World Mental Health Day 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day, in case you missed the thousands of social media posts filling up your feed today!

Part of me wanted to just silently nod toward it and move on, however I have now found myself sat in the study room with a big bottle of water, my laptop and a promise to myself to just let it all out.

I tend to say something every year about this day in particular, “look out for your friends” or “speak out”, but this year I’m going full unfiltered, uncensored ramble, because I’ve recently figured that exactly that works best for me. (sorry in advance ūüėõ)


I have had quite the battle with my mental health over the past ten years I’d say. I remember clearly the day I was diagnosed with depression, which came a number of years after I started to feel “not quite myself”,¬†and everyone close to me disbelieved it, with comments like “what do you have to be depressed about?!” being flung at me left, right and centre. But truly, what¬†did¬†I have to be depressed about? At the time I was in college, I’d found my people, studying a course I was passionate about, working with an amazing bunch of staff and I had a great social life. I think that was the moment when I realised that even if everything is seemingly ‘perfect’, you could still struggle.

That was 7 years ago, and I have been on and off medication since. Upon reflection, I’m not surprised that I wasn’t in a good place – I was in debilitating pain almost daily (thanks to undiagnosed chronic illnesses), and I was struggling with my eating (maccies fries and a large diet coke every single day for lunch for two years is not¬†normal eating, despite me truly believing that all was fine at the time). Oh, isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?!

Fast forward to right now, and I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve wrote about mental health with a clear head. In fact, this is the first time in 7 years that I have had a clear head, even if it still fogs up some times.

Which actually seems crazy, pardon the pun.


The past 7 months have been the most challenging for me mentally. 7 months ago, I broke down to my parents and told them about my eating disorder, and how hopeless I had been feeling. A month prior, I had gone to my GP (who was so bloody wonderful by the way) and had a very similar conversation which resulted in an eating disorder clinic referral…of which that resulted in a two year wait.¬†I remember so clearly feeling distraught, I had just, what felt like, told the world my deepest darkest secrets, the world promised me help, and then within a week it was taken from me as fast as I’d got it, which ultimately ended in me sobbing to my parents over a Chinese take-a-way a month later saying “I just don’t¬†like¬†food” (current me would be sooooo mad at past me for wasting Chinese food).

My parents, I adore them and I know that they love me and would literally do anything for me, even if they have a funny way of showing it – I think it’s just a parent thing!

My mom immediately researched where I could see somebody privately, and before I knew it I was in for an assessment at an eating disorder clinic, where I was accepted onto the program.

And, as they say, the rest is history.


The past 7 months have been the hardest of my life. I ditched everyone I cared about and loved and had to be 110% selfish and put myself first, and that was so fucking difficult. I am, however, very lucky to have the most incredibly supportive friends who allowed me to fly the nest, with a space promised for me upon my return.

I have had to dig up some real shitty things, relive the lowest of low moments in my life; face and fight my destructive coping mechanisms (still working on this one, I must admit), open up about my biggest regrets, the moments I am most shameful of and the shambles my life has been since my bad brain moved in and set up camp in my head, taking away sassy, sarcastic, bubbly, irresponsible, kind, loving and ballsy brain that was once there before. I like to think I am pretty close to getting her back though.


Facing your past demons, working through them and letting them go, is the most freeing thing a person can do, I believe. It is so fucking hard but the rewards way out-weight the feeling of guilt, regret and shame of the former you.

I am not the whole way there yet, but I am being realistic and taking each day as it comes. I have worked my ass off in therapy and in clinic with doctors and professionals teaching me how to free myself of my eating disorder and move into a new life.

For the first time in the longest time, I am truly, honestly, hand-on-heart so fucking proud of myself.


Having an off-whack mental health condition is not something to be ashamed of. I am thankful of all of my shame, guilt and past decisions, and I say that with all sincerity. I have learned so much from the person I used to be, and it will all be so valuable for the rest of my life.

I actually think that for the first time in my life, I am looking forward to living, which may sound utterly bizarre, but I have spent however long living in the shadow of the woman that I really am.

Poor mental health does not make you a bad person, it doesn’t make you any less of a deserving human being. When you are ready, put you whole heart and soul into recovery because speaking from experience, it is so damn worth it.


Now, in my case, I have a bit of work to do. I am currently within touching distance of being discharged from the clinic and I refuse to let it all be for nothing. I’m moving on with the things I have learned and I am adapting them to my every day life.

I am being realistic. I will still have wobbles, panics and set backs, but what I have learned over the past 7 months have best equipped me to move forward and deal with my demons.


Never be ashamed, wear your insecurities like a badge of honour and freaking own it. Reach out for help, demand help, don’t just ask. Remind yourself that you are¬†worth it and you¬†do deserve guidance and help.

I 100% owe my life to the medical professionals, family, friends, boyfriend, lecturers, strangers and other patients at the clinic who share a nod and a smile, who have seen me through the worst year of my life but more importantly, into what is becoming the best life that I can and will live in for the remainder of my days.

Speak up, speak out and never, ever be ashamed.


*I would also like to add that if you are struggling, eating disorder specific here, I could not recommend Beat enough. They were there for me to turn to when I felt like I couldn’t speak with anyone else, and have amazing support in the form of recovery information sheets, friendly staff on their helplines (which specialise in general, youth and student), their online web chats and all the information a family member or friend could need regarding what eating disorders actually are (I know this one came in handy for those around me who didn’t quite understand).*


Happy World Mental Health Day 2018, 

See you soon, 

Journaling Maddie 

xxxxx

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Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

Yesterday I turned 23 years young and other than playing Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” on repeat, I have had a big long reflect on turning 23 and everything that comes along with it.

Typically, most people my age graduated from university a couple of years ago and are in big boy jobs seemingly smashing life, settling down with a partner, getting engaged and having kids. Honestly, I have no problem with what other people do with their lives, but in the same respect, I don’t see it as a guideline for life.

As a kid when adults asked what I wanted to “be” when I was older instead of the generic ‘doctor’, ‘lawyer’, ‘firefighter’ responses, I nonchalantly answered “work in Poundland”…and no, my parents have never let me forget it.

Whilst I am yet to achieve my childhood dream of working in Poundland, I think 5 year old me was on to something with that sweeping statement of all my lifelong dreams being attached to being a shop worker.


 

Growing up, I had little to no expectations of myself. Not in like a totally self deprecating way but more so in the sense of “what will be will be”.

I was never really academic, I struggled but in the best part I just knew that I didn’t want to be involved in academia. I wasn’t dim or bad at school, I did okay in my GCSE’s, even if I did struggle to choose four topics, when all I wanted to do was music technology and music I ended up taking child development which wasn’t all that bad because I learned a lot about being an adult but I did have to take one of those screaming baby dolls home for 24 hours that has scarred me for life.

I left school at 16 and went to college to fulfil my passion of music technology which was by far the best two years of my life. All of my school friends were stuck in their uniforms still at the school’s sixth form attending 5 days a week where as I was in college 2 or 3 days a week in the middle of Birmingham wearing what I wanted, day drinking, meeting new people, going out and socialising whilst holding down my first ever job at a kid’s play area – that child development GCSE coming in handy!

After college I took a couple of years to work at pubs, my uncles sporting company and for music promoters in Birmingham. I had fun and worked hard but all my friends were at uni and I can’t lie, all of their social media posting gave me a serious case of FOMO.

But two years later I landed on my feet in Manchester, studying Events Management at a uni that specialises in music, and holy heck do I love it here.


 

Moving to Manchester always will be the best decision I made, it allowed me to be the independent little soul that I always was fighting to be, I met some incredible people and I fell in love with the city immediately.

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Taking time to do my degree and getting here a couple of years later than everyone else really doesn’t bother me any more. Getting to 23 you realise that everyone truly is at different times in their lives. I have friends with children, friends in full time employment in some really impressive jobs, some friends making it in the music industry giving me a glimmer of hope that in time, I will be there too!

Getting older doesn’t have to be, and really shouldn’t be, a set back at all. Growing older has just taught me that people work at different paces and it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to reach your goal, one day you will get there and the journey will be the most important and fun part!

So here is to living more in the moment, being mindful and present in the moment, taking time to be alone, because I’ve definitely learnt that me time is just as important as socialising, picking up old hobbies and discovering new ones!

Your 20’s truly are your golden years, everyone around you is at different stages and not one of them is winning this made up race at all. Take time, take chances and take risks because now is the time to be doing it.


 

My goals for myself in this next year are:

  • to be unapologetically selfish
  • look out for others
  • bring kindness wherever I go
  • have fun
  • network my way into a badass graduate job
  • make the most of my final year at uni, it’s the last chance I get to risk-free experiment, explore and find myself for the foreseeable future!

Let’s work on embracing ageing and all that comes with it, rather than cower away from it!

P.S: people do still like you when you’re 23, Blink-182 lied, I have the most wonderful bunch of friends who made my birthday very special:

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All my love, 

a slightly older, 

Journaling Maddie 

xxx

the limit of time

I’d be lying if I said that the past 6 years haven’t flown by, because they have.

After turning 16 it’s almost as though my life begun playing out in double time. Now at 22, faced with a limit of time, all I can think of is how it flies.

The past 6 years have been wonderful, particularly the last 3. There are so many memories that I have cherished, major life events, sad times, amazingly beautiful times, all bundled into one. But I’m struggling to pick them all apart. Really make sense of those years and fill in the blanks in between.

When I was young, around 9, all I wanted to do was grow up, I looked up to my neighbour who had brightly coloured hair and a belly button ring, and all I wanted was to be like her. To have the independence, the freedom to colour my hair, get piercings, leave the house whenever I wanted.

Right now I’m wishing for the opposite, for it all to be simple and to not have to worry about options that will majorly affect my life from now on.

Now I’m faced with a decision and I have a time restriction.

A limit of time, a time constraint, time sensitive.

I know it’s for the best that I take time out to focus but burying my head in the sand is what I’m best at when it comes to head on collisions with myself.

It’s all a bit doom and gloom in my brain right now, so full with so much, but time out is key to clear my mind and make choices.

M x

August; please can you just slow down a little?!

Long time no post!

August has been on the hectic side, to say the least.

It honestly feels like I’ve not had time to just sit back and take it all in so I’m taking a rare non-busy day to reflect on the month so far.

Although it has been crazy busy and jam packed, I’ve been having so much fun with everything that’s been going on!

1st-2nd August:

These few days were spent catching up with the bloody lovely Amy and Travis! I’d not seen them for around a month whilst they were travelling around Thailand and it was so nice to have a good old nitter natter about their travels and a few glasses* of wine.

*maybe bottles

 

3rd August:

I went home today, back to Birmingham. It was only a flying visit, but it was really nice to spend part of the evening with my parents, Max, my sister and her boyfriend Tom. We went to Pesto which is an Italian tapas restaurant.

Later in the evening we went into town to meet with Curtis, Max’s best friend since pretty much forever! We had a nice surprise that some of the other guys came to meet us too, some, including Curtis, we haven’t seen since New Years.

It’s always a good time hanging out with this lot because it’s so effortless and we always have plenty to catch up on!

 

4th-7th August:

Max and I went to 110 Above Festival this weekend! It was super fun and got me in the proper “camping, drinking, getting no sleep” kinda festival mood, but unfortunately this is the only one we are attending this year. I’m gonna do a whole post all about this weekend because I have so much to ramble on about, and plenty of photos to share!

 

8th August:

Another flying visit home, we spent most of this day having a massive lie in to recover from the weekend at 110! When we finally surfaced we grabbed some lunch and packed for our upcoming trip to Manchester.

In the evening we went over to my Nan & Granddad’s house as it was my Uncle Paul’s birthday, so we did the classic Chinese takeout and birthday cake sort of evening with the family, which was really special to me because I got to spend time with my cousin Oli, his girlfriend who I’d not met before, my grandparents and my uncle, all who I very rarely see since moving to Manchester.

 

 

9th August:

This was potentially the most stressful morning of my life. Max accidentally ordered double the amount of train tickets than we actually needed so we were trying to clean up that mess, whilst also getting all our shit in the back of my dad’s car (we packed way too much – shock!) and getting to the train station on time to make sure we didn’t miss our connecting train from Birmingham to Manchester!

We managed to successfully pull it all off – no idea how mind you – and got into my flat just before the rain started chucking it down!

After this we had a lazy 24 hours: dyed my hair like a my little pony, sleeping, eating and catching up on Game of Thrones (finally!).

 

 

10th August:

Amy came home with an absolute hair disaster. For some reason the hairdresser she went to see did the complete opposite of what she wanted and thought that was an okay thing to do!

So we spent this evening, all four of us (Amy, Trav, Max and myself), in Amy’s bedroom drinking and whilst the lads did boring admin laptop stuff, I bleached Amy’s hair twice before deciding to call it a night!

 

11th August:

The hair rescue mission continued today, with one more bleach and a colour attempt (which didn’t go as planned).

 

12th August:

Amy & I got up early and took a trip to Superdrug to find a different hair dye before today’s festivities begun. We picked up a box of Blue Mercury, and went back to the flat to speed dye the rest of Amy’s hair, just to get 3/4 of the way through to realise we didn’t have enough dye!

So I ran back out to Superdrug, my hands covered and stained by blue dye, wearing the most miss-matched lazy outfit – the looks I got were intense haha, to grab another box.

Somehow, and I’m really not sure how, we managed to pull it off and dye Amy’s hair and get ready for a day of festivals all in a matter of hours, with plenty of time to spare!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before, but Amy’s boyfriend Travis is the lead singer of an absolutely fabulous band called The Bright Black¬†(and you should definitely click the link and give them a listen)! Anyway, the band were playing 2 festivals on this day, the first being in Rochdale and the second in Hebden Bridge.

Hande (the girlfriend of Sam from the band) met us at our flat then we all piled into Amy’s car and drove to Rochdale for the first festival. It was such a cute set up, I think free festivals are such a great idea for the community, especially being family friendly fun in the summer hols!

We had a few hours to kill so had a walk around the site and eventually settled on sitting in Yates’ for a few drinks and some food before the band took to the stage.

6pm rolled around and the guys got on stage and played an awesome set, the man who introduced them said that they in fact played last year too and so many people emailed the council asking them to come back and play the following year, and the only band to play two years in a row!

After the Rochdale Feelgood Festival, we all piled back into the cars and Amy drove us to Hebden Bridge. The drive was so pretty but didn’t half feel like we were in the middle of absolutely nowhere, the views were stunning though!

This venue was so stuffy, it was like the oxygen levels were just non-existent! This gig was great though, it was for Pride and it was so nice to be in a room full of people celebrating something so so important!

The guys played another great set, and then we stuck around to watch the last band, before once again piling into the car and finally getting back to Manchester around 1am!

Such a bloody long day but had the best time!!

 

13th August:

Today is my “I have a few hours to sit down and do nothing so I should probably blog”day. Amy is a total trooper and set off early this morning to start her new job, I had a bit of a lie in but started to feel a lil gross so got up showered and ate, Trav has just got back from shopping and Max has just surfaced from bed.

So a lazy afternoon from here on out I think, I have lots of photos to go through and edit from the past few weeks, but that’s all I really want to achieve today. Later on this evening I believe the four of us are heading to The Knott to have a Sunday roast!

 

(Edit: the roast was incredible)

I hope the rest of August is this jam packed, it has been exhausting but I’ve made some pretty bloody lovely memories so far! August, if you could slow down a tad then that would be fab, I’m starting to get Summer blues already and it’s not even over yet!

 

M x