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!
The past weeks have been so weird with this outbreak of the Coronavirus. At first I wasn’t taking it seriously at all, I thought everyone was overthinking and being dramatic about it. Seeing everyone going shopping to get the essentials like toilet roll and bread, going to the extreme of buying 3-4 packs of the stuff was pretty insane!
I only began to take it seriously after a visit to the shops in Durham. Seeing the shelves empty and people pushing others out the way, arguing about toilet roll especially. Then also watching the news doesn’t help with my anxiety, seeing that there were army trucks travelling over the UK.
So, what does this mean for our future? I have never experienced anything like this before but even my parents said there has never been anything this bad before. What should I do about keeping a positive mindset during a tough time like this?
Journalling will help with keeping a positive mindset and also distracting me too from the negative thoughts. I like to look for different types of books with activities in it so I can then use my creativity through that.
I recently bought a few new books like SJG’s ‘24 Hours To Change Your Life’ and Wendy Hobson’s ‘The Bullet-Point Life Planner’. These are activity books with ways of organising your daily life but also ways of helping you to keep a positive mindset.
I started with ‘24 Hours To Change Your Life’. Some of the contents in this book is so helpful and makes you realise how much you can change your life with a few simple tips. The ones that have helped me so far are;
How to get rid of negativity - Keeping a gratitude journal writing down each day who inspired you that day or something you look forward to the following week.
Ditch your toxic friend - For me this was a hard one to do because I’m such a caring person I’ve always put everyone else’s needs before mine, which I shouldn’t do! But, this book gave me some useful tips on how to do so.
The second book I bought helped me plan my life and keep track of my habits then brainstorm my future too! It’s not a boring calendar diary, it's a fun-filled book that is eye-catching too.
So I believe making a plan for everyday, even if it’s just to organise your wardrobe or water your plants it helps to keep the mindset from feeling stressed or anxious. Plus, you can make a list of the positives from this quaintine like spending more time with family.
Learning new skills can also keep you busy and away from boredom. I’m planning on learning sign language as there are free online courses that provide you with the help you need and it’s also in your own home and there is no time limit to finish it!
There’s many online courses you can take part in like;
- Filmmaking and Animation in the Classroom,
There are various subjects you can pick from and learn inside your own home! These are some sites that I found useful; https://www.futurelearn.com/
I’ve been filming for Youtube for over 7 years and I first started out video editing -basically putting mini clips together and then adding my own creative touch to it. I then moved onto filming my adventures I started to experience with the twins known as John and Edward.
That’s when I really got into Youtube as I started to watch other Youtubers like Joe Sugg, Shane Dawson and my favourite one, Pewdiepie.
Pewdiepie was such an inspiration to me as he was the actual first Youtuber/gamer I started to watch. When I got home from school I would straight away check if he had uploaded new content!
When my teenage years came along I would start to hide away a lot & keep to myself. I would go straight to my room when I got back from high school. I made my room very dark with blackout curtains & that’s when my mental health would start.
I was bullied in school so watching Pewdiepie was a getaway from reality for me and also my safe place to be away from all the negative people who were horrible to me.
So, from watching Pewdiepie for many years, I wanted to start making videos that actually involved me talking to the camera and making interesting content like Felix ( Pewdiepie ) himself.
My first actual video of just myself was about spreading awareness for eating disorders. By then I was diagnosed with an eating disorder so I shared my experience with mental health and how I dealt with situations.
Several years down the line, I still film videos as a passion and hobby of mine. I love to video edit as it’s like a coping mechanism for when I get anxious or depressed.
But several weeks ago I received a negative comment. Yes. I have received many negative comments in the past but that was online not face to face like this one was. The young man who I was talking to asked for my Youtube link so I sent it to him and then when he was watching we were facetiming at the same time. All of a sudden he just said to me, “You can’t speak properly you have such a bad lisp”. That’s when he would make fun of me by doing stupid noises.
I didn’t realise how much this negative comment would affect me and my confidence.
After that incident, I thought it was best for me to take a small break from filming. During those few weeks I turned to TWE and changed my ideas for Youtube into articles. It was a huge help for me to start rebuilding my confidence again.
I also started to write in my journals again about my daily thoughts and how I dealt with situations etc. Most of my journal ideas come from Pinterest so I would check that website out if you’re into your journaling like I am!
Yesterday I finally decided I was ready to film again & I never felt better after recording! I really feel just trying to change your routine in your job, hobby or education can help you go further in life! A small negative comment can make your mind think, ‘ Is this really worth living for’ or ‘Should I just give up right now?’ Let me tell you no it’s not! Fight it, show them what you are made of and above all else, surprise yourself!
Some tips that helped me get my confidence back up was watching more Youtubers who had been through the same kind of situation as me when losing the confidence to sit in front of a camera and talk about your life etc.
I wanted to see what they had to say about it and how they dealt with it. But that really helped me feel more confidence as I wasn’t the only one who felt like that.
As what helped me was talking that break from making videos, making time for myself to focus on my own health and life. Getting back to going out with family and not isolating myself in my room. It was well needed so I could also plan out more videos for the future!
Growing up I was never one for being open about my sexuality because I never really thought about it. I was just more interested in getting out and playing in the wildness, discovering new things and mainly just having fun with friends! One of my favourite memories as a child was when I used to get my scooter and walking up to the top of my road and just racing down the hill to the bottom. Little things like that really did make me smile like a Cheshire cat.
I think it was around about when I just turned eleven that I started to question my sexuality. The reason being was every Saturday night me and my family would all sit down to watch Doctor Who. That’s when the character known as Rose Tyler came up on my screen and I instantly fell in love. The actress who was acting as Rose Tyler was named Billie Piper, but being an eleven-year-old you believe all these television series are real.
Rose Tyler was just a natural girl who was full of adventure and with every chance, she took she was exploring the universe with the doctor! That’s what I wanted my life to be full of when I was older, just exploring and experiencing new things! So, from then on I really looked up to Rose but what I didn’t realise was that I had a huge crush on her.
A few years later, now being thirteen/fourteen, it was the final episode of Doctor Who with Rose Tyler in it but at the time I didn’t realise. I was watching the episode and Rose was holding on for dear life to try and shut the time worth, which was like a zip on a pencil case to shut it. But she got shucked into the time worth and the whole thing just collapsed. The doctor was one end of the time worth and Rose was at the other, but the main question was would they ever see each other again?
The doctor made a way for him to see Rose again and say a final goodbye to her but the only way he could do that is by opening up the wormhole for a few minutes. She couldn’t touch him or hug him goodbye as he was as a monitor. He explained all this to Rose but then as he was about to say “I love you”, he faded away as the time worth collapsed.
That scene for me was one of the most upsetting and heartbreaking moments I have ever watched and till this day that still stands. With Rose not being in doctor who anymore I refused to watch it even though I adored David Tennent as the doctor but it was just too upsetting for me!
So, that’s when I questioned my sexuality. Was I in love with an actress that was put in a television series with made-up storylines? Yes, I was. Billie Piper was my childhood crush and since then she still is. But she also made me realise it was okay to like the same gender as myself. I wasn’t ready to tell anyone else about how I felt towards other girls so I decided to keep a wee secret to myself until I was ready.
When I left high school that’s when I decided to come out about my sexuality because I felt like the time was right too. Plus, the LGBTQ+ community had more of a voice and more notice than it did a few years back. It was great to be able to speak out about who I really was and that I shouldn’t be ashamed of myself.
Yes, I was worried about the negative opinions that would come with being open about my sexuality. The first negative situation I faced was when one of my closest friend’s partners had to make a sly comment when I was out enjoying myself socializing. He made me feel like I was an outcast and that ‘my kind’ shouldn’t be allowed to leave the house.
At that moment in time, I felt like running away and never looking back. But I decided to just call it a night and being sensible I just booked a cab and went home. That’s where I just cried and then talked to a few friends about the situation.
If you are planning on about coming out and don’t know how to or where to start, here a few helpful tips on how to feel relaxed and not pressured into doing so. Coming out is a personal choice, that should only be done because you feel like it's right for you
Most importantly choose the first person you are going to come out to. My first choice was my friends down in London as they are the most understanding and I believed that a huge weight would be lifted off my shoulders.
And that’s exactly what happened! Now, I’m not saying everyone’s coming out experience is going to be that easy but it will make you feel less panicky and will give you a brief sight of what it will be like. I would make sure you come out to someone you can love and trust, that will help you through coming out to others and will support you through the tough times.
I started writing when I was halfway through high school, so around year nine. I started writing in journals I brought but others decide to call them diaries. I would just write about how my day went and how I felt and basically what was on my mind that day. It was like a release for me to get everything off my mind that was bugging me. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I thought at the time everyone would laugh at me but I was so wrong! Nearly all my friends kept a journal, scrapbook or diary. There are so many types of ways to release those worries that are stressing you out.
When I got to year 11, that’s when the stress started to really get to me because of the exams that were coming up. This made me think about what I actually wanted to do with my life as it’s a massive step in your life!
With all those worries on my mind, I needed a way to relax and get my head around what was about to come in my life. That’s when I researched ways of letting those thoughts be free and I came across this website where I could anonymously submit blog posts. Before submitting my posts I had to read through what others had written about so I could get an idea of how to word my submissions.
Others were writing about how they started to see a counsellor in school so if they felt like they were about to have a breakdown or something had upset them they could go straight to their counsellor at any time just to let off steam!
My first blog post was about how I started to distance myself from my friends. I stopped going out with them I just stayed at home in my bedroom isolating myself. I explained in the blog post how it felt like I was punishing myself for feeling so worthless. As it was submitted anonymously I had no one reach out to me about it and at the time I felt that was the best way to do it but now I look back and think no it wasn’t at all! I should have realised that I should have got help for the way I was feeling keeping it all locked up inside wasn’t healthy at all and that’s what drove me to become ill.
I stopped posting for a while as it became too much for me to keep up with and soon I forgot about the whole submitting my thoughts etc. But that’s when I discovered Youtube! I started to talk about my thoughts on the camera and not anonymously. It made me feel like I was finally opening up about what was going on in my life and that it was okay to open up.
I didn’t expect so many people to watch my videos I started to do and they were replying to how they were going through the same situation but then telling me how they dealt with the situation and how maybe that could help me, which in some cases they did!
One of the replies I got on one of my videos was from the head of Teenagers with Experience, Emily. She said she wanted me to talk to me about sharing my experiences online as part of her team. Emily wanted me to become a writer for her team and I thought why not! As it’s been years since I stopped writing about my feelings I thought it was about time to return to what I used to love doing but to also help others out too.
So right now I’m currently doing what I love but it’s also shown me how it helps improve my mental health as I can just open up a google document and just write away my thoughts and feelings almost like a journal.
Maybe you could be apart of our writing team. What experiences have you got to share? Let us know! - Mel