited to, social interaction, communication (both verbal and non-verbal), intellectual capacity and repetitive behaviours. When people hear autism, they typically think of Rainman, Sheldon Cooper, or the highly intelligent, quiet person at school that is socially awkward. That is autism, but that isn’t solely what it is.
I was diagnosed a few months ago with high-functioning autism. This basically means that I’m able to communicate to a degree, although I find it difficult, and I struggle picking up on a lot of different social cues, and struggle in some social situations. I do have a higher IQ than a lot of people my age, and I have some extreme obsessions, namely with music. It’s my strongest passion. Mention George Ezra or Lewis Capaldi and I could talk for hours with no issues.
It took 17 years for me to actually be diagnosed, because first of all, I’m a girl. There are so many differences between boys and girls being diagnosed. Boys display autism differently from girls. It’s so much harder to receive a correct diagnosis as a girl, often being told that it’s “typical girl behaviour” because of our obsessions, or social awkwardness and that all girls do it. I showed behaviours from a young age, but was told “I’ll grow out of it.” I didn’t. Fast forward to age 15, I was receiving some help for my anxiety when I was asked about my thoughts on Autism, and if I thought I maybe had it. At first, I was in denial, going off the stereotypes. I did some research, and deliberated for a while. It makes so much sense. I went through a test called an ADOS, which is used to help diagnose autism in children and young people, and a week later I was given a diagnosis.
I’ve found over the past few months, when I tell people about autism, or have seen other things on social media, there are a lot of misconceptions and people jump to conclusions. I want to address a few of these.
“You don’t look autistic.” This is probably one of the worst things that you can say to someone who has been diagnosed. There isn’t a set look when you’re autistic, it’s not like we have 3 eyes or a horn coming out of our heads. “Oh my god you must be so smart can you do my homework?” No. I’m not doing your maths homework. Or your science homework. I’m hopeless at both, they’re not my thing at all. “Are you sure you’re autistic? You don’t act like it?” This is one of the more annoying ones, where people look taken aback because you’re actually able to engage in conversation. “Don’t you have those ear defenders things?” Nope, I like to joke about it with close friends, but I can actually process a lot of sensory things. They’re helpful, but I’m not reliant on them.
Now this one is even more annoying, but people try to compare me to another autistic person they know. “Oh but my friend's cousin's sister is autistic and she’s non-verbal.” Okay? It’s called a SPECTRUM. Where everyone is completely different. This also means it isn’t just a straight line, with non-verbals at one end, and high functioning, maths geniuses at the other. It’s so much more complex than that. No two autistics are the same.
So, I hope I helped with some of the misconceptions. For any autistics, or those waiting to be diagnosed, if you ever want help, I’d highly recommend looking at the National Autistic Society’s website. They have a lot of information, and in some areas, they even have support groups, which I personally think could be brilliant!
Dealing with situations like being stood up at dates or a family problem can make us just want to hide away from the world. Escape reality and just go into another world of wonderland, which I thought I was doing.
In the past I have always kept my problems to myself; they started to build up like a tower.
But when the tower gets too overloaded it starts to collapse, that’s exactly what happened to my mind. Years of keeping all these problems to myself not talking caused me to have an outburst on other terms let out all my anger.
It started when I was back in high school, I was getting bullied due to having ginger hair and because of my last name which I dislike a lot to this day-that’s why I go by a different name now.
I was having a normal day in high school, but then came lunch-time. I went to meet my friends and we sat down to lunch, I went to go and get something from the food-counter and on my way back there was this girl who wouldn’t move her chair to let me pass. I asked her kindly if I could just get through to sit down but she refused.
So, that’s when things got pretty bad. She stood up and said to me “I can’t move because you’re so fat, bet I couldn’t even lift you to throw you out the window”.
That’s when the tower collapsed. I dropped everything in my hands and I just punched her continuing to then pull her hair and then pushed her to the ground.
The fight continued until we were split by the teachers. I was taken to the office to then be asked by the principal “what was that all about?” I just walked out and then was sent home. After that day I just locked myself away in my bedroom, not talking to anyone.
I was sent to a new high school where I pretended to be a person that I wasn’t. I started to wear makeup, I stopped eating and that’s when the new Mel began. Looking back on it now I wish I dealt with the situation differently because I couldn't even recognise myself!
That was just one of the situations where I ran away from my problems. A more recent one was when I was stood up by a girl who I was meant to be going on a date with. I got to the location where we were meant to meet but then she stood me up.
What I did after that was that I got a taxi back home then I relapsed with my bulimia. I punished myself because I felt like I wasn’t good enough and that nobody will like me with the way I look!
Now, looking back at that situation, I should have talked to someone. So running from the situation makes me feel ten times worse. I found some other ways that could help you feel better in situations like these; writing it all down in a journal, diary or even creating an article!
Anxiety is a factor that affects every individual and is a typical response to stressful or difficult situations. The different types of anxiety attacks that could be difficult to grasp are anxiety disorders that many people find challenging their everyday lives. This disorder leaves an individual with constant worrying or stress, leading to depleting mental health because of the tension of worrying or panic attacks.
Anyone can sense anxiety coming into effect as your heart starts to race, you begin to shake, lose control over your breath, or feel out of control in the situation. This reaction is definitely a normal one. However, finding ways to combat this anxiety can make problems easier and promote a better mentality moving forth. With the different types of stress discussed earlier, there is one that is prominent with teenagers-social anxiety. The broad definition of social anxiety is having a fear of being judged or rejected in social situations. Many of these instances can be seen in classrooms while presenting or when being with large groups of people. You might feel the anxiousness that comes with speaking in front of a large group or having a fast-paced/shaky tone. One piece of advice to keep in mind is that you are not alone. Millions of others experience similar anxiety, so not perfecting something like a presentation in school or fitting into a social setting is entirely normal.
Ways to get assistance on social anxiety could be to practice more healthy habits or breathing exercises to practice. If you feel anxious about an event, grab a journal and write down your thoughts.If you feel angry or frustrated, go on a run or let your energy lose and blow some steam off by doing physical activity. If you are genuinely struggling and need more help outside of yourself, a critical piece of advice that I can give is to talk to someone, whether it be a friend or a professional which could both prove effective in different ways. I have provided a link to a website that furthermore discusses anxiety, the different types, helplines, and many more. https://www.mentalhelp.net/anxiety/hotline/.
In my experience, anxiety has been a part of me and has always been a factor in my lifetime. I constantly feel myself worrying or holding unnecessary tension in my everyday tasks and life. Especially now, with a new shift in school, I find myself worrying and afraid of the possible outcomes of a negative situation or me not fitting in. I am still working on aiding my anxiety. I take appropriate steps that help me feel better, such as working out, journaling, reading, and cleaning my mind by taking breaks from social media, focusing more on myself and my own downtime. Finally, I practice breathing and complete 5-10 minute meditation sessions in the morning and night to provide my brain with a break and have a fresh mindset for the rest of the day/next.
Finally, anxiety is not something that is easy to overcome, but it is a part of you that you must aid and treat if it begins to affect you. Once again, there is a link provided in the article about more information regarding this topic and hotlines if you need more help, which is always okay. I wish all of you the best and hope you are navigating life in a manner of your own.
“Never judge a book by its cover.” This is a common expression used when you meet someone new-to never judge them solely based on appearance. However, we can’t help it sometimes. We are quick to judge and write off someone, assuming that they are rude or impolite. Yet, that might not always be the case. Those who suffer from anxiety have coping mechanisms and side effects that can come across as “rude.”
A lot of us have been in a social situation where we’ve felt we didn’t showcase ourselves in the way we wanted to. Whether it was being too chatty in fear of awkward silences or being too quiet. For people who live with anxiety, situations like this can feel all too real. There are other ways as well which include:
They leave an event early or abruptly: Our body’s natural reaction is “flight” or “fight.” In this case, the “flight” response is activated. If someone’s anxiety is becoming too intense, their brain’s response to a perceived threat will tell them that it’s time to go.
They cancel plans last minute: Chances are that they are excited to go out but as those plans near closer, anxiety begins to speaker louder. Their anxious thoughts may consist of fearing a panic attack in public or avoiding triggering situations.
They ask “can you repeat that?” multiple times in a conversation: Brain fog! People with anxiety are overwhelmed with thoughts. At times, it can be hard to process so much information at once.
They seem withdrawn or don’t talk much in a conversation: People with anxiety may fear being judged for what they say or how they say it. Some would prefer to listen to what others are saying, rather than input their thoughts into a conversation.
They are irritable and easily agitated for what may seem like “no reason”: Anxiety is overwhelming! Imagine trying to battle your thoughts, physical sensations, and a sense of impending doom all while trying to navigate at once.
I have been in situations where due to my anxiety, I may have come across as rude. Whenever I am out with friends or at a party, I end up staying for a very short while before leaving. Also, during these social gatherings, I stick by the side of who I’m with. This is where I would be seen as clingy and disrespectful. This is something I don’t mean to be. I just want to stay with people I know.
I also don’t know how to connect with random strangers. I don’t know what I can trust about what they do or say. I don’t know how to react to the conversation. So I become monotoned to avoid saying or doing the wrong things. But once I get to know them, I start to relax and I can be myself. I’m not as cold as I initially seem.
These are just a few things that I do that can easily come across as rude to others to strangers and acquaintances.
But there are ways to overcome your anxiety with these coping mechanisms. Some methods include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to inducing anxiety situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviours before they get out of control.
Identify and manage your triggers: Whether it is on your own or with a therapist, learn what your triggers are and how to manage them. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious. Long-term problems, such as work-related situations, may take some time to figure out. When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can.
Meditation: Meditation can help your brain dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise. If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga.
Health: Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to not think of your anxiety.
Medication: If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health is being jeopardised, discuss your concerns with your doctor.
(Note: Remember that different methods work for different people.)
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress. How we deal with it may come across as “rude” to those that do not know us. For loved ones, recognize that these anxiety-driven patterns can be extremely difficult for the anxious person to adjust, especially if they're in the midst of a clinical anxiety problem.
To get in contact with your local helplines then visit:
Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. While the majority of individuals will experience anxiety at some point in their life, some may experience anxiety frequently at a more intense level. Through overthinking and overanalyzing, those with anxiety will constantly fret over multiple situations, oftentimes being irrational.
The difference between being anxious about a specific event such as a public speech, a first date, or a test, and being anxious over nearly everything is that when one experiences severe anxiety, their entire life can bring them unease.
While anxiety is an umbrella term, some may not know the different forms of anxiety disorders.
Separation anxiety is described as inappropriate and excessive fear or anxiety concerning separation from those to whom the individual is attached. Regardless as to why someone is excessively attached to a specific individual, it can become a disorder if the individual has recurrent excessive distress when anticipating or experiencing separation from home, excessive worry over losing someone from illness, injury, disasters, or even death. Some may even struggle to leave their house due to fear of being away from someone.
Another form of anxiety can be a specific phobia where one experiences anxiety over a specific object or situation.
Social anxiety disorder is the fear of one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others. This can include the fear of having a conversation with unfamiliar people or performing in front of others.
Panic disorder is when one experiences recurrent unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is known as an abrupt surge of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes (symptoms may include sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, etc).
Perhaps the most well-known anxiety disorder is generalized anxiety disorder which is excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not about a number of events or activities. This anxiety is difficult to control and can lead to irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbance, etc.
When I was younger, my anxiety was rooted in bullying. After attending schools and being bullied by other students, I began being home schooled for a few years and was terrified to reenter a physical school afterward. This caused me to keep to myself and limit my socialization in fear of once again being bullied. As I have grown older and made friends, this fear has decreased dramatically. Although some days I do fear being around others I do not know well, I am able to control it better and conquer my fears. Though this anxiety has decreased, I still suffer from other forms of anxiety. Some days I become stressed over irrational fears and am unable to focus on anything else. Some nights I find it challenging to sleep due to thoughts racing through my head and tormenting me. The anxiety can get so intense that I may experience a panic attack that is difficult to stop.
Although I still struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, I have found healthy ways to cope and clear my mind of these irrational worries. By speaking with someone who I am close to, such as a family member or friend, they are able to reassure me and let me know that these worries are over situations that are unlikely to occur. They are aware of the severity of anxiety and therefore do not undermine my feelings but do aid in reassuring me so that I can calm down.
Some ways to deal with a panic attack include deep breathing and focusing on an object. A calm way to focus is to look around and see five things, touch four things, hear three things, smell two things, and taste one thing. This can help one get out of a panic attack and focus on what is around them and slow one’s mind. It is also valuable to know that everything will be okay and having someone tell you this can greatly aid in calming down. The majority of the fears that one experiences when suffering from an anxiety disorder are oftentimes unlikely and therefore it is important to set these fears to rest and focus on other things. By talking with someone, watching TV, listening to music, going for a walk, doing chores, etc, one can get their mind off of their worries and stabilize.
Everyone experiences anxiety now and again and it can be perfectly natural. However, if the anxiety remains constant and controls your life, it might be wise to seek help. Anxiety doesn’t have to control your life, help can greatly reduce the anxiety one may suffer from. It is useful to realize that the anxiety is temporary and oftentimes over an outcome that has a very low probability of occurring. Anxiety can be a serious issue for many and it is also valuable to understand that if you have a loved one who suffers from anxiety. Do not undermine their state but rather provide the support they need whether that be addressing the issue or helping to get their mind off of their worries.
Anxiety; our body’s natural response to dealing with stress. Anxiety is a response our body gives out when we stress, this response is the feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s about to happen. “Anxiety is a mental disorder”. First of all, when you read this sentence, I believe that many of us grew up to believe that a “mental health disorder” meant that something was wrong with our body and it was our fault. I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is completely incorrect. Our bodies are a fascinating thing and we cannot create a disorder or a disease, so, each one of you out there needs to understand that nothing is your fault.
Anxiety is like having the feeling of butterflies when you’re nervous or anxious about something which is about to happen, or when you’re stressed about a couple of things, or when you fear something when you’re sad or worried. Anxiety disorders are when you have these feelings constantly, like nearly every day, and while others sometimes don’t understand what the “big deal” is, its because they don’t understand how it feels to have anxiety nor an anxiety disorder. It’s really hard to cope with anxiety let alone an anxiety disorder because of the immense and overwhelming feelings.
Personally, I have a lot of anxiety and I deal with my anxiety nearly on a daily basis. I know how it feels to keep having a constant feeling of being worried or stressed, feeling a shortness of breath, having heart palpitations, to get obsessive over something you can’t control. The feeling of having an anxiety attack is overwhelming, and trust me when I say, I’ve had my fair share of them. An anxiety attack is an immense feeling but I have some tips/tricks which have helped me cope with them;
1) Breathing. When I have an anxiety attack, I usually breathe in for 7 seconds, hold it for 6 seconds and breath out for 8. This helps to slow down your breathing and have better control over it.
2) Talk to your body. When I face an anxiety attack, personally, I can’t control my hands and I get really fidgety, so whenever I can’t control it, I talk to my hands. I know it does sound a bit off but trust me, it does work.
3) Talk to yourself out loud. Talking to yourself out loud to calm yourself down does work. Sometimes, saying it out loud makes your body listen better than talking in your mind. These are my top 3 tips and hopefully, they work for you too.
An anxiety attack is not easy to deal with alone so its good to open up about it to your loved ones. For those who don’t have anxiety or an anxiety disorder, if you know someone who does have anxiety/ an anxiety disorder, its always good to know the symptoms: heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath/ feelings of choking, dizziness, trembling/shaking, numbness, hot and cold flashes, fear of dying or of losing control, queasy stomach, feeling detached from oneself and one's surroundings. If you know someone who has anxiety/anxiety disorder and is having a panic attack, some ways to help them are:
1) Remain calm. When you know someone is having an attack, you need to remain calm in the situation. They need to have an assurance that everything around them is under control so you should calmly tell them that you are there for them and that they are safe.
2) Ask them how you can help. If the person you know has dealt with anxiety attacks and knows how to control/stop it, then ask them how you can help and what their coping methods are.
3) Do not say “ don’t worry” or “calm down” over and over, it may worsen their attack, instead, make them do breathing exercises with you, like take deep breaths and count with them, or ask them to count down from 100, or ask them to name 5 things they can hear, smell, see or feel. This would help them keep their mind off their anxiety attack and calm them down. These are my top 3 tips on how to help someone if they have an anxiety attack.
I won’t say that I know exactly how you feel because I understand that we all cope with our anxiety differently but I am able to understand you and I’m there for you as well. To all of you out there, there is no such thing as being “normal”. We all have our battles to fight and to stand up for, and one battle that we all need to fight is to understand anxiety and anxiety disorders, and eventually all mental disorders out there. It’s our job and now your job if you read this article to stand up and educate others about anxiety and anxiety disorders, and make them understand that it's no one’s fault.
You need to be there and support those who have mental disorders, and tell them they are not alone.
- Ananya :)
Some articles written by TWE with coping and dealing with anxiety and anxiety attacks:
a.Dealing with anxiety and panic attacks: what to do:
b.Cope with panic attacks: https://www.teenagerswithexperience.com/guest-articles/cope-with-panic-attacks
c.Breathing tips for anxiety: https://www.teenagerswithexperience.com/guest-articles/breathing-tips-for-anxiety
Hotline Numbers to Call:
a.Panic Disorder Information Hotline: 1-800-64-PANIC (72642): If you don’t feel comfortable with calling someone you know while having a panic attack, some hotline numbers you can call if you need to speak to someone while having a panic attack. You could also call this number if you would like to know more about panic disorders.
b.Teen Line: 1-310-855-HOPE (4673) or 1-800-TLC-TEEN (1-800-852-8336): This helpline allows teens in crisis to connect with other teens who understand what they’re going through. The service can also be reached by texting “TEEN” to 839863.
Some articles you should check out if you want to understand more about how to deal with your panic attacks:
a. Tips on how to stop a panic attack: these tips are really helpful in dealing with your panic attacks and reduce your anxiety symptoms:
b.This article on “How to deal with anxiety” will help you and teach you more about accepting your anxiety and how to listen more to your body’s
An article to read if you want to understand more about anxiety disorder sign and symptoms:
Stress: it's an emotion we all feel every now and then. However, with the right mindset, it doesn't take much to combat the dreaded feeling once and for all. With university applications just finished, while the first step of the lengthy process is just about over, the stress never seems to stop. Here are some tips to stay mentally sound during the application process.
Procrastination is something I've struggled immensely with and is still a big issue that concerns me today. Although I am tempted to leave my work to the last minute, I know that this will ultimately do more harm than good. Instead, you should always start the work ahead of time, and divide the work into sections while doing it. This will allow you to retouch work from before without having to do it all in one go, thus limiting any unnecessary mistakes.
Your mental health should be in a place that is steady and calm. Take a deep breath and relax for a while. Do some stretching, take a walk, grab a snack or do some yoga. Just do anything other than work. This will not only strengthen your body, but also your mind.
Talk with someone:
If you are struggling with applications and need an opinion or two, talk with someone. Communication is key to getting your thoughts across and obtaining sufficient feedback and ideas that can benefit you in your application. Talk with your friends, or even better, an older person who is currently in university. This can be your older sibling, a family friend, or even a relative.
With these tips, you can battle stress in any shape or form that comes with the tense pressures of applying to university. While stress is an emotion that will always be apparent in your life, it doesn't mean it should always negatively impact the things you do.
All my life I’ve struggled to keep jobs, keep friendships everything you can think of I’ve found it hard to keep. The most I struggle with is friendships so you can expect what I’m going to say now, I don’t have many friends, and I don’t socialize as others do.
Some people may see this as complete laziness, but for me, it’s a daily struggle to even wake up and find something positive to do.
This is when daily activities come in, many people like to work out in the morning before the day ahead, many like to take walks and many like to spend time with their family before heading off to work.
For me, it’s the complete opposite. Before you think I’m one of those people who sit at home and play games all day. No, I’m not one of those people, I do have a job, and I do try to go out with the friends that I have (which is hardly any).
I do try, and it’s a lot for me to do. I try to keep myself doing at least something per week just to say I have actually achieved something. But it’s a hard battle to fight with yourself.
This is what mental health can do to someone. It can drain them, it can take their daily life and make it nonexistent. The days seem long, so you sleep away your worries hoping to one day wake up happy.
This is not just one kind of mental health, this can be various of illnesses that do this to our bodies. It’s the way we deal with it that’s important! But also what’s important is that this is recognized as NOT being lazy, but as being mentally drained.
Cheesy quotes aside, music really is one of the best things we humans ever created. Different frequencies of sounds all coming together to create something that can transport you through time and space. A song can take you to the best years of your life or make you bawl your eyes out for no other reason than just the fact that you heard it.
As my life gets more and more chaotic and my emotional state less and less healthy, I always find myself turning to music. I would never go as far as to say that I am an aficionado but it's one of those things that has always played a huge part in my life. Some of my happiest memories are tied to certain songs that never fail to give me the warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia. Whether it's playing the same song on loop for hours on end or constantly switching genres, every two minutes, music has always played a big part in determining my mood and sometimes even how productive I am on a given day. I have spent hours just imagining the million different ways my life could be. I have conquered my biggest fears and achieved my wildest dreams in my head. I have breathed life to my stories and characters just because a song just gave me the vibe. Infact listening to an amazing playlist while writing my fanfictions is probably when I am the calmest.
I’ll admit, I was late to the aesthetic music trend. A natural consequence of being me apparently cause everyone was onboard this train a long time before me. Regardless they have become a staple in life and I think they are literally the best things to ever happen like ever. Whenever I find my mood drifting towards a bad place, I always know I can find comfort in these. Whether it is my mom yelling at me, me feeling like a loser or if I am just having a bad day, there is always a playlist to help me and I am so grateful for it.
From the amazing creators whose talents have honestly no bounds to the hilarious titles and stunning music choices, it's one of the most wholesome and pure communities I have found on youtube and just reading through the comment sections in one of these videos gives me hope that maybe humanity isn’t as far gone as I think. Even as I write this I am vibing to two songs I found on a playlist (interrupted by spotify ads) with rain pouring outside. It's a nice feeling. I have a mountain of work to finish but...at this moment, I feel happy. Contant. Just calm. Rainy days already give me nostalgia for reasons I can’t fathom. Add to that a beautiful playlist and it’s just….good. If I had to imagine heaven had a vibe, I hope this is what it's like.
Aesthetic playlists can range from grunge to dark academia to what I can only describe as pastale. If you have an aesthetic, there is a playlist to match it. These songs can transport you to literally a time so long forgotten by you that even you might be surprised by the memories it may dig up.
I am convinced that these are therapeutic on a level my brain is simply incapable of computing. These are excellent to calm you down or give you that kick of energy you were looking for. Being a night owl, I often find myself listening to these at night which produce either one of two outcomes - I end up happily drifting off to sleep or I stay up the entire night writing a novel in my head before getting side tracked by calming youtube videos and not getting enough sleep. If you aren’t convinced, here are some of my absolute favourite playlists that have been with me through thick and thin -
a playlist of songs that make studying suck less - YouTube
homework vibes ~ homework playlist ~ - YouTube
lets go on a trip through your nostalgia, a 10's playlist ♡ - YouTube
another trip through your nostalgia ( pt. 2 ) - a playlist - YouTube
everything’s going to be okay ~ a comfort playlist for anxiety attacks/intrusive thoughts - YouTube
indie/alt pop songs i mouth the words to - YouTube
songs with ✨ emotional value ✨ - YouTube
gloriously alive and causing shit; finger snappin playlist - YouTube
i'm here to cause a riot; rebel revelry playlist - YouTube
a playlist of songs that make studying suck less - YouTube
a playlist that will make you feel like you're in a movie starring as a badass villain. - YouTube
Basically these songs honestly act as a mood board for me. There is something for everyone and it's just a beautiful community. If I managed to either introduce you to this concept or a playlist that you adore, I consider it mission accomplished !!
One of the worst things imaginable is waking up early, especially on days where you are allowed to sleep in. You spend hours tossing and turning, hoping sleep will eventually happen, except it doesn’t. If you have ever experienced waking up too early for your liking, you are not alone. Up until recently, I spent years waking up at 4:00 in the morning, even on weekends. This was especially bad since I ended up going to sleep too early.
Some people who don’t experience this might see this more as a blessing than a curse because they are unable to wake up early without an alarm clock. However, waking up too early can be detrimental to one’s health, especially because a good chunk of teenagers go to sleep very late.
Waking up too early was something that I absolutely hated about my body. Sure, I can brag about being able to rise before my alarm, but that doesn’t mean that I want to be up and about at that time. Problems that have occured to me waking up too early include:
In order to understand our bodies, and why we arise too early in the morning, it is essential that we learn about our circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm includes physical, mental, and behavioral processes that occur in a 24-hour cycle. A healthy circadian rhythm allows you to go to sleep and wake up at consistent times. However, you still need to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Finding a good circadian rhythm for me took years, because my body was waking up despite being constantly tired. Below, I have provided some tips that have helped me gain control of my circadian rhythm again.
Now, these may not necessarily work for you. Everyone’s body is different, so you may have to try new methods to fix your circadian rhythm. Below, I have compiled a list of even more solutions in case mine didn’t work.
Waking up early is a part of life, it is something that is necessary for everybody. However, it is possible to wake up too early. It is important to listen to your body and figure out how you can maintain a healthy circadian rhythm so you’re getting as much sleep as necessary.
“You have been trapped in the glass room for so long that your head is foggy, like the time when alcohol took you into oblivion. Your hand looks shrunken and your shoes look enlarged. The world from the glass room looks like it belongs to a classic black and white movie, almost fake. It seems like you are one of the characters in the movie and people with blurry, distorted faces and hoarse voices. A sigh that escapes your dry lips is slow, almost as if your brain needed that time to process the surroundings to escape the numbness. Your eyes are fixed on your contorted reflection, on the glass, that looks more unsettling than yesterday.”
This, reader, is derealization and depersonalization.
Derealization is a mental condition where an individual feels detached from their surroundings. While in depersonalization, an individual feels detached from themselves, as if they are watching themselves as an outsider. They aren’t just limited to feeling like being in a dream or numbness. They can be severe and can interfere with your daily life. There are various causes of derealization and depersonalization, ranging from trauma to depression and anxiety.
Describing episodes of derealization and depersonalization is difficult. It can cause individuals to be occupied with checking what is real and what is not. Here are a few symptoms:
Majority of my day goes by sitting behind a glass observing my distorted surroundings or myself. Even as I am writing this, I feel like I am observing myself from the back and I know exactly how I look from behind. I have always felt like I am observing everything from a third person point of view, almost like an alien spying on the human world and every activity. My memories lack emotion and seem unreal. It feels like my memories aren’t mine and it is something from a movie, book, or imagination. During my episodes, time usually goes slow, voices seem hollow and my vision is foggy. I know I am going through an episode, but there is no way out of it. After the episode, I forget whatever I did during the episode.
I have taken this concern to my mental health professionals. They assumed stress as the main reason behind this and would probably change my medicines to help me out. My psychologist suggested stimulating my brain by using five senses to help me out of my episode. Stimulation can range from bubble bath, music to coloring a book. She suggested I engage in physical activities and continue with the techniques she taught me during CBT.
One of the best techniques to help derealization and depersonalization is mindfulness, which basically just means to be aware of your present and stimulate your brain. Here are few mindfulness techniques for when you have your episode:
Remember to keep your eyes moving and your brain working. Don’t continuously zone out on a single thought. Occupy your 5 senses! I usually carry stress toys, gum/candy and small perfumes. They help me stimulate my senses.
Meditation, therapy and medications are other options you have. Remember that these episodes can last for a few minutes and even months! Visit a professional if it lasts too long and/or interferes with your daily life.
Remember that you are not alone and these episodes won’t last forever.
Healing isn’t linear.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depersonalization-derealization-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352911 (learn more)
https://cimhs.com/ (therapy for depression)
https://ticktalkto.com/ (therapy with certified professionals)
In this article, Nataliya Davis will be highlighting some important aspects of how to improve your mental health, explaining how to set aside some time to really think about the things that are important to us. Therefore making room for those things. Prioritizing our mental health should always be one of our main concerns day-to-day, and in general life too. Making the necessary changes in order to improve your mental health is so important, even if it's scary. Even when you are unsure Where the changes will lead you. Outside of any obligation you may have, making sure you are okay is the most important, because it's so easy to forget!
I'm in a completely different mental space now, because I was committed to making those changes. Which I'll highlight a little later in this article! I'm glad I did so, but it didn't happen so easily, I finally made those adjustments after months of hesitation! Hesitation is normal. Not being sure whether or not you're making the right decision is natural. Let's go over some mental health blockers.
Some things that could be affecting how you feel right now are:
Improving your mental health can also include doing things that bring you joy! Some of those things include starting new hobbies or getting back into old hobbies like:
I am also aware that doing things that we enjoy to do to improve our mental health can be just as hard as cutting off a friend, or quitting a job. We all live busy lives, and sometimes it's hard just to get in the regular things that we want to do to have fun, or pursue passions.
Over the last 4 years of my life it's been a rollercoaster to evolve, and improve on my mental health, it's something that you will always have to work on! It's just a matter of making sure you never stop doing it! I've had to quit 3 jobs, I started my own small business and have slowly gotten back into my passions and joys, such as reading and writing which were some of my favorite things to do years prior! Although it wasn't easy slowly getting back to those things were some of the best decisions I've ever made.
What made it a gradual process to do these things were, being in a relationship, working full time and being exhausted. In addition to that having family and friendship stress! I had to reevaluate what I needed as a person, to get back to myself, outside of everything around me! If you have a lingering thought about doing something, even if you are unsure about it in the moment - write it down! Keep lists of goals you want to accomplish to improve your quality of life! Whether it's just one or two things, it's good to start somewhere! It's okay to start small too!
I have always said this in relation to making sure you are okay, "your mental well being is something you will always have to deal with for the rest of your life. It's apart of you. This is your body, and your mind. Things people say and do, Relationships with people, and jobs, will come and go." You will have to maintain your mental health forever, and you will never regret making the necessary changes to keep it in tact. So, if something doesn't feel right or safe let it go. If it's mentally and physically draining you sit and access the resources you have to make those changes. If you know there are things out there you can do that are going to make you happy, take those small steps at a time to pursue it! You will thank yourself in the longrun!
Periods are natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We must not only normalise the physical impact they have, but also the effect they have on mental health too. Instead of shaming others, we must focus on promoting love and support during this stressful time. Whether you are reading this and relate to menstruation affecting your mental health, or want to help those close to you, I hope I can offer some useful tips in tackling this monthly battle.
Over 90% of menstruating people suffer from at least one symptom of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), including headaches, feeling upset, anxiety, irritability, tiredness and bloating. Linked to this, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a health problem similar to PMS but causes more serious symptoms, like severe irritability, depression and anxiety, and these can present themselves a week or two before the period actually starts and ease two or three days after it has begun. Yet, there is still the stigma that people on their periods are overreacting and seeking attention, even though they may be having an internal war with themselves, facing a formidable opponent to their personal growth and success.
While hormones are real chemicals that affect us, the destructive thoughts they bring do not in any way represent who we are, our intelligence, our talents and our overall mental health. It is natural to feel so emotionally distressed during menstruation that you may feel you can’t get out of bed. Hopelessness may cripple you, isolating you from the happiness you may have felt the day before and the happiness that may be found in the future. I assure you, the thoughts that are engendered during this time of the month can be soothed and there is always a way for you to prepare yourself mentally, before this self-deprecating version of yourself takes your place temporarily.
Before I began to question why I was feeling so despondent and angry during my period, I felt lonely and frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t control my emotions. This still happens now; sometimes I don’t even recognise who I am on my period. I find my thoughts being damaging towards my dreams, my regrets and my self courage. As someone who isn’t a stranger to ill-temper, I find that before, during and after my period, I react badly to those around me and I’ll admit, I say things I don’t mean and find no relief in slamming a door or two after an argument I caused to erupt. Feeling alone, I become restless, unable to sleep and losing passion for my interests. Finding control during menstruation isn’t a simple process and even after finding ways to cope, I sometimes find it impossible to counteract unhealthy thoughts.
Imagine training to become an Olympic athlete, being dedicated to wake up early every morning and train, only to be told by your biggest supporter, AKA yourself, that you don’t deserve to succeed/ you can’t succeed/ you don’t want to. Not everyone has a lifelong ambition to become an athlete, but as humans, we strive to become better versions of ourselves, in whatever makes us happiest. Personally, I love to write, but I’ve found that on my period, I tend to doubt my writing ability and words I’ve written before suddenly seem worthless and terrible. I also find my brain trying to convince me I hate my favourite book and it can be difficult to find enjoyment in anything. This is reality; this is life, for a lot of us. But don’t be deterred from trying a few coping mechanisms, because I assure you, you don’t have anything to lose and some of these have really alleviated the symptoms I experience when on my period.
How to care for yourself during menstruation:
How you can help others:
I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding mental health during menstruation, as if you’re not self-aware, you may not only hurt yourself but also hurt others. If you think you have severe symptoms, please don’t hesitate to see a doctor. There are many options out there and people who can help, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and fluoxetine- an antidepressant. If you already have a mental illness, your mental health can ameliorate during your period and you should never suffer alone. Talk to a loved one and explain how you’re feeling, as even if they don’t comprehend it now, they will once you have.
We’re here at TWE to help if you ever have any concerns or doubts and honestly, contact me or anyone from the team if you ever need someone to talk to.