The Self-Love Journey

mental health

 

Today is self-love day; for me self-love is a very difficult emotional journey as I have low self-esteem and low confidence due to past experiences.  I often think people around me are talking negatively about me, I might be in a queue waiting  to pay for something or I might just be walking to my class at college. I sometimes feel that I am too short or that I should be thinner.  Self-love is so hard for me a because I can be positive about others but when I look at myself in the mirror I just see and think negatively  for example the voices in my head say “Bryony you’re not tall enough” or “Bryony your outfit would look so much better if  you were a small size.

At school I was bullied by some kids because I have curly hair so for a long while I hated having curly hair and the voices in my head would be like ” Bryony why do you have such frizzy hair it’s not all long and smooth it’s just a heap of frizz”.

Even though I have a long way to still go with my own self-love journey I thought I would share with you some of the things I try to show myself self-love and be more body positive.

 

  1. I love to  just  watch a TV program I like or go on YouTube and watch my favourite YouTubers.

 2. I enjoy taking my dog for a walk and bringing my camera along too so I can practice my photography.

3. I enjoy trying out new makeup looks or trying out my new makeup products.

4. I enjoy watching one of my favourite films such as Mamma Mia or The Greatest Showman

5. If  I have had a long day I enjoy having a lovely bubble bath sometimes adding in a Lush bath bomb.

6.  I enjoy sometimes just doing some home baking and baking.

7. I really enjoy just sitting  down and read a book or doing word searches.

 

With my past care coordinator we recently came up with the idea that I should try each day to say something positive about myself too myself. For example” Bryony I like the way you have done your hair today or” that colour top really suits you”. We also spoke about writing these statements down so when I am in a low place I can look at them.

 

One of my favourite quotes!

Let’s Talk Mental Health

mental health

WARNING: You may find this triggering or upsetting to read!

On the 7th February 2019;Time to Change had TimetoTalk Day. This was a movement all about raising awareness of the importance of talking to others about mental health.

So it got me thinking and inspired me to write this blog post; in this post I will be writing about how opening up about the difficulties I was facing lead to me getting help.

I still remember the day I first told my mum about what was going on and how I was feeling. I was having dinner at the kitchen table like normal and then I just started crying went into the living room and that’s when it all came out. It was finally out in the open everything from how low I was feeling and that all I could see was darkness and I felt trapped I just wanted to end it all. I opened up about the visions I was seeing and the voices I was hearing and my nightmares.

I was so scared to tell anyone as I thought they would find me a complete freak. At the time this all started happening I was also getting bullied by lots of different people at school and it had been going on for years. I didn’t want to tell anyone as I knew if the bullies found out they would bully me even more.

To be honest it was a sigh of relief when I finally was able to tell someone about everything. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Through opening up about what was going on I slowly began to realise the darkness I was facing I didn’t have to go through it alone or keep it a secret from everyone and pretend everything was ok when it wasn’t. I also realised that the people who truly care and love me didn’t see me as a freak they wanted to support me in getting help.

Even though it was terrifying for me to tell my mum as I didn’t want to upset her as well as this I found it scary to get it out in the open. I’m glad I did because even though I still suffer with my mental health on a daily basis with depression, PTSD, my voices and more I feel like more people can help support me daily. I have worked on lots of different things with lots of different types of professionals making myself what I like to call my “tool box “as I have learnt lots of different types of strategies for coping for different things and communicating with my voices. In the past I have made a Self-Care Box or little reminder cards I can use or have positive statements on a piece of small card so I can look at it if I have low self-esteem or low confidence to name a couple. I now feel less alone!

You can find out more about the movement here: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/time-talk-day/support-time-talk-day-online

How Performing Arts Helps My Mental Health

mental health

I have been a Performing Arts Student at my local Stagecoach School for the past 3 years. I have found that Performing Arts has a really positive impact on my mental health. As you may know I have mental health problems; sometimes this can be very hard to tell or explain to someone anything about my difficulties.

However Performing Arts has helped me to express my feelings and emotions in many different ways both physically and verbally. Through doing workshops in dance and movement I have been able to express how I am without having to speak all the time. I also find that dance can help me to identify how I am feeling and by doing this I can start to make more sense of my emotions and I start to feel less anxious and scared.

I enjoy singing lessons as I find that sometimes when learning a song the words really “speak” to me and I feel more connected with the song. This not only helps me to perform it better and with more emotion but I start to feel less alone. Sometimes when I singing a song I try to focus on the song’s lyrics and try to relate the song back to an experience I have had. This can help my PTSD as I do sometimes use this as a way of helping me trying to process a traumatic event from my past. I have tried this in past sessions with my psychologist.

In my acting classes I enjoy being” other people” but I have found if possible trying to use my experiences in acting has really helped me to process negative experiences. I find when I use my experiences in acting it helps me to tell the story more and the audience starts to feel more involved with the show.

I find doing Performing Arts a creative, good and safe way to express myself and to challenge my past experiences such as being bullied in a positive way!

Performing Arts is helping me with my on going journey to growing in confidence and not have such low levels of self-esteem.

Performing Arts has such a positive impact on my mental health , in the future I would love to do acting professionally!

Did you know about Stagecoach Performing Arts School and Young Minds Charity’s Partnership, to find out about this amazing partnership please check out: https://www.stagecoach.co.uk/about-us/our-charity-partner

My Journey With PTSD

mental health

Please be aware this is just about my experience and that I am not a medical professional!

Back in 2015 I was diagnosed with PTSD; I remember being asked what I knew about the condition and to be honest I knew soldiers could be diagnosed with PTSD and that you have flashbacks to past events but that was about it. I never thought I could be diagnosed with it because of the horrible things I went through with being bullied at school.

Through the years of living with PTSD I have learnt quite a lot about my condition on a daily basis and also hearing the myths about PTSD. I thought I would share with you things I learnt about it through living with the condition in everyday life.

1. Anyone can be diagnosed with PTSD not just soldiers.

2. Triggers can happen even through the smallest of things. For example I sometimes get triggers if I see a young person messing about with their mates. For me this can take me back to my experiences of getting bullied quickly. Sometimes the flashbacks just come and I don’t know why.

3. PTSD does not have to come immediately after you have gone through something traumatic. I was diagnosed with PTSD from being bullied when I was in school but now I am not getting bullied by others but it still affects me to this day. I find it hard to trust people in college as I don’t know if they are being genuine.

4. I remember when I once told a teacher that I had PTSD and that’s why I was in a bit of a panic they said to me ” get over it and could I really blame them for picking on me. “At the time I felt so stupid and weak. But now I realise that having mental health problems doesn’t make you weak at all in fact I would say on the good days I have it has helped me to realise having mental health problems is not weak at all and it doesn’t define you !

Creativity And Mental Health

mental health

I have always loved being creative, I have found that doing creative activities helps me to express, understand and process my thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Creativity plays a big part of my mental health recovery journey in lots of different ways. Here are just a few ways creative activities help me with my mental health.

I used to go to a Mental Health Recovery College. Here I did group workshops on creative activities such as glass painting, pottery and scrapbooking. I enjoyed doing these as I was able to express myself. I felt safe as I knew others would understand if my day wasn’t going so well. By doing creative activities I was able to let go of my worries for a bit. I could just have some fun and feel like my life wasn’t just about going to doctor’s appointments all the time.

One of the things I love about doing something creativity is there is no right or wrong. It helps me to try and relax , sometimes it relaxes me so much I feel I can start to tell people how I actually feel I have found it has also helped me to develop my trust in others.

To begin with I found pottery very difficult but as time went on I found I started to like it more and more. It helped me to ground myself as I was really had to work with the clay in my hands. I found doing the pottery very tactical this helped me to stay in the here and now.

I enjoyed using different tools such as a garlic press to add texture to my work. I now find that having different textures in the pottery is useful when having to really focus on the here and now. As I touch different textures on the pottery such as smooth and rough indents in the pottery.

I love doing scrapbooking I did do a little bit as a child. I enjoy having a book that I have made using lots of different photos and pictures I like. I enjoy building up on the pages by adding things like ribbon, stickers and wrapping paper to name a few. When I am sad I find looking at my scrapbook a good resource to use as it helps me get a smile on my face. It’s really lovely to have photos in my scrapbook too as this reminds me of many happy memories.

Printing is another thing I like to do sometimes I might use a print I have done as a background and build on top of it. Sometimes I may layer prints on top of other work. I may use paint; ink, stamps, feathers and bubble wrap to make different patterns and marks.

I have done some decoupaging on glass. Here I have used an old glass and covered it in a light pink and orange glass paint. I have a few layers of paint dabbed on using a sponge to build up the colour. I have then stuck lace to the glass and covered the lace in paint. I have then added beads and hessian material to the glass rim.

On this glass I have put strips of pink, red and orange tissue paper all over the glass. I have then added pink powder around the rim of the glass I put pink ribbon on the glass too. I find these make lovely presents to give to someone. You could put a little fake tea light or fairy lights in the glass too and see the glass all lit up!

I would love to know what creative things you like doing. You could leave a comment or send me a message on Instagram.

Photography & Mental Health

mental health

Over the past couple of months I have really got into photography, I have found that it is helping me to manage my mental health.

Doing photography helps me to not only be creative but to help me to really ground myself and bring me back to the here and now.

Photography is a very useful tool for me to use when doing my grounding technique I learnt in therapy.

The Technique

5. Name 5 things you can see right now

4. Name 4 things you can hear right now

3. Name 3 things you can touch right now

2. Name 2 things you can smell right now

1. Now take a slow deep and breathe

I love doing nature and animal photography as I have to really look at what is around me and try and see how and what it could look being photographed in different ways. I especially like taking photos in autumn as the leaves are all changing colour I like how the light shines through the leaves and can cast shadows on the trees. I enjoy experimenting with trying to get photos of the raindrops on the leaves and grass.

Raindrops On A Fallen Leaf.

Raindrops On A Blade Of Grass

Light Coming Through The Leaves

Taking photos of wildlife has helped me to look at detail and to take my time when looking and not to rush but be quick enough to capture the shot I want.

I really enjoy taking photos whilst on walks with my dog, by doing photography I can now see things I wouldn’t normally see for example the light shining on some leaves or some fungi growing on some wood. This helps me to stay in the present and try not to dissociative.

Pheasant In The Garden

Visiting Bumble Bee

Wild Deer In The Garden

The great thing about doing photography is that I can do it where ever I am because I don’t have to just do it on a traditional camera I can do it on my phone or iPad.

Doing photography has also helped me to express myself too as I can do my own photography projects on different topics. By doing photography I can express and understand my emotions in a creative way instead of keeping my thoughts and feelings inside.