My Top 5 Back To School Tips For Beating That New School Year Anxiety

mental health

It’s that time again after the summer break we’re we are buying new equipment and stationery ready for our new year of school, Sixth Form, College or maybe even University. I don’t know about you but living with anxiety can be hard to cope with when new chapters are starting. So I thought I would share with you some of my tips with coping with the new academic year when you’re feeling anxious.

Pre Nerves

If you are doing higher education at college or university chances are you probably had to go and have an interview with a tutor who teaches on the course you want to do to see if you have got a place on your wanted course. When you get an offer this can be very exciting however the day before you start you might have those ever so helpful doubting thoughts wizzing around your head like crazy. To help me to deal with these unhelpful thoughts I like to write down statements of what I am looking forward to doing or learning on the course for example going on trips or having guest speakers come in. By doing this it helps me to focus on the positives, you might want to write them on your phone or write them down in a notebook that you keep beside your bed or maybe on post it notes and put them around your house.

I would also go into your school, college or university before you start to talk about your concerns for example about your anxiety. I have found that if they know before hand they can support you in making sure you are alright and feel comfortable. I also found this useful as I was told about different departments that I could go to if I felt I wanted to go somewhere more quite or to get additional support for example I could talk to a student development officer.

When you start to pack your school bag make sure you’ve got all that you need. But to help with my anxiety I also like to add to my bag things like a stress ball or maybe even an emergency paper bag that I can use if I feel a panic attack coming on. I do this because it helps me to feel more prepared if something was to happened.

On The Day

When you arrive at your school, college or university for the first day it can sometimes hit you when you reach the entrance. This can make me feel very uncomfortable and worried. I think everyone is looking at me and talking about me. To help me with this I like to pick a letter at random and then try and find as many things as I can beginning with that letter.

My last tip would be don’t put pressure on yourself to talk to everyone or to get to know other students. What I like to do because I find it hard to talk to lots of people is give myself a target of talking to one of the other students and if I talk to more that’s great . I feel that if I put too much pressure on myself then my anxiety gets worse. So go at your own pace theirs no right or wrong answer.

I hope some of these will help you too, I would love to know some of your top tips!

Day Trip To Whipsnade Zoo With My Support Worker

life

Recently I went to Whipsnade Zoo with my support worker for the day. We had a lovely day seeing the animals and the weather was lovely too! I enjoyed seeing some of the animals being fed. I was really happy that I got to see a baby zebra as they are one of my favourite animals.

Last year at college I did an adult learning course in Animal Care. I learnt not only about how to care for a range of different animals but about conservation too. So I found it really interesting going to the zoo and learning more about zoo conservation and seeing it put into practice. If you would like to find out more about conservation at Whipsnade Zoo please visit https://www.zsl.org/conservation .

Going to the zoo gave me a fantastic opportunity to do one of my hobbies which is photography of wild animals. Throughout the day I took many photos and I thought I would share some of my favourite shots.

European Brown Bear

African Dwarf Crocodile and Butterfly

Butterfly in the Butterfly House

Flamingos

Foal and Mother (Grey Zebras)

African Elephants

Giraffe Calf

Flamingo

I had a fantastic day at the zoo and can’t wait to go back there soon!

Meet Mango The New Member To Our Family

life

We recently welcomed a new little member to our family. A 4 and a half month old rescue whippet we named Mango. We rescued him from the JR Whippet Rescue. I remember the first photo I got to see of him; I just thought he was so adorable. I was so pleased when I found out that he would be joining the family.

I was so excited for him to join the family I was telling everyone about us getting a new dog. I went to Pets At Home to get him some welcome home toys and more treats.

When the day came to go and collect him from his foster home. I couldn’t believe this day had finally arrived, I would be able to meet him face to face for the first time.

I got together all of his travel essentials for the car journey as it was quite far and he hadn’t been on that longer car journey before. We had his toys, food, water and blanket all in the car ready.

When we arrived and I first saw this little face starring back with these big paws and ears that looked a bit big for his face I knew he was the dog I wanted. His eyes were beautiful a mix of blue,green and brown.

We had some fun playing with his toys and saying hello at the same time. Whilst with his foster home he lived with other dogs so we got to meet them too. The journey back was slow but he was such a good boy.

Now Mango has settled down into our family and our routine. He shares the house with a cat who he wants to play with but the cat couldn’t care less. He loves exploring and saying hello to everyone and everything he meets. He especially likes chasing the butterflies in the garden and also playing with ice cubes on a hot day. He loves to play football and bring you sticks he has found whilst exploring from his adventures.

I am so excited to see him grow and all the amazing memories we will make and of course the adventures. I know Ziggy our previous dog who died earlier this year would be pleased to be his big brother.

If you are thinking or looking for a dog to join your family. I highly recommend whippets after all Ziggy gave us so much love we decided not to get a different breed!

Please visit https://whippetrescue.org.uk to maybe find your new family member. There are so many rescue dogs out there just wanting and waiting to fill your heart with love!

2019 Holiday Photography Portfolio

life

In July I went on holiday with my family on a cruise to Norway, Iceland and Ireland. I had a fantastic time and had so many interesting and incredible photography opportunities throughout the holiday. From the stunning waterfalls to the glaciers and the wildlife.

As some of you may know photography has become not just a hobby for me but has helped me with my on going mental health recovery journey. Photography helps me to ground myself in the hear and now. I also use my photography as a resource for when I am feeling low. Looking back at some wonderful memories that make me smile!

I thought I would share with you some of my photography snaps from my holiday this year.

The Theatre Shed Takes CapeAbility To Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019

disability

Can you see our poster?

I had an amazing time with my Shed family performing CapeAbility for the last time on this years Shed Tour. It’s been a crazy adventure full of fun and laughter. We have performed the show at local venues, Brighton Open Air Theatre and finally at this years Edinburgh Fringe.

It feels really strange knowing now that we are not performing CapeAbility again. I really enjoyed playing my character Flint who’s superpower is all about encouraging others. I loved exploring the themes of friendship throughout the production and being able to use my own experiences throughout the production as well as being able to express my feelings.

I loved performing the songs in the production. I loved the messages we were trying to show throughout the production by using lyrics, facial expressions and sign language.

I really enjoyed making the audience feel more involved in the show compared to other shows I have done with different companies.

All in all it has been incredible and I can’t wait until our next Tour in 2021!

If you would like to find out more about this amazing inclusive theatre charity please visit https://thetheatreshed.co.uk

Dear Younger Me: The Night Before Results Day

mental health

The night before results day I still remember like it was yesterday. My thoughts in my head racing around at a hundred miles an hour.

Did I put my name on the paper? Did I do the right level paper? Did I answer the right questions? Did I read the questions correctly? What if I don’t get the grades?

With all these thoughts and emotions running wild whilst I was lying in my bed. My heart began to race and I knew I was going into a panic attack. So I tried to do my visualisation techniques I had learnt in therapy.

Throughout my time at school I had never been one of the high achieving students in my year. I found writing hard not only because I found spelling tricky but also making sure my writing was going in a straight line. I did a lot of practicing with writing in my OT sessions. It took me longer to write things down than my peers. I found maths extremely difficult I saw it in a way that not many other people did, I found it so confusing.

Looking back now doing all that revision, opening the first pages of that exam paper, then thinking after the exam if I would pass or not and just hoping I would. This time in my life was so stressful I was with CAMHS and being diagnosed with anxiety and depression let alone the fact I was getting bullied at school the minute got in through the school gates.

That night lying awake in my bed just wanting to know my grades the following day. Counting down the time when I would go to school for the last time pick up an envelope and see these grades staring back at me. I believed that my results had the power to not only change my whole life but dictate it too!

However my family and close friends reminded me that I was more than just some letters on a piece of paper. All those things exams don’t test like the fact I want to help others or that my strengths were outside the school grounds like horse riding. My mum said to me we don’t just need doctors or lawyers everyone has a special skill they can offer to the world however big or small they may seem.

I know it’s terrifying and scary and you may feel like these grades will plan out your whole life. Doing all those practice tests then having to mark them to see if you would have passed an old exam paper. Your grades do not own you and do not have the power to stop you being who you are!

You’re going to be OK . Follow your heart and follow your dreams show the world who you really are because we are all worth more than some letters and numbers on a piece of paper and all have special skills to offer the world!

You’re going to be OK!

VlogStar Challenge Semi Finalist 2019

life

Back in March earlier this year I was invited to an workshop all about The Art of Vlogging in London. The workshop was ran by the Media Trust I was invited to the workshop by Riding for the Disabled as everyone attending this workshop was involved in the RDA in some way. During the day we made our own 1 minute video which we then could enter into a competition to become an semi finalist in this years VlogStar Competition.

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attended the VlogStar Challenge 2019 as a semi finalist. I was chosen to be one of the very lucky 150 semi finalist of this years VlogStar which had over 1,500 participants. I attended a day of workshops at YouTube’s offices inside Google HQ. ( To find out more about The VlogStar Challenge visit https://www.vlogstarchallenge.com)

During the day we had lots of different workshops lead by different people who worked for YouTube. During the day I learnt a lot we were given workshops in lots of different areas of how to make videos as well as how to connect yourselves with your viewers and how to make them feel as part of your YouTube community/ family.

I found the day very inspiring I came up with a few more video ideas for my channel as well as seeing how YouTube can be used as a positive platform to share your experiences and life stories about life. It was was fantastic to be around other young creatives who are using their voices on the internet to make positive changes through vlogging and making video content.

One of the workshops was called #iamremarkable during this workshop we had to think about what makes us remarkable however big the reason was. I really enjoyed doing this as it helped me to remember how I have got past obstacles I have faced and it didn’t matter how big or small it was. We then had the opportunity to share what made us remarkable if we wanted. ( To find out more about #iamremarkable visit https://iamremarkable.withgoogle.com)

Towards the end of the day we got to have Q&A panel with Grace Victory, Lucy Moon, London Hacks, Abraham and hosted by Ria Hebden. It was great to ask them our questions and to get their advice and top tips as well as hearing all about their unique YouTube journeys!

All in all an amazing day full of unique stories waiting to be let out in video content.

You can checkout my YouTube Channel at https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCjLzWg0723lk8w5TeFlNPBA?view_as=subscriber

Bryony Bakes: Scones

Other

Recently I have been baking scones and I thought I would share with you my favourite really easy, simple and quick scones recipe.

Makes 12-15. Oven Temperature 200C or 180 Fan.

Ingredients

85g Unsalted Butter

350g Self-raising Flour

1/4tsp Salt

1 and a half tsp Baking Powder

2 tbsp Caster Sugar

200ml warm full fat milk

1 tsp Fresh lemon juice

Clotted Cream

Jam of your choice

Method

1. Dice and rub the unsalted butter into the 350g self raising flour.

2. Stir in the salt, baking powder and the 2 tbsp of caster sugar.

3. Use a knife to stir in the milk and the lemon juice. Don’t over mix just combine ingredients.

4. Turn onto lightly floured surface and mix together lightly.

5. Pat down to 2cm thickness. Cut out 5cm rounds using a glass or cookie cutter.

6. Brush with milk or dust with flour.

7. Bake on a lined baking tray for 10-15 minutes until risen and golden.

8. Wait to cool, then serve with clotted cream and a jam of your choice.

How Music Helped Me Through Bullying

mental health

For many years during my time at primary and secondary school I was bullied by lots of different groups of people. The bullying however got a lot worse when I entered second school. At secondary school it didn’t even start on the first day but on my induction day. I was so upset and scared I didn’t want to go to that school in September, I remember coming home in floods of tears just crying on the sofa.

For a while in my first couple of years at secondary school I thought the people in the group I hangout out with were my friends. Turned out I was only in their group so they could pick on me. To begin with I didn’t see it as bullying I just wanted to fit in but then it got a lot worse. They would bully me for many reasons for example being disabled, not wearing fashionable clothes and having curly hair they would throw drinks at me and in my hair at break and at at lunch.

The bullying started to escalate with older and young years bullying me too hitting and punching me. Other people in my year would laugh at me during class I got told several times to kill myself.

The bullying I was experiencing made me feel very sducidal I just wanted the pain to stop. When I tried to tell teachers what was going on they would dismiss it telling me to except it or to feel sorry for the people bullying me.

Over time I started to retreat into myself not wanting to be with anyone or socialise I spent a lot of time in my room as I felt safe in my bedroom when I went out I thought everyone was looking, talking and laughing at me.

I found it extremely difficult to express how I was feeling and what was going on to my parents. And that’s when I found out that when I listened to my music the lyrics would just speak to me and I felt that I wasn’t alone in how I felt. I found that music could express how I was feeling to the outside world as I found it super difficult to try and express my thoughts and feelings to the outside world. I found that music also helped me to keep going as a lot of the time when I came back from school I would be crying sometimes I cried myself to sleep wishing I wouldn’t wake up.

I liked listening to music as it helped me to try and make sense of all the thoughts in my head that would race around in my head at 100 miles an hour. I found it extremely difficult and confusing to try and think why people treated me the way I did for along time at school. Because I had been bullied for a long time before I started secondary school I thought of it as a new start so when I was getting bullied more and more at secondary school I started to think their was something wrong with me. And that I deserved to be treated the way I did because I started to believe I was a bad person and that everyone’s lives would be better if I wasn’t here.

Listening to music helped me a lot in not feeling alone and that maybe others felt similar to me as lots of people made me feel like I was a freak. I also found that music helped me to face the upcoming days going to school as sometimes a certain lyric made me feel empowered and that maybe I could get through the day a little bit better.

I remember at the time my favourite band JLS helped me massively, I felt I could relate to them as I found out that one of them had experienced bullying and another member of the group was a young career helping to look after his mum during his childhood. As my sister was a young career for me.

I still love listening to music now but throughout my difficult time at school music played a big part in trying to just get through one day at a time feeling that others interpreted the songs lyrics in a similar way to me! The bullying still affects me to this day as I was diagnosed with PTSD because of the bullying that happened to me.

My Achievements With Macintyre Charity 2016-2019

disability

This week I finished my 3 year journey with Macintyre. And what a 3 years t’s been! I have achieved things that used to make me feel extremely anxious and scared. But now I am able to do things around and about my community with more confidence.

I thought I would share with you some of my top achievements I have made through my time with Macintyre as a student in one of their life centres working on building my independent living skills.

My First Year

In my first year at Macintyre I was very shy and quite. I didn’t really like talking much. I found shopping really difficult and it took me a while to even get out of the car when shopping at the supermarket because I was so anxious and thought others were talking about me. After a while I had a go at walking to the shop entrance and waiting there for a bit. I worked with my support workers on something called Lego therapy, this is when you choose a lego brick colour that best represents a emotion. For example yellow was my happy colour and green my safe were as black represented the emotion scared. This was a great way to show others how I was feeling when I couldn’t express my emotions verbally or when my thoughts are going round in my head at 100 miles an hour.

I then started to use my lego therapy to help me in public places that make makes me feel stressed. I would go into the supermarket and just look at my green circle whilst going around the supermarket. We then started to shop at ASDA and before I knew it I was finding things we needed and paying at the till. When I felt anxious I would look at all the green posters etc around the supermarket not worrying about if everyone was talking, looking or laughing at me.

Towards the end of the first year I worked on trying to get on the bus. I was so scared about going on the bus I couldn’t make it even out of the grounds for a while. But over time I did manage to get to the bus stop and stop the bus. I went on a small bus journey to the nearest street and built it up from that. I then started to learn about how to stop the bus when you reached where you wanted to go.

My Second Year

At the start of my second year I came up with my own social enterprise project called Bryony’s Positive Enterprise. I made little gifts and cooked some things to sell. I made my own granola pots, pasta salad pots, cookie in a jar, hot chocolate stirrers, bracelets and key rings. I came up with my own ideas of what I wanted to make using Pinterest for ideas. For my project I learnt a lot about money management as I had to find and work out my costs and then how much I would sell my makes for making sure I made a little bit of profit as they profit helped pay for my next make and money towards my end of term treat.

I worked on cooking a meal I could take home with for my family and I to have. One term we did mains and the next desserts. I would find a recipe of what I wanted to make then I would make a list of all the ingredients needed. I then searched the prices of each item on the supermarkets websites. I wrote down each items price then added it all up to workout my total. I would then go to the kitchen to see if we already had ingredients we needed for the recipe. Making reductions to my shopping list seeing how much I would spend on each meal. I took the bus into town did my shopping at the supermarket and learnt how to use the self checkout. I had to make everything from scratch so I couldn’t buy things such as ready made pastry or sauces. when going into town to buy my ingredients I was able to get on the bus without feeling so terrified and I even caught the bus back from the noisy bus station which I found hard because it was so busy and noisy.

During my second year I did a lot of work on domestic skills. I did some washing, ironing of clothes and bed sheets, pairing socks and bed making.

Whilst in my second year I was trying to find work experience. So I did a lot of work on CV writing. I did do a morning volunteering at a Cancer Research Charity Shop. I then found work experience at a different charity shop and designed and made some of the window displays.

My Last Year

In my last year with Macintyre I worked in the community and not in the centre. I started to increase my hours doing my work experience at the charity shop. I learn’t how to use the till and over time I served customers independently. At the shop I also started designing and creating more window displays.

In my final year I found another work experience placement which was working on a little local farm which is a therapeutic learning centre that helps young people who are home educated, children finding it hard at school, children who find it hard in mainstream school or have mental health difficulties such as anxiety.

Through my time with Macintyre I have really grown in confidence and I now have skills to help me be more independent in every day life!

If you would like to know more about Macintyre Charity please visit: https://www.macintyrecharity.org