I actually wrote this the week before last, which is when all this was going on, but then I remembered I needed to publish my Big Listen post, so I pushed it back a bit. I also wanted to publish it on a Sunday so my hashtag worked. So, here it is!
My mental health is my responsibility – managing it sometimes feels like a full-time job on its own. There are lots of ways to look after your own mental wellbeing, and some are more widely accepted than others. Self-care is important – part of not sucking at it, for me, is remembering to take my medication.
Every cell in your body wants to be alive (even if you don’t)
Pause for a minute,
Shut up and listen
To the heart in your chest
To the fire in your bones
From the blistering brain
To the scrunched-up toes
Under scars and stories
And fractured pride
You are awake
You are alive
What do you do when your brain and your uterus and your life all form a horrid little gang and try to kill you?
You write about it. You pour your whole brain, every last bit of it, onto paper or computer, and you write until it starts to make sense. If it doesn’t make sense, keep writing. Maybe you’ll see something differently, or maybe you’ll just feel better for emptying your mind of all the shite that’s up there.
Trigger warning: discussion of suicide/attempted suicide/suicidal ideation
This is probably the most difficult post I’ve had to write so far. It’s also one of the most important, one that I’ve been wanting to write for a very long time, and one I can’t put it off writing any longer.
Today is July 24th, or 24/7, a day which Samaritans have chosen for their “Big Listen” campaign. The Samaritans helpline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide vital, life-saving support for people who are considering suicide or struggling to cope. The Big Listen aims to raise awareness and funds for Samaritans to keep providing this essential service, and you can find out more about it here.
(Trigger warnings: anorexia, fatphobia, body dysmorphia)
One of the important things to me when I started blogging was that I wanted to be able to give other people a platform, somewhere to speak and be heard, not just myself. Last month, Amy wrote a post for me, although she already has her own blog. This guest post is different – it was written by one of my closest friends, who is a wonderful mother to two beautiful girls. It covers subjects that I, personally, would struggle to write authentically about – despite myriad body image issues and a history of disordered eating, I have no first-hand experience of battling an eating disorder, nor am I a parent. I know a fair bit about demons, though, and I know that sometimes the best way to exorcise them (albeit temporarily) is to talk about them.
My ego and I have an interesting relationship. Being an introverted empath with complex-PTSD and an incessant need to please people, sometimes my self-worth is basically negative numbers. I also have an inferiority complex about my superiority complex. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop me from thinking everything is somehow my fault.
If all you ever do with your life is photosynthesise, you deserve every hour of the sleepless nights that you waste wondering when you’re gonna die
– Frank Turner, Photosynthesis
Some of you may remember the minor meltdown I had around my birthday (again), earlier this year. This year, I was 28. This is not something I particularly appreciate, as it puts me most definitely in my “late twenties”, and also means I’m now counting down to being 30. Which, honestly, is not a birthday I ever used to think I’d see. I’m gonna try and make it there, though, so I thought I’d do one of these bucket list type things to keep me focused.
This week, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching. I’ve been all over the place this week, emotionally, so I’ve been doing lots of introspection and the like. This process has had a very varied soundtrack, but one track I keep coming back to is “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann.
Based on a column by Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune, the track is simply spoken word played over music. The lyrics are taken directly from the newspaper article, which was written as an imaginary commencement speech for college graduates and originally titled “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”.
Last week I did something I have never done before; I went on holiday by myself. Not only that, I went somewhere completely new where I didn’t know anyone, speak the language, or know my way around. I went to Bulgaria. For someone who hasn’t been abroad in nearly 10 years, this was pretty huge. It was also really important for my mental health; I hadn’t realised quite how badly I needed a break until I stopped and took a breath.
I came back this Tuesday, went straight back to work on Wednesday and almost immediately fell into a post-holiday slump. I’m trying to get over it and reintegrate myself in my everyday life, and I’ve also got some reflection and introspection to do now that I’ve had the time to myself. More on that some other time though; here is what I got up to whilst I was away!
Well, this is all very exciting – my good friend Amy (who also happens to runs Muggle Musings, the grown-up Harry Potter discussion group I attend, because we are both exceptionally cool people) offered to write a guest post whilst I’m off sunning myself in Bulgaria (read: hiding behind books and trying not to make eye contact with anyone). Better yet, she chose to write about a subject that I’d also like to explore, because I have a LOT of feelings about this, but haven’t got around to yet.
For now, here is a picture of the reason I’m not writing my own post this week:
I’ll stop being smug and just post Amy’s stuff now…
[spoilers: I’m still smug #sorrynotsorry]
Author: Amy Turner, WritingIntoTheEther.com
Tattoos are the biggest and most obvious form of permanent self-expression. Whether that be expression of your inner being, your beliefs, your feelings or just your artistic preferences. They allow you to formulate a story about yourself on your body for all (or none) to see.
Today would have been my Nan’s 92nd birthday. She passed away just after Christmas last year; it was a devastating loss for the whole family. Whilst it wasn’t exactly unexpected, it was sudden, and spending her last hours by her side in the hospital was a harrowing experience. I can remember, vividly, how small she looked – the sharp angles of her shoulders and collarbone, and the convex arch of her ribcage as the A&E staff stuck on the pads for an ECG. She seemed so tiny, fragile, and afraid – not at all the fierce, matriarchal battle-axe who was such an important figure throughout my childhood and adolescence. That’s not how I want to remember her. Especially not on her birthday. I don’t want to talk about grief again, or about the way she gradually slipped further from us in recent years. I want to remember who she was, and what she stood for. I want the world to remember her that way.