When I was a wee girl, Christmas was my favourite time of year! Seeing all the sparkly lights, flashing. Decorating the house in festive decorations we’ve had for years as a family. Most importantly, opening the presents that were brought by Santa and Rudolf!
But now, being a 20 year old it’s hard to focus on what to get your loved ones for Christmas. But also, if you suffer from depression like myself it’s hard to get in the festive spirit and put on a smile.
Looking back at my childhood around this time of year, I can say I can’t remember half of it as after suffering with seizures it makes me forget a lot of stuff, that’s really hard to say but I just got to come to terms with it.
Some memories I can picture in my head but, yet again I’m not sure when and where that memory took place. So, now I look forward to making this Christmas a special one even though I don’t feel like it is Christmas. I still want to make memories that I can write about and take photos with my family too.
Some things I got planned for this Christmas are some fun activities for when my grandparents come around like;
- playing Cards Against Humanity, which is an adult card game and on the cards are rude sentences which are more funny and it’s better than sitting on your phone for Christmas.
- Obviously, the big famous Christmas meal but because I can’t eat a lot whilst in front of people I just get a small bowl and help myself to what I wish to eat and what makes me comfortable.
- Playing our traditional Christmas game, Monopoly! Apparently, every year me and my family play this but I can’t remember this.
So, what does Christmas mean to me? It means it’s family time, appreciating every moment we have together as a family because one day, that could all change.
Also, this year I’m thinking of doing something a wee bit different. I’m going to donate a few things to children and families who are struggling with money. Just to see a smile on their faces as they have received something for Christmas, it just makes you feel better as a person. I believe this will also have a positive affect on my mental state too, especially my depression just making me feel like I’ve done something nice for someone else as I love helping people.
As with the past few months being unplanned and somewhat uncontrollable with the pandemic what we do have control over is how we spend our Halloween; safely. It is advised that people do not go out trick-or-treating this year as for the social distancing rules.
But this article can be used for the near future after all the lockdown has gone and life has returned to normal. Please stay safe during this awful time!
It’s coming up to my favourite time of the year, HALLOWEEN! It’s been my favourite since I was a child, I used to dress up as a mini witch or even one time I went as Bugs Bunny, I just added a bit of horror to it!
During Halloween, everyone loves trick or treating but how do we stay safe during that time? The tradition of trick or treating is going at nighttime when it’s dark to make the atmosphere of Halloween scary.
But, it’s been proven that kids are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween as they are other nights of the year. So how can we make this more of a safe night but still enjoy the time with friends?
But it's a good and sensible idea to go out in groups whilst trick or treating so then you’re not alone during the night.
Make sure you are going out with people you can trust as if you don’t they can leave you during the night and that’s not really the night you planned on having. Also, you are more visible to traffic, and you can rely on general safety in numbers.
I like to wear comfortable shoes whilst I’m out trick or treating as I’m out for a long period of time and walking non-stop. And whilst out hunting for sweets I only like to go houses with lights on as I feel I can trust them more.
If you are staying in to provide the kids with treats then make sure to keep in mind some children have food allergies. Consider giving treats other than candy, such as stickers, erasers or a small toy.
By following these simple tips you can ensure you, your friends or your kids have a safe but fun Halloween! Happy Halloween everyone! - Mel
This year has been a rollercoaster ride full of unusual decision making and well, last-minute cancellations. This is due to the outbreak of COVID-19 that has affected people worldwide.
But as this year has been ‘cancelled’, what does that mean for the scariest holiday of the year, Halloween? Is that going to be cancelled? Well, no fear, Mel is here with a few tips and tricks of her own that she is going to do during this pandemic and what she plans to do to make sure she enjoys her favourite holiday of the year!
It’s been a weird time of life for all of us but we deserve to celebrate one of the most loved holidays of the year! So why not do it in style but most importantly safely!
Some other ideas are; - See if there are any local Halloween outdoor cinema showings that provide a safe and fun event for everyone.
This year I really wanted to revisit my childhood by going trick-or-treating again as I haven’t been since I was 11. But it all depends on what the rules are for going trick-or-treating during COVID.
That’s not to say I can’t enjoy it though! By trying out those safe activities I’m sure to have one spooky Halloween even if it’s at home. I’m also planning to decorate my bedroom and go all out with Halloween decor!
I get some of my inspiration from Pinterest which I highly recommend if you want to get creative! Check out this link for ideas; https://www.pinterest.co.uk/search/pins/?q=diy%20halloween%20decorations&rs=guide&term_meta=halloween%7Cautocomplete%7C1&term_meta=decorations%7Cautocomplete%7C1&add_refine=diy%20halloween%20decorations%7Cguide%7Cword%7C0
We have found ourselves in a recent situation which is hard to get your head around. That is known as the Coronavirus Quarantine. But has this lockdown helped me and others? Has it had a kind of positive effect on people?
Since the end of March, we have been introduced to Quarantine life. It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t expected but it came and is still here. What is this lockdown for and why are we all being restricted on what we can do and where we can go?
Some of these restrictions are;
The restrictions have stopped many people from working, from leaving their own homes and not being able to see friends or family that are not in the household. For me, this has affected when I see my Grandparents on a Thursday to help them go weekly shopping!
There are worse cases out there than mine but it’s still hard not seeing your own grandparents all of a sudden. The Coronavirus is believed to have started from a "Wet Market" in Wuhan, which in other words is a market that sells both dead and live animals.
How has it affected the area I live in? Well, we are limited to where we can go and what we can do. We’re not allowed to see our friends and we’re not allowed to go out on days out like I normally go for a drive with my dad but we haven’t been on one for months!
But, I believe everything happens for a reason, right? So, the way I look at it is that this virus has helped us to appreciate the little things like what’s on our doorstep! The beautiful walks I have been on since this lockdown started have been truly amazing! This is why I believe Quarantine has helped me to improve my mental state and improved my anxiety of going out in my local area.
One of my favourite walks has been to visit the local horse sanctuary. Visiting the horses there has really built my confidence to get out more but has also grown my relationship with my mum to become closer.
During Quarantine too I have also grown a closer bond with members at TWE, as everyone is finding more time to work within the team- it has let me get to know the newbies too!
This has taught me that I should never take anything for granted ever again! Appreciate the small things and count myself lucky for where I am today and who I have become as there are other people in worse situations than me!
So yes, it has helped me but it has also helped many others grow that bond they might have lost with their parents, children or friends that are living in their household as they might have had a busy routine with work and not enough time to spend quality time with them.
I never really understood what social anxiety was until I started to have mental health issues. During high school, it was a pretty tough time and I began to dislike myself a lot. Losing confidence in the way I looked but then that started to make me withdraw from society itself.
I felt like everyday when I walked into high school that I was being stared at all the time and being judged at everything I did. Yes, I was bullied for my ginger hair and other things too that still haunts me to this day, I even go under a new name because of how much it traumatized me.
When I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and anorexia they told me to research into them so I could gain a better understanding of what they were. So, when I looked up what anxiety was I didn’t realise how many different types of anxiety disorders there were!
Here are just a few of those that I discovered;
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Now, PTSD is when something that has either scared or traumatized you from a previous event that has happened to you. This can cause lack of sleep and even your daily life.
For more information on PTSD; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
So, with OCD this is when someone begins to have obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. If someone has a fear of dirt and doesn’t want to catch an illness, this can cause anxiety to the person and then they would do everything to get rid of every spec of dirt with compulsive cleaning.
For more information on OCD; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/
Then, I came across what I didn’t realise would become a huge part of my life, Social Anxiety. Some other people like to call it ‘Social Phobia’, but this is when the person is afraid of social situations. This anxiety can be very overwhelming but people just assume that it’s shyness but it’s much more than that! It can take over your life, your relationships and friendships causing you to be alone.
This affected me so much during the remaining years of high school as I stopped going out after school to play with my ‘friends’. I started to just come home and then go straight up to my bedroom where I would isolate myself and spend hours on my laptop.
This is the period where I gained a love for the famous Youtuber known as ‘PewDiePie’. I saw him as a getaway from reality and everytime I watched his videos, I was laughing! I remember watching him when he first started to upload to Youtube and now I see him he’s come so far with his career and never gave up his dreams.
Social Anxiety caused me to lose not just my friends but also myself too. To this day I still don’t recognise myself as I can’t remember who I really was. All I remember is that I used to love going out, exploring the wilderness and enjoy being around people, socialising. But, now I can’t even go out the house without someone I know acompioning me. I feel like a prisoner inside my own mind, it’s a very dark place.
Over the years I have done more research about what help there is out there for people who suffer with social anxiety. So I’ve put together some of the tips that helped me get through some of the hardest times;
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you have any other tips on how to deal with any type of anxiety then please let me know! For more information on anxiety disorders please check out these websites that I found helpful too;
Different Forms Of Anxiety - TWE Article; https://teenagerswithexperience.weebly.com/guest-articles/the-many-forms-of-anxiety
How To Deal With Anxiety - TWE Article; https://teenagerswithexperience.weebly.com/guest-articles/dealing-with-anxiety-and-panic-attacks-what-to-do
Doctor Sleep is based on the famous novel written by one of my most favorite authors, Stephen King. This movie was a sequel to Stephen’s 1980 movie, ‘The Shining’.
In Doctor Sleep the story continues from the first movie when the young boy who rides his bicycle around the spooky hotel grows up and tries to forget about his past.
After the horrors of Danny’s childhood, he tried to lock it away by drinking. Danny turned into an alcoholic but he didn’t want to end up like his father did. So, he decided enough was enough and moved away from the town he started to have his drinking problems and go away, far away.
He ended up in a new town where he met a kindhearted man who gave him a place to stay and a new job. A few weeks down the line from having a fresh start he had a whiteboard in his room where he would wake up to see messages written on the board from his ‘penpal’.
This penpal was a wee girl who lived miles away and she had the same powers as Danny had known as ‘The Shining’. She could communicate through his mind and talk to him like he was standing right in front of her.
After they have some troubles with Doctor Sleep they both return to the Overlook Hotel and Danny faces his demons from his past. Meeting the girl twins who personally were my favorite because I love how creepy they make the movie scenes in the hotel. Wearing the same outfits and their voices are just well suited for this movie.
When I first heard and read about Doctor Sleep becoming a movie I was so happy! After loving the first movie I thought the sequel would be even better and I was right! The jumpscares were scary as they should be to be one of Stephan King’s creations.
Watching the movie it was quite a slow build-up to the main part I was waiting for but it was such a grand storyline. My favorite parts involved when Doctor Sleep went into meditation to try and find out where the wee girl with the powers was. She traveled the universe and was flying above the world and it was such a magical scene.
That made me feel like I was in wonderland but to see how meditation can work too is really magical! This just shows how it can help you deal with past trauma and much more!
Doctor Sleep was such a unique sequel to the famous movie, ‘The Shining’. But, the only thing I would change about the movie is the amount of time it took to build up the story as it didn’t really give much information for viewers who hadn’t seen the first movie.
We thought the build-up was too far stretched and could be shorter to keep the viewers interested as my friend who came with me was falling asleep.
But the most brilliant part was the ending when it came together and that’s when people see how the story continues as Danny faces his childhood demons once again.
When I was first introduced to the movie, Girl Interrupted, I was interested in finding out what this film was all about. Normally, when someone suggests a movie to me I just watch it straight away without doing a bit of researching into it. But, with this movie when I watched the first ten minutes of it, I had this urge to find out the background of the movie and to find out who Susanna Kaysen is.
So here’s what I found out;
- Susanna was an author,
- Her hometown was Cambridge, Massachusetts,
- Her family were Jewish.
But, the question that I wanted answered was, ‘How did Susanna get the idea for Girl, Interrupted?’
Well, in 1967 after Susanna finished high school in Boston, she was sent to McLean Hospital. She was sent to this hospital to get psychiatric treatment for depression. But, when being treated for depression her therapist also diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder.
Living with mental health challenges myself, I knew quite a lot about mental illnesses and what causes they have to the person diagnosed. So with BPD, also known as Borderline Personality Disorder, the person will feel detached from reality. This can be caused by unstable relationships throughout life and the feeling of being empty or being alone.
I feel like after doing some research into Susanna that myself and her had a connection. Now, many will read that and think how? Well, growing up I experienced bullying, finding out that my dad was cheating on my mom and that all the responsibility of keeping that a secret was all on me. It felt like it was my duty to tell my mom that my dad was doing behind her back.
Looking back now I know full well it wasn’t my responsibility to. But, that was in the past and I can’t change that. But after all these negative events I kept to myself and I just built everything up inside of my head. I wouldn’t be open about what was going on in my life like I would do today. I felt alone, I felt like I was the only person to talk to. This is where I can relate to Susanna about feeling abandoned.
So, my review on Susanna Kaysen’s ‘Girl Interrupted’. It has got to be one of my most loved and favourite movies I have ever seen. Also, my favourite part in the movie is when Lisa ,played by Angelina Jolie, joins in on singing with Susanna, played by Winona Ryder, to another patient who was upset and they just try to cheer her up.
Simple scenes like this really make you think about the beautiful things in life.
I love how they focused on sharing the patient's view on life too. Normally in society they try to hide people who have mental illnesses or other types of health issues. Mental health is made to be seen as not normal and embarrassing to family members or society, so that’s why they are locked away from the world to suffer in silence.
But Girl, Interrupted shows the true side of what it’s like to be locked away from the world and made to feel ashamed of who you are. I believe this movie changed the ways of treatment for mental illnesses and improving the NHS and government's involvement too. Spreading more awareness and letting people be able to feel cared about.
Freedom is very hard to find, but beauty can be found within you just got to explore more!
In today’s society, the awareness of mental health is getting more notice than it did several years ago. There are more mental health services & support programs provided to help people who are suffering. But there are also programs that provide information for parents and families who have a loved one that suffers with mental illnesses.
When I was growing up, mental health services had less awareness so people suffered in silence. There was not enough funding to provide help for the people, no money to hire doctors and therapists. But also people didn’t really know what mental health was and what caused it to get bad.
When I was diagnosed with various mental illnesses, my parents were clueless as they had never dealt with a situation like that before. The services that were provided for me and my family was known as CAMHS - Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
CAMHS is an NHS service that treats young people with mental health difficulties but also emotional and behavioural problems too. There are many services around the UK that have nurses, therapists, psychologists, support workers and social workers built up as a team.
For more information on CAMHS and how to find help visit; https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/your-guide-to-support/guide-to-camhs/
My experience with CAMHS was not a positive one.But, at the end of the day it helped my parents gain more knowledge about what I was dealing with. But, I felt like everyone was against me and that the sessions I started to have were more for my parents and that I was getting nowhere.
I had this therapist who I never got along with,as she wouldn’t let me have my say. Being a teenager who had built up years of anger from bullying was really tough and looking back on it, I was a really short-tempered teen! Every little situation that made me angry and I would let it out but it would be on either my parents or the therapists that were trying to help me. One time I walked out on one of my therapy sessions and I slammed the door and broke it. After that I never saw the therapist again.
My parents were trying so hard to try and help me but I took no notice of that as a teenager. But now I do notice that and I would take back those years to just say to them thank you for supporting me! So for parents who are new to mental health please do some research but most of all never blame yourself for what your loved one is going through just try your best to support them, as one day they will realise what you’ve done for them! It just takes time.
Growing up, I saw all my friends have boyfriends and girlfriends. I saw my family grow into new relationships but also witnessed the heartbreaks to follow later on. Seeing all those relationships made me wonder if I was ever going to be in one.
The first time that I remember liking a person was my first year of high school. I was walking to my next lesson and this boy walked past me and I just got a sudden smile on my face. He looked back at me and he smiled too, ever since then throughout high school I just was so happy when I saw him.
This boy was in the year above me and we began to grow closer together. We laughed at the same things and we even went around to each other’s houses to play videogames. As the years passed I guess we both started to like each other.
When we both admitted to each other that we had feelings for one another, we did sleep together but after that our friendship was never the same again. I truly miss that friendship we once had but I’m glad my first time was with someone I trusted.
Anyways, after that situation I didn't really experience a proper relationship until I met another boy a few years later. This relationship went on for a good year. It was a grand relationship and yes, I can say that I did love that boy. But as relationships go, we had an argument and it just came to an end.
Since then, I haven’t been committed like I was in that relationship. I’ve been questioning my sexuality because I’ve always seen myself as a tomboy and I’ve had crushes on girls, but thought nothing of it.
It’s the year of 2020 and it feels so grand to say that I am bisexual and not have to worry about what others think or if they will judge me! I’m proud to say I am bisexual and being a part of an understanding team has helped me so much!
It’s been a few years since my last relationship and I’m not looking for one any time soon as I’m happy being single! Being in a relationship isn’t for everyone and why should it be? I plan on using the next few years on getting better in my mental health and travelling the world!
I am hoping to achieve my dream of meeting Alice in Wonderland and the mad hatter too in Disneyland Paris! Also, I want to explore more abandoned places, especially in Japan! So, if I was in a relationship I feel like I would be tied down and not be able to achieve the goals I want to.
Now, I’m not saying relationships are controlling but for me, it’s not the right time to start a new chapter and be committed to a specific someone. I’m still discovering myself as we speak! Never be afraid of who you are!
My mental health has been up and down the past few months, I will sometimes be smiling like the Cheshire cat then the next I’ll be down like Snoopy.
I haven’t had a job since I started to have seizures back in 2018 so nearly a year has passed now. I have been scared to leave the house, I couldn’t travel anywhere alone because my anxiety would hit the roof.
I’ve been applying for jobs left, right and centre. I’ve had a few job interviews over the past few months but I’ve pulled out at the last second because I’m so scared to start a new job.
The few months that have passed have been putting thoughts into my head that I was ready to start a new career, absolutely not thinking about my own health. I was wanting to make this happen as I thought it would get me out more and build up my confidence.
I’ve pulled out of so many job oppintuines and I look back at that and think I’m disgusted in myself, so many other people could of had that interview and a chance of a fresh career path.
The most recent situation I pulled out was when I got a text from my friend who I met back in my old workplace about five years ago. This was my first ever job after high school in Tenpin Bowling, I loved it there. But my reason for leaving last time was my mental health has taken a bad turn.
So, after receiving a text from my friend saying that there were jobs going, I thought I’d apply and then after going into Tenpin for a catchup before I knew it, I got the job! At the time, yes I was so happy and proud of myself! But that suddenly changed after a few days past.
My depression decided to take over my positive thoughts and turn them into negative ones. These thoughts were saying, “If I start the job I’ll be having seizures in the workplace and causing trouble for everyone else”. Stuff like that was happening and it drove me down, down, down.
That’s when I thought I’d text my manager ( to be ) that I had to put my mental health first and I just wasn’t ready to start work. She totally understood and she said it wasn’t a problem.
In my head I was thinking oh she’s going to be so angry with me, but it turned out to be the opposite.
Putting your mental health first and focusing on recovering is the best thing you can do. You shouldn’t force yourself into work and college when your health isn’t 100%. You need to put yourself first, do it when you feel the time is best!