Trigger warning: Mental health discussions generally can be triggering, but today we're talking about Self-Harm. If this is a triggering topic for you, we recommend skipping this blog post.
Today we're in discussion with Betty, 21 years old, about her experiences with self-harm. Betty has a dog called Billy and a cat called Bruce, and she spends most of her time walking dogs and grooming them too.
This week it's Mental Health Awareness Week and we're going to be discussing a different Mental Health topic each day. Take a look below for the schedule:
Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date! We'd love as much involvement as possible, so do get in touch, like, comment and share all you can.
We wanted to post a quick message to apologise for the radio silence from Hello Me, it's You recently. For those of you who know about us, you'll know that it's just Jenny and I who run the charity day to day. Recently, we've had lots of changes (jobs, broken bones and new houses!) and are relieved to say we are now living in our very own flat!
This means we'll be able to devote more time to the charity, and I'll be able to run down the hall to knock on Jenny's door at all hours of the night to work on an idea we've had... sorry Jen!
As this is a mental health charity, we hope you'll understand that whilst it's a small charity and we're both going through such big changes we've had to pause our content momentarily. We're pleased to announce though, that we will be resuming our regular content in the New Year!
We hope you all have brilliant holidays and thank you so much for your patience.
On the 24th September HMIY's own Jenny Howard, her mum Angela, sister Katie and friend Jade are going to be running a half marathon to raise money for us at Hello Me, it's You! You may have read Angela's post previously on our blog, now it's Jenny's turn to give a bit of insight into her 'training process' ....
Editor’s note: A few months ago, the amazing Jenny (the HMIY brand manager, an incredible best friend and all-round design superstar) messaged me saying that she and her family had planned to do some fundraising for the charity. Not just any fundraising though, they wanted to run a half marathon. As a self-proclaimed couch potato this sounded absolutely terrifying, but they weren’t to be budged! On the 24th of September Jenny, Becca, Katie, Angela and Jade will all be running to raise money for Hello Me, it’s You. I’m blown away by the idea and their commitment and so so thankful. Anything you can do to donate would be a fab motivation for the runners, and an incredible help to the charity. If you’d like to read more or donate, take a look here.
As they go through the training process, we’ll have regular updates from the runners themselves, starting with the amazing Angela…
"I’m going to run a half marathon" I declared.
"That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard you say" came back the response.
"Really? It’s not until four and a half weeks time.”
“You’re 51 years old; you cannot train for a half marathon in four and a half weeks.”
So I left it there and forgot all about it.
Then one day we were walking the dogs when we found ourselves walking the wrong way of the last mile of the half marathon course and making our way past arrow signs, strewn water bottles and a number of bored looking marshals. And the most inspirational thing happened for me, the bored looking marshals became animated and excited spotting a weary straggler half walking, half running but still going and still determined. The sound of happy encouragement, cheering and clapping, it’s addictive, we couldn’t help but join in. That walk along the last mile of the half marathon is what decided me that I would definitely be running this race next year. Those stragglers pushing to the finish after twelve long miles clarified that I would be more than happy to join them in their perseverance and persistence and craziness.
Growing up, I didn't have many relationships. I was always “too nice” and, although I had an interest in sex, I never had the confidence to initiate anything. When I was seventeen, I found myself in a very intense relationship.
This relationship lasted for five years and, by the end, we had a mortgage and a house. However, three months after buying the house, she decided to cut ties and move on. I moved in with my parents, whilst she stayed in the house. At first, it was heart-breaking; I couldn't see a future without her. After a while, I began to heal, and realised that she wasn't right for me in the first place. I started to see that things weren’t all that great: there were big cracks, and I was with her for the wrong reasons. I had forgotten about me.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The post that follows needs to be prefaced with a severe trigger warning. The post is from the point of view of a young person who has experienced suicidal thoughts. Due to the nature of mental health issues and suicidal thoughts themselves, it gives a romanticised view of suicide itself. This blog post has been written honestly from the point of view of the sufferer and shows that while the contributor is aware of the actuality of suicide, the thought process itself can lure sufferers into thinking this way.
It is a topic that is often shied away from, as death is a concept that makes many uncomfortable. I would describe it as one of the major taboos surrounding mental health issues. However, according to the Samaritans, in England and the UK, female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade. It is also a much documented phenomenon among young men, with the Samaritans reporting that male rates remain consistently higher than female suicide rates across the UK and Republic of Ireland – most notably 5 times higher in Republic of Ireland and around 3 times in the UK. For this reason, we think it important to share this post in order to increase awareness of the thought process and experiences of those with suicidal thoughts. Please do read with caution, and if you are suffering yourself or have suffered in the past from thoughts such as this, we advise you skip this post.
The 24hr hotline for The Samaritans is: • 116 123 (UK) • 116 123 (ROI)
Fun Fact: According to the NHS, the top 3 causes of memory loss are depression, anxiety and stress. How do I know this? Because earlier this week I found myself googling whether or not you could get early onset dementia at 22 or whether my brain could just be turning to mush in my head. It turns out that instead? I just tick those top 3 boxes for memory loss.
This is just one of many odd side effects that I’ve found are linked to my mental health problems. In fact, the reason I was originally diagnosed with depression is because I could not stay awake. Not in a 'growing teen who parties all night' kinda way either, but a 'I could sleep for 18 hours straight and still be tired' kinda way. I went to the doctors 3 times with the problem before we twigged that paired with a loss of appetite, a prolonged state of feeling emotionally numb and generally struggling to cope with the all the highs and lows that come with uni, it was looking like depression.
Hello sixteen-year-old me again, it’s you six years on at twenty-two years of age and two years since I wrote to you for the first HMIY book. A lot has changed since then! But a lot has also stayed the same.
Dear My Undiagnosed Teenage Self,
Long time no see/speak. We last met when I opened some however-many-years-old journals for a couple of nice psychiatrists to examine. I featured some of the quotes in my novel; sorry to steal them from you. And every time I look at a picture of you, I just cringe. Firstly buddy, get rid of that awful side fringe. It doesn’t frame your face or flatter your puppy-fat chin, it makes your hair look flat. It looks awful. Seriously. Grow it out.
But that’s not the only thing I want to tell you today. I have some good news for you. You do have bipolar affective disorder! You’re not going crazy. All those years of agonising, confusion, recklessness and (well to be honest, an awesome as f**k, crazy, manic time), are over.
Hello Me, it's You
Welcome to the Hello Me, it’s You blog! We are launching this blog with weekly content from different contributors, giving their opinions and experiences on all things Mental Health.