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'The Cupboard': Opening Up About How You Feel

I always describe to my friends the terrifying notion of opening up to someone, like having a truly messy cupboard. As a child, I would tidy my room and I would secretly thrust all my clothes into my wardrobe. My mum would come in to inspect the job, she’d open the door and all my rubbish would spit out at her. I’d just be standing there, so ashamed at my own ineptitude. All those possessions I’d stuff away in the messy drawer, wardrobe or cupboard became the perfect metaphor for my bad memories and anxieties.

There is only so much you can fit in the cupboard. Everything you don’t want to remain in front of you and use, but what you still hold onto, gets chucked in. With every bad experience I had, I bagged it up and stuffed it into the cupboard and battered the door just enough to get it shut so that I could go on with life without ever thinking of it again. I tried my best to ignore the existence of the cupboard, and I would never dare to open it up again because I know as soon as I would – all of those things that I am secretly possessing would burst out in the most suffering and uncomfortable manner.

So many people will live their life never opening up that messy cupboard to another. It’s a very vulnerable feeling to tell someone all those inner insecurities and fears; all those bad experiences you can’t muster enough courage to discuss again through fear of reliving it, as you reticently walk someone else through those moments. People often persist that you should open up, but already you can see the humiliating visual of someone asking for something in your cupboard and the horrifying situation you’re faced with when you finally open it up to find it.

That’s the thing with the emotional cupboard too: not all the things in there are bad. Think back to when you were younger and you had that messy drawer or cupboard in your bedroom and unexpectedly, you realise you need something from it – that gift someone gave you at Christmas, or your favourite scarf you stored away because you didn’t need it through summer. You look at the cupboard and envision the impenetrable stress of it, and that perhaps it isn’t worth opening the door to hunt for it… you can always buy something else, you could always just go cold this winter. The fear of opening the cupboard always seems to outweigh the possible advantages. Anxiety is a black hole: it absorbs the good potential and emanates your fears.

My cupboard was a hoarder's mess. I flung my embarrassing memories there; I boxed up a string of my insecurities like tangled, hoary, ruined Christmas lights and chucked them in. You would even find a few ex-boyfriends in there. Sometimes I would lose things to the cupboard, like when I accidentally threw my faith in. I’d associate my faith with my hopelessness, and throw that in the cupboard too – never to be brought out again out of dread. My cheerful memories that were grouped with the bad, also live there. Yet even though I didn’t go near the cupboard, I always remembered it was there. Out of sight, is not always out of mind and the quiet insecurities grew loud and obnoxious until my cupboard was bursting off its hinge.

My anxieties manifested like painful cysts in my life, because I always remembered what I was illicitly harbouring. I struggled with relationships for a while because of fretfulness, so I just didn’t approach them. I never took anyone seriously because I hid from the hurt I had experienced before and rejected any position that brought me close to that. I never felt I could open up and see someone’s face as I stand above the damaged, messy contents that have burst out all over the floor. You know it is a burst too, when you finally release all your feelings. Your words just keep coming out and you’re crying hysterically, and all that you feel in that moment is vulnerability and damage. However, the lengthy panic and dread of not opening up gave me more pain than what any of the contents of the cupboard could ever give me.

Over time I built my relationships more with people, until finally it was time to just open that cupboard up. I felt so defenceless, but when I cracked it open I was shocked. I opened the door for nothing to fall out – but still fragile, like a tower of emotional Jenga. Cleaning out that cupboard was addressing my issues, and it took a lot of time. I’d spend hours with friends, relatives, anyone – just clearing out all that gave me a heavy mind. As I shifted out the bad things I found the good things too, the blissful memories I forgot about and the wonderful qualities about myself that I didn’t want to see before. After taking it all apart piece by piece, the cupboard was not a mess anymore. Everything in that cupboard had it’s own place. The cupboard isn’t empty now - there are still some things that get kept there, and still some things I need to take out – but it is manageable and I am not afraid to go into it. Every so often, it’s worth opening up that cupboard so it doesn’t build up again and when you realise that everything truly has it’s place. Like my mum always told me after she stood grinning at my tidy room: ‘Isn’t it so much easier and nicer like this?’.

It’s okay to have those fears and anxieties, but it’s about how you organise it in your life and deal with it. Some things, they belong in your cupboard – and only a few people will get to see them, but you should never be afraid to open up. If you spend so much of your time and effort avoiding that hurt by hiding it away, it will make you sick. It catches up to us all and you’ll realise that when you can no longer put things to the back of your mind, as you have so much built up inside your head already.

There is a lot of vulnerability involved in opening up, but it’s much more painful to be closed off than it is to be open. Being hurt and having negative times is part of the process of life. Each time someone or something disappoints you or hurts you, if there is a next time: it’ll be easier. You need to trust the process, and trust that the strength you will accumulate from facing your fears and opening up about the bad things will be a weight off your shoulders. Your mind is an elastic band, if you keep your mind healthy you can bounce back from things but if you build it up and put too much weight on it – it will snap.

Opening up feels impossible, please just try. I have had a tough time these past few months and when I spoke about it, that’s where things changed for the better for me. Speak to someone about it all: your partner, friends, family or doctor. Take care of yourself, we all have had that cupboard.

How Many More Days of Mimi?

So as it turns out, writing quietly and reservedly on a blog where I have marketed myself as honest about everything and able to discuss absolutely every aspect of my life - has proven problematic.
I felt like on '100 Days of Mimi' I reached a point where I felt like a living, breathing oxymoron. I was trying to write from a different place than before, and in the grand context of what I had been doing previously - it felt like it didn't have that seamless fit, and perhaps that the blog looked slightly confused.

I have spent a laborious number of weeks revisiting content, revising the site's design and doing the blog - what I would consider - justice. When you have so many people interacting with the content you put out there it feels like a lot of responsibility, as I want to ensure that what I have built is thriving, and the best that it can possibly be.

I realised over the course of months that the format of telling you all about my daily life, did not completely feel comfortable or right to me anymore. I had to put myself first and take time to reconsider my options in writing: if I would write again and if I did, how could I make the transition from 'mood diary' to general 'mental health' writing? I know writing a daily piece on my mental health in the context of my life was what brought a lot of you here and is what most of you want, but I am reserved about certain aspects of my life now and also, some days there really is not much to report on! That in itself is a positive: I've been doing well and living a balanced life.

Now, this isn't a goodbye to the 'Days of Mimi'. Infact, I hope to still be open with you all and discuss issues at large of experiences in my own life with my own mental health - and all that I will write, will be coming from my personal experiences and what I know. There will still be that 'diary allure' to this blog, but now the content will be much more diverse by taking away the general reporting on my daily life. The 'Secrets To My Favourite Life' series was well received by people, and I'm elated that I can transition this blog to cover a range of diverse topics and formats. I feel that as the blog is growing, it is now maturing - and I am very enthusiastic about it all. I hope you all enjoy the pieces I have worked hard on, and continue to engage with the content I write. I love reading your feedback and thoughts, as usual you can find me on Twitter - where I have always loved to communicate with you all.

Following Thursday 21st December 2017: There will be a new post at 8pm every Thursday.
Along with this weekly scheduled post, there will be many other spontaneous posts appearing without a set schedule - the best way to keep up with the 100 Days blog is subscribing by email, which you can find near the bottom of the new home page.

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 7


This post is going to be controversial for a host of reasons, one being that I am discussing an idea you might dismiss as 'Hocus Pocus' make-believe and another being that the idea I'm going to discuss may almost seem insulting when using it as a tool for bettering something so complicated like Mental Health. Let me start off by confirming: I truly don't believe the power of positive thinking will cure a mental illness, however this idea serves as a really good tool for bettering your wellbeing - even if it's just a little.

In June, I read a book called 'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne, and it's very short and easy to read but with a revolutionary concept. Initially as I bit into it I felt it was silly, I don't believe in horoscopes or such so I did think the notion of 'power of thought' was weak, if anything. The more I delved into the chapters, the more my faith in all things - inclusive of myself - grew strong. Taking away my own belief in the idea of 'The Secret', it at least gave me something to focus on and gave me the idea that I could be productive with my emotions - which is something that definitely nullifies my mood when I am suffering from a depressive episode.

The concept of the book is rather simple but it goes on to explain the practice of 'The Secret', and examples of it. Essentially, The Secret is the idea that you can think things into existence. If you want something bad enough, and if you visualise it strong enough - you can make it happen. There are specifics to it, such as - thinking something into existence is not easy. For example, if you want a job - you would need to visualise yourself having the job and not have any doubt whatsoever that you can get the job. It seems pretty impossible, but it explains why we don't always get what we want. The Secret works in a negative way too, if you have anxieties about situations - the universe can sense that and it will bring those into existence. Many celebrities believe in The Secret, and credit it to why they've had success.

I know as I explain this, it looks a bit daft - trust me I didn't believe it either. I honestly recommend you all read the book, because it changed my perspective on a lot.

To simplify what I'm trying to say, I believe what helped me get out of the hole I was in - was having faith that I could. Truly believing in myself - to the point where I could visualise what it was like to have success - gave me my success. It is not easy at all, but you just keep trying at it - keep visualising what you want for yourself, there is no true downside to that. Sometimes just being told that what you think can be productive in itself, is an excellent tool to push forward and get what you want. As someone with a mood disorder, I felt like I could never truly control my mood if I were in an episode. Whether you believe in 'The Secret' or not, focusing your thinking and having faith in your thoughts really does help.

Concluding this series, there are many little tools I use to try and control my illness and make myself feel better. All I can truly say is that you need to be productive - be it getting yourself to the doctor, changing aspects of your life for the better or at least thinking about ways you can get yourself feeling better. With mental illness, the problem is - we often cannot accept we need change, or that it is even possible. So it is all fine and well that I am telling you ways to improve a situation, but if you are feeling truly hopeless - I know what I am saying will just seem like empty words. If you feel this way, all I can say is that you reading this now, resonating with my words, is a step towards something better - because I have you thinking about your mental health. To all of you out there who are reading and you know of someone in such a desperate situation that you know they won't seek help, be around, available and attentive. Some of us need help and we don't realise it.

This series has been all the things I have implemented in my own life for the better, and I am doing well. Most importantly, I've come up with my own personal plan to keep myself living the most balanced life I can and I've taken control of all that I can control. I hope you have found some of my tools for coping with mental illness helpful, and if not - I hope it has at least been valuable in inspiring you to consider your own mental wellbeing.

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 6

Diminishing Fears and Realising Goals

I've spoken about little steps to take to improve your mental wellbeing and change your life, modelled on how I took control of my own life - but the most difficult aspect of that, is finding the motivation to make those little steps. I've spoken about small ways to motivate yourself and to get rid of some negativity, but the power of taking control of your mind - I've found - is curating the ability to diminish your fears and realise your goals. I don't think I have a foolproof method to share about doing this, so I'm going to discuss my thought process on my own personal journey of identifying a few of my fears and tackling them, and realising my goals and heading towards them.

My friends joke about my fear of commitment a lot, and it's a very recent negative aspect that has been added onto my personality through the trauma of having an investment in something fall through. I have a fear of permanence, more intricately, a fear of making the wrong decision and it having lasting effects. It scares me career-wise, in my personal life and in almost every decision I make that I know will last a week or more. How I managed to tackle this? I dared to take a risk with things, made drastic changes to my life and I mentally de-pegged my reservations about commitment. I had to experience things to teach myself to think differently. If you are like me and you struggle emotionally when it comes to commitment and decision making, remember this - nothing is permanent. If you make the wrong decision - with most things - there is a way to undo it, rectify it or compensate it. Sure, there are the really serious things you may think you can never come back from, but that is rare. In almost all things that affect you, you will still have some method of control - and you always reserve the ability to try.

I have a fear of not being forgiven. I worry a lot that there are things I can't mend with people and that makes me sick, I learned that opening up and pouring out all my feelings and just generally being honest with people - did me the world of good. Even if they can't forgive me at the end, it feels good to know that I've done all I can. These little fears, I realise, can all be silenced.

I inevitably, have a fear of failure. I remember in June I had a final 'bad day', where one of my fears were confirmed. I had a lot of anxiety about something that I didn't want to happen - and then, it happened. The worst happened. I'm sure we've all had situations similar to that where we worry about something horrible happening, then it happens. Almost like you have thought the worst into existence, of which I will touch upon in the next post. However, when that horrible thing happened - I looked at my life and thought wow, it's time for things to get better.

In that moment of desperation where my last fear was confirmed and I faced failure head on, rock bottom was the solid foundation for my life. I had no money, I had no prospects, I lost friends, I lost a relationship, I suffered trauma and I was just generally lost. Then I realised - if I lose it all, then my biggest fear of all - loss - will never be realised again. How can you possibly be scared of losing things when you've already lost all the things you feel are important to you? I proceeded to rebuild my life, I had no real motivation to - but I had faith in myself. There were no overwhelming reasons for me to continue, but I chose to continue because I believed somewhere inside myself that things weren't over for me, and things had to get better.

I re-evaluated my goals. For a while I coasted through my life and never really voiced my goals, I guess the idea would be finishing University with an excellent grade, finding an excellent job, being in love with the best partner and living a bougie lifestyle with all the money I had. Aren't those goals really what we all want, at least on the surface? I reconsidered those goals. I stopped putting pressure on myself and subsidising my quality of life for University. I thought up my dream job and I decided 'I'm going to do this, here are the steps I need to get there' and I started climbing. I realised I didn't need a man for my happiness, and that a partner is an accessory to my happiness - not the reason. I put myself out there, I pushed myself and pushed myself until I had a buzzing social life I was happy with. 'Don't you get lonely without a partner?', never. I don't have the time to feel lonely, nor do I have that space in my life that's unsatisfied - because I pushed myself to realise my own potential. If you're lonely, surround yourself with people. If you're bored, do something. I whipped myself into shape because I refused to let my fate be failure. My goals now? I am not concerned about things like money and popularity. I want to keep flourishing professionally, and keep the smile on my face - that is my goal. I want to keep waking up excited for my day, because for too long I would wake up in the morning sad because I couldn't just die in my sleep.

I feared failure more than I feared my own death. When my fears came true, I had nothing more to be scared of. I might've had to have hit my lowest point to re-evaluate things for myself, but I am writing to you because you don't need to have that trouble if you try and take on small nuggets of my advice. If you are an over-thinker, visualise those fears at night. Then once you visualise those, visualise the ways in which you can change your fate. Make those visualisations of your comeback so strong that it is in the forefront of your mind whenever those fears creep in. Plan your success in your mind and visualise it as much as you can, it's completely make believe, but it will silence your anxieties. My fears made me realise my goals and pushed me towards them. Write down your goals for your life, even if they're unattainable. Visualise them, and visualise them often. Soon your mind will be so accustomed to the idea of your own dream that you will feel less afraid to approach your goal, and once you make that first step - keep going.

Overthinking would be my downfall, but now it's my best tool. Push yourself to visualise those things often, and keep going. It isn't as black and white as 'ah yes, my life faltered so I got on with it'. I didn't wake up the day after my worst day and change, I had to see doctors about medication, I read a lot and got therapy - then I proceeded towards those goals, and I progressed to make those changes in my life because what was there to lose? Ask yourself that, if your life feels so empty - what is there to lose in taking one little step that could maybe change your life? If you feel so bad, what is there to risk in taking a chance at potentially improving your situation?

In your wildest dreams, visualise what you would truly want in your life if you could have anything. Visualise yourself eradicating everything you're scared of. Visualise it so often it motivates you to make that first step. The first step could just be seeing a doctor about issues you have, or waking up early. But if you need a motivation to start to change your own life, look inside yourself - because you deserve better from life, and you should not accept anything less.

Eventually, that's what I learned. I promise you every day, I am grateful for my decision to stay.

As you all know I had to take a short break from this series and work commitments. I'd like to thank everyone's kind and thoughtful messages through what has been a difficult time, my family and I very much appreciate it. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers - Mimi

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 5


I've learned the hard way that distancing yourself from others will be your downfall. When I am of ill mental health, the support of others goes a long way. You have got to figure out who is a benefit to you and who you should keep around. For a long time I felt embarrassed that I had to rely on others for emotional support, but it's better to perhaps put that little bit of pride aside for your sake of mental wellbeing. I am a person who has always been there to support others, so the few times I have sought it out - I suppose it's only fair, as it's a mutual support situation. You will find, if you have the right people around you - they will be more than happy to be there for you when you need them.

For support, I have quite a small circle. Recently I have made a lot of friends: in the past few months I've met a bunch of new people and gotten to know them better, however I do view them in more of a manner where I'd invite them out but not necessarily call them late at night to vent. I approach my closest friend a lot, because I've known her for 10 years and she has always been available for me - and she also is very intelligent, so I value her opinions and feedback when I vent my frustrations. When I need a lift up, I have several friends who are there to pick me up and make me feel good or just make me laugh. I don't think I'd be in this good place mentally now if it weren't for my friends who stuck by me through the bad.

I have a healthy love life. Although it's one thing I vow never to disclose fully anymore on social medias or anything. However, where my downfall is - I don't let people really in anymore and I recognise that's something I need to work on. When you have someone betray you in a relationship, it starts you off on peculiar footing when it comes to your romantic life afterwards, but I am okay with this at the moment. It's nice to have others take interest and know that you will not be left lonely. As a person, I'm someone who is very intimate and emotional so even though I do not need the companionship romantically or crave it, my personality flourishes when I have somebody to bounce off of. I recognise that achieving positive mental health is not bringing your damaged side to your romantic life, and I'm almost there, but in the same vein - being able to allow someone to see you for all you are and all you feel, is a special thing. Having a romantic companion can really help, but don't tell yourself it's necessary because it isn't. I have such a positive relationship with myself, and I wouldn't seek a relationship with another if it jeopardised that. I had rejected a lot of men out of fear because I felt so bereft from my last relationship, but I'm at a place now where I have so much more confidence in myself and I feel less vulnerable with men, so I've allowed myself to feel less fearful of some investment.

You choose your friends and you choose your partner, but what you can't choose is your family. Some people do pull the short straw, you might not have a wildly supportive family who care about you intimately and emotionally. I've been lucky in that I do have a really lovely, healthy family dynamic and I've never been scared to discuss things like my mental health. However, I do encourage everyone to try and speak to family members about things like this. You won't know their reaction until you just discuss it, they may be more supportive than you think. If you have a family who are vastly unsupportive, I appreciate you may feel you want to distance yourself from sharing with them - which is okay too. I've seen people in situations with their families where the best option is to move further from them, and although it's not ideal, it's about what is best for your health.

So I've described all the ways I have a good support system and companionship, however, I never really went into how I achieved this. I know a lot of you reading may feel you would benefit from this companionship but don't know how to achieve it. Go out and talk to people is my best advice. Aim to make several conversations with people everyday, I always make friends when I'm out in the evening, and it really makes my confidence flourish too knowing that I can socialise really well and that I am likeable. If you're too anxious to be so heads on, try following people you think are interesting online and interacting with a few of their posts, keep it casual - it could work! Also, if you are in a really desperate place - normally there are support groups available where you can meet others with similar mental health issues as yourself and it gives you a place to discuss it and even just meet others who know how it feels to not feel great. To find these support groups perhaps speak to your doctor, or approach local mental health charities - which you can find from a google search of your country and 'mental health charity'.

Don't make yourself lonely, it will really not make you feel great. When I surrounded myself with people who loved me, it made my life better. I also discussed cutting people off before, and thats the people who are really detrimental to your mental wellbeing, don't just cut off everyone - that's isolating yourself without good reason. Don't cancel the people who are rooting for you.

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 4

The Little Things

In order to have balance in your life, a routine is your saviour. Gone is the anxiety of worrying about the little things when you have a schedule you are familiar with. With my mood disorder, establishing routine is the most necessary way of keeping my life stress free. However, to continue with a routine you need to have the motivation and excitement to carry it through - that's where I struggle.

I thought up little things that would motivate me, pick me up and push me to continue living my life in a balanced way. These are all very small adjustments we are all capable of, and as silly as they might read, they are very beneficial for those who require more balance as a result of mental illness - or for those who just want the best chance at having a good day.

I am not saying at all - if you do this and do that, you will be cured of depression. Of course not! But these things do help give me a little lift, which make me feel less helpless in trying to control my mental illness.

One of my issues when I was depressed was that I didn't want to leave my bed. Part of my routine that helps keep away an episode of depression is having a constant time of waking up. However, there would be nothing stopping me rolling over and turning off my alarm - so I made small adjustments that motivate me to follow that routine. One change that massively changes how I feel about waking up, perhaps because I love food, is having a really nice breakfast. I can tell you that if I buy a cereal I love, the night before I will be excited at the thought of waking up to eat it. Today I bought a lovely cheese and I had a quick and easy cheese and toast. Buy your favourite fruit juice for you to have with breakfast, make waking up a treat and schedule in that time to just enjoy your first meal - I usually catch up on news whilst I eat. Another good pointer in motivating you to wake up, especially in summer, is opening your curtains before you go to sleep. This is potentially only good advice for those who don't have a ground floor window as that could feel quite creepy, but nobody can see in my windows so I leave the curtains open before I sleep because I know that in the morning my room will be bright when the sunrises - helping me naturally wake up with the daylight.

The next change I made, which I have emphasised before, is keeping your environment clean. Embrace minimalism! Despite how difficult it may seem. I've had somewhat of a fresh start with my environment, where I have very little junk but it makes me feel so content. When you don't have to look up at a mess, oddly enough you don't feel like your life is such a mess! The less you hoard, the less you feel stressed in your environment too - I assure you! Also, I used to have so many clothes - okay, I still do - but I have gotten rid of so many pieces that I was hoarding but would never wear. Having my clothes rails arranged in such a manner where if I wake up and need to get ready quickly - it feels easy, and I can always dress well since I can easily see what I own. Maybe as I'm getting older I'm finally embracing quality over quantity, but it's such a wonderful fuss-free way to live.

Carrying on from the idea of getting ready in the morning, make your getting ready process simpler. Always start your day off with a quick shower, take care of your body too. I moisturise every day and I would tell myself before I didn't have time for it - but it takes 2 minutes. Then when I apply make-up, I only apply around half the amount I used to! I now do my makeup in 10 minutes instead of an hour I used to spend, and I've got the right products where I still feel like I look my best despite not wearing 3 different concealers (which I was very guilty of). My hair only takes 5 minutes now, I cut most of my hair off a few months ago and it just makes life easier and I definitely look more sophisticated. When I miss the long hair? I just clip in my hair extensions, which also takes around 5 minutes.

I am motivated to follow my daily routine if I keep a diary, I often look over my schedule during breakfast. I buy myself a really nice diary and a really nice pen - and suddenly it feels like I have my affairs in order! I write everything in my diary and I never miss anything out. It's so good to have things planned out because it completely abolishes stress. I even plan my specific times to look at my emails, when I have breaks - which you should always give yourself - and social events. When I know I have something coming up, as I write in my diary I also make my travel arrangements at the same time so I can write in which time to get on the train etc. It makes life so much easier for the sake of a few moments. At the same time, as much as my illness doesn't agree with spontaneity - I love being spontaneous, so I don't over-plan. I will leave myself a lot of free time so I can decide at that time what I want to do.

Tips for during the day to help you get through? Have a set of earphones so you can listen to music. Make yourself various playlists and listen to whatever ones for your mood, for example: a calming playlist, a happy playlist, an upbeat playlist... they really do help shape your mood for the better. It's good to have those so that you can turn them on and get an immediate lift. Another tip I follow is that I always have a bottle of water with me and something for snacking: which is usually a few nuts. I find when I become dehydrated or hungry through the day and if I don't necessarily have the time or am in the place to help that, sipping water and snacking really stops that 'hangry', (that's hungry and angry), feeling from blossoming.

Importantly, I recommend everyone makes time to do what they love. For me at the moment, that's writing, reading and exercising. I never book myself completely up to the point where I don't have 15 minutes of doing what I enjoy in a day. Writing and reading are very calming activities but at the same time they are very stimulating. Exercising, as we all know, is one of the best ways to get an endorphin rush - also seeing results in my body is a really nice motivator to continue, looking my best inspires me to keep going with my exercise regimes and I always feel good following a workout. Keeping physically healthy will always help with your mind, making an effort with your diet too is another way to keep you feeling good - don't restrict yourself in a way where you feel grumpy, just make the effort to have more fruits and vegetables and treat your 'treats' as a treat! I have a sweet tooth, so there are times I would eat a lot of chocolate and then that would make my skin bad and then that in turn, would make me feel bad. Having little portions of those things you crave is healthy, bingeing is never a fantastic idea for me.

One of the changes I made to my life was choosing to wind down around bedtime, recently I've been hooked on a few TV shows so I watch until around 22:00, then I turn off my social media and read until around 11pm. This is the hardest part of my routine: learning to wind down. I get excited for my bed because I always make my bed in the morning after I wake up and I make it look really comfortable for coming home to. I almost christen my evening by lighting candles, I blow them out once I go to get into my bed. I always have a fruit tea before I sleep, it helps me a lot when I have insomnia. Turning off social media out of everything is probably the hardest because I always reach out to my phone when I can't sleep, it's really counterproductive. However, occasionally looking at odd funny videos on my phone can be good and I just set my alarm for the next morning and nod off.

I hope these 'little things' help some of you, of course I am not telling you all that this is how you should live - these are just a few of the changes I've made in my life which make my day a bit easier and happier. Please read this article in the context of the other pieces, I follow this routine along with taking my medications and attending my appointments. Also, I understand it's not easy. There are days I struggle to follow this! Of course when you are in the bottom of depression, you care less to wake up to an alarm and a nice cereal will not make everything change for you, but these small changes are steps towards getting a little bit of control over your life when it's really difficult. I hope you find this as helpful as I find it in managing my illness, or at least gives you food for thought.

London, UK

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 3

Professional Help

What do you do when you are dying? When your body registers that you’re about to die, it fights to survive, doesn’t it? In those potentially fatal moments, a moment that could be your last, everything in you kicks up a gear to try and avoid death. When a fire starts, usually you don’t sit in your chair and think about your own quality of life and whether or not it’s worth getting out the burning house – or do you? At which point did my illness become something that overtook all my common sense? At which point did my moods derail my life? How do I stop?

I try to stop myself from thinking, but I’m thinking about thinking and it makes it worse. I punish myself for thinking then I get addicted to punishing myself. I hate myself for punishing myself, so I become obsessed with hating myself. One after another, like dominoes – watching your life fall down in slow motion. There wasn’t a second I just blinked and thought ‘Wow, what devastation!’, I recognized my actions as I done them and I knew the destructive nature of my moods but I couldn’t stop it. My sensibility was frozen; the only way to thaw it out was to get someone to intervene.

My nurses always compliment my self-awareness; in fact, everyone compliments my self-awareness and my ability to articulate what others can’t conceive of. I think in such a peculiar and different way, I am a very deep person and that gives me a new breed of intellect, which is creative – the capacity to understand what others can’t. It is my purest quality and it is the point that makes me unique to others, I am the woman who men get to know and get stuck in a loop of conversation about their innermost thoughts with. I am intimate and I am able to make sense of a lot. When I go into an episode, because of the qualities of myself, most of the time I will be able to pick up when I am unwell. I know when I’m taking ill and I know my moods very well. However, where I struggle is getting help – not because I don’t know where to get it, or don’t realise I need it – but because my mind is telling me just to suffer through it.

I am more inclined to get help for my mania than my depression. Mania stops me sleeping, makes me irritable and before I know it I’m acting like this radical human being. Some people love Manic Mimi (Oh gosh, it even has a ring to it!), but she’s beyond reckless and I can’t control what I’m doing to the state where I lose my moral autonomy and start jumping out of moving cars. Mania often means I get so reckless that I don’t care for fixing it, because I always feel like I have no time to and sometimes, I even enjoy periods of it. However, with a Manic episode – more frequently, comes the psychosis. Sleep deprivation, irritability and then the psychosis – are the factors that urge me to get help.  These symptoms tell me I’m manic, and because I’m very aware of psychosis, and I am able to differentiate it as an illness, I always get help for it. With depression, I tell myself that I know I am depressed but it’s just impossible to stop and by the point where I even consider getting help – I just think ‘Why should I? Who really cares?’. I elect to suffer because depression basks in suffering. To my close ones, mania is easier to see than depression – perhaps because Mania is loud and depression is quiet, so they urge me to receive help.

My mixed episodes of the last few months were rapid cycling, I had never experienced that before. Every few days, every week, there would be an opposite episode. My mood was entirely on a pendulum. It wasn’t until I started having dangerous thoughts that I sought help, I remember thinking if I took all my sleeping pills amongst the other drugs I keep and just lay in my bath if I would die peacefully or not. Something in my brain was motioning me towards doing something dangerous. I’ve never been a self-harmer, when I have dangerous thoughts it isn’t to cope – it’s a plan to end my own suffering. I remember after having that conversation with myself, which by the way was usually a verbal conversation with myself aloud, that I decided my psychosis was getting too intense and I just left my house and went to my local surgery asking to see someone immediately. Something cracked in my head where I just thought ‘I can’t let myself end up like that’, and I don’t know what it was at all but I’m grateful I had that moment where I became immediately motivated to receive emergency care. Maybe I was scared, maybe I found my common sense – I don’t know, but I knew I had to see someone.

They do little assessments of you where they ask loads of questions to make sure you’re able to return back to your own house after your care. It’s like a little interview to trip you up, the way they ask questions to try and figure out how you’re feeling – it feels odd. I got loaded back onto my medications and some new ones, and I kept in touch with who I needed to – just to support my recovery. This care is life long for Bipolar Disorder, so what I’ve learned is: giving up my medications and my appointments will result in me getting unwell again. The doctors are really nice and the nurses are nicer. I’ve had a few psychiatrists I don’t get along with, although I’m secretly convinced they try to aggravate me so they can ‘expose’ my episodes. One thing they all have in common? They all try to help. Maybe I’ve just had a positive experience, but keep going back to your doctor if you need them. I can’t recommend enough how necessary it is to see a professional if you are not feeling like yourself and it’s seriously affecting you and your daily activities.

I’ve not had any lasting side effects; so far I think my medications have been successful, as my mood feels very stable after just a few weeks. There are things you can do to help yourself with your mental illness, and I always say that it’s so important, but know when to see a professional. I wish I could tell you all the ways I decided to improve my life and get to the place I am now that I just decided to do for myself, but getting professional help was one of those steps and I’m grateful for the nurses, doctors and professionals who worked to save me.
London, UK

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 2


Disclaimer: After this post being written for a week I decided to upload, I thought twice about being so open but I decided it was in the best interest of those reading it for me to narrate this from a more personal perspective, this will be the last time I ever discuss this.

I last wrote about cuts where I discussed cutting people out. I said I'd clarify further in another post. Here is your clarification.

Have you ever had your friends cry for you? Cry out of concern? It's painful. My empathic nature has meant that one of my biggest triggers in life - is people. I'm naive that I let people in when I shouldn't, toxic friends, relationships and relations. I take on people's feelings so much that it grips me and pulls me down with them, I am a partner for everyone in a vicious spiral. My real friends, they grieved for me as I went down in the sinking ships and begged me to cut my own toxic empathic behaviour which I justified as 'loyalty'.

I've had my heart broken, maybe twice or three times. There's been a lot of men in and out of my life. My last relationship, he was one of the men to break my heart - but worse, he was the first man who broke my spirit. It was the first time I ever felt stigma directly and it's probably the closest I have ever felt repercussions of actions of hate. Of course, I've met people who have been deceiving - but you usually see it coming, I couldn't. I ignored every possible sign because I just had faith and love for someone, and despite the numerous horrible things I've suffered during that - that really have no place to be discussed - I couldn't stop loving the person who didn't love me.

After it ended, despite the cruel nature, I stuck around for someone I thought could need me. It dawned on me who I spoke to wasn't all I believed he was, it was like talking to someone who became lifeless and negative. As the walls came down and truths came out, it became impossible to excuse all that was done and I had to come to terms with the reality of what my relationship was: make believe. I remember one of the last things that hurt me before I decided to pull myself back, a while after breaking up I was on a call with him making sure he was good and he remarked that I wanted to sleep with all his friends. Everything became very vicious, and then everything became a new reason to dislike myself.

In that period, I'd end every day with more things I'd hate about myself. I hated my naivety. I hated my empathic nature. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt. I hated that for the rest of my life I was going to have Bipolar Disorder and there are people out there who will hold it against me. I hated how helpless I was and so desperate for love that I invested everything in someone who pulled the rug beneath my feet.

When you realise the true nature of what something is, the good memories die off. Everything died. I can't remember things that happened in that period that make me happy, because the idea of it being false makes the memory sour. Nothing in that period I wanted to remember, so when I was finally on my knees - depressed, sent to crisis care - I did the most important cuts. I cut the people out who elected to make me loathe myself.

With anything that was dead, it had to be buried. I spoke about my process last time, but it's true. Blocking everything online, deleting everything and getting rid of all physical evidence of toxic relationships - not just with my ex, but other people too. I reference my break-up, prominently because it was responsible for my demise, that was the knife in my back that made me bleed out. My family and friends were angry and concerned, they too helped bury it all. The likelihood of me bumping into my ex is very low, and for the friends who might and even their friends too, they'll never tell me if they do. In fact, the person I felt so close to is completely gone and I have no knowledge of his life and now, the idea of his existence. I will never look at his social media, I will never be in his area, I will never be curious. I couldn't live with the concern that wasn't returned, I couldn't live my life thinking of someone who would never think of me - or love someone who never loved me. It's like he never existed, every reminder is gone and nobody will ever say his name again.

The last time I saw him was completely fictional. I was at my Graduate Fashion Show and I was backstage and a man who looked exactly like him walked in. For all of 2 seconds, I thought it was him and my stomach dropped. This was mid June, so I had already detached myself from everything for perhaps around 4 weeks and I was starting to feel better. When I saw 'him', all I felt was gratitude and I was taken aback by the thought that we were all wrong and finally he was here to see me on one of my most important nights. I couldn't look at this person with resentment, all I thought was 'you've made it'. I had planned with him before, celebrating my accomplishments together, so even the faintest idea that after everything he was there - made everything bad go away. However, it wasn't him. He wasn't there for the Fashion Show, Degree Shows or Graduation. For something that was dying, something I had buried, when I thought I had saw him but it was someone else - that was the funeral, it was done. Since then, I don't think about it. It's like it never happened. I haven't heard his voice or even seen his face, in a picture or anything, in months. I can't remember what he sounds like. I remember he would sleep in my bed and I would just look at him, and now I can't remember his face anymore. The only remains I have is the knowledge of it happening, even then, I remember less and less as time goes on.

I had to lecture myself until I taught myself to feel differently. You can't love someone who doesn't love you. You can't think of someone who doesn't think of you. You can't consider someone who doesn't consider you.

I know people wonder 'but what if you bumped into someone?' 'what if someone spoke to you?'. I will always have a kind nature, the same as I've always said about all of my exes and old friends that I will always be here for them because thats who I am. Just because I elect not to reserve an aspect of my life for those who hurt me, doesn't mean I wouldn't be there in their darkest day - I will be there for anyone at any time. I don't change my phone number or block calls, everyone knows I am available there. I am not a resentful individual, I don't resent anyone. But taking yourself out these dangerous situations is necessary for your survival, I wouldn't have coped had I not tried to remove all the pain out of my life.

When the pain and constant reminders of it were gone, I continued to go on and start living a life where I loved myself and loved all in it. It helped alleviate my depression, and I moved forward with no resentment and no fear of falling backwards.

Secrets To My Favourite Life - 1

Fresh Start: Cuts

I realised when I wanted to change my life for the better there were sacrifices to be made. For a long time I felt making little changes would change my whole look on life, and as much as those small changes did make me feel better, when trying to secure stability and happiness in my life, I had to make deeper cuts. I took out my emotional knife and I cut out all that I didn’t need, a deep clean, if you will.

When at my most ill, my anxiety is very high and I worry myself sick. I became accustomed to that heart sinking feeling so I started with my social media. In May, I removed the people who didn’t make me happy or made me unhappy. I removed all photos and posts about things that when I looked back at, made my heart sink. Why should I keep my social media a beacon of unhappy memories? I reduced my phone book to a small group of people that I am in consistent contact with and that I need to maintain relations with. There would be people I loved, who perhaps didn’t love or respect me, and I remember I would check up on their social media to see how they were doing and all I did was upset myself. So I cut out that behaviour, I don’t look ‘lurk’ and haven’t for months – so the people who hurt me, merely don’t exist now and I do not have touch with their lives whatsoever. However, I’ll clarify this further in another post.

Next thing to cut was my bedroom; I went through everything in my room and gave it a deep clean. Anything that I didn’t need anymore was given away or binned. I reduced the chaos in my life, getting rid of more and more things I didn’t need. It’s almost addictive once you begin, making my circles smaller and making my life less cluttered. After that I stopped doing things I didn’t like doing, sounds simple doesn’t it? I didn’t enjoy certain clubs, certain restaurants – so I stopped going. I didn’t like checking some social medias everyday – so I stopped checking as frequently. I didn’t like certain environments I’d go to, so I’d just stop: a mind-blowing concept, clearly. Choosing to not do the things that you don’t like doing, will change your life.

Now as I am writing I am aware that many of you may believe that making so many cuts is destructive and perhaps even a way of closing myself off, but it became the opposite. Once I cleared out all the negative aspects of my life – my life was opened up to meeting loads of new, incredible people and the spaces I lived in became happier. When I had so much negativity closing me in, it isolated me – I had to reduce myself to the ‘happy few’ to open myself up again.

Reducing all that negativity and stress, put me in a positive space. One where I could build upon my own fresh start, just starting things over again. So in May, I gave myself a deadline: July 7th, my 22nd Birthday. By my 22nd birthday I had to achieve my goal of feeling more satisfied with myself and my life. A very subjective deadline, but one that pushed me on knowing that my 22nd year of life was going to be the most excellent with very few bad days, and that only I had the means to work towards that.
London, UK