Welcome to our 4th Blog. Mental Health – A topic that we feel very passionate about. It’s raw, it’s honest, it’s us. This blog is super special as it brings a collaboration with the wonderful human Jenn aka Cordelia Hearts to release a limited edition “Crazy Me’ t-shirt which will see 25% of the profits going straight to Mind. Look out for more updates on that coming soon.
For anyone that has or does suffer with any form of Mental Health this is for you.
“You got this”
Crazy me and my battle with January
January and I generally have a love hate relationship and have seemingly been at war for 39 years…ok there is a potential validation issue here as the years 0 – 8 are a blur with memories of Care Bears and My Little Pony…but I am pretty sure I was an early starter with the blues. On reflection it’s really quite funny/sad that the children of the 80’s whilst free of the slavery of modern technology were starved of information that made any sense of the moods and instead frequent labels/descriptions such as “Drama Queen”, “Moody Cow” or “Weirdo” were heard from my position of choice, the top of the stairs.
Fast forward many years and whilst I definitely can’t proclaim to have my shit together I am certainly far more in control of my mind than I once was. I have been to some pretty dark places throughout the years so writing this now feels cathartic. However, it comes with work, a lot of work as my patient husband of 6 years will tell you not to mention the many hours spent with my insta wife….but luckily she gets me and I love her for that!
Note – I have mentioned in previous blogs that I have a tendency to waffle write ( not sure that is actually a thing but it’s something I would say so if you can forgive my poor grammar and waffling we can be friends, stick with me.
The truth is I, like many suffer with, imposter syndrome, anxiety and bouts of depression. To many if I asked them they would tell stories of extrovert behaviour, outgoing and confident, but behind closed doors it’s more, introvert and vulnerable, so you might think why share this, allow me to explain…
January. Fuck you well 2018/2017/16/15/14/13/12/11…..(you get the jist)
So what changed in 2019? Why this year has it seemed easier? Well, I made a choice. I remember walking with my husband and feeling that creep of darkness starting to come over me, it often feels like a dark blanket that’s casting shadows where it no longer feels light, it’s a horrible emptying feeling, but now I am aware of its existence and this time I said NO. The words I used were “ I am not being a slave to my mind, not this year” so after seeing the advert for ‘Red January’ on a colleague’s feed I decided this was it.
Now a this point I should also point out that I was extra excited about this due to my inability to bring my jeans over my butt. The Reason? I went all out over Christmas and so did my waistline. However I was determined to be positive. I headed out and purchased some fabulous new workout gear…after all they slap you in the faae the minute you walk through a shop in January; anyway the fact that I had planned to exercise deserved a reward right? For me it was all about if I felt good then that would help and it did. I have exercised for 80% of January..I haven’t gone crazy, this for me wasn’t about running marathons, or exercising for hours, this was about doing something everyday and it worked. I downloaded the FITT app and have completed cardio/strengthening and yoga sessions, not to mention trips to the gym with one of my great friends, which really helps with the motivation to have someone else cheerleading for you. My moods have lifted, I’ve lost some weight and my creativity has returned ( it had taken an extra long break) the dark shadow never fully engulfed me and I feel proud. Maybe an odd word to chose but I do. I feel immensely proud to have had to courage to fight back. I am not saying this method will work for everyone, but I can say it is worth a try. The second thing I tried was podcasts. I have listened to them everyday during my commute -If you haven’t stumbled across ‘Happy Podcasts’ by Fearne Cotton then they are definitely worth checking out. To hear others stories and to feel that connection gave me real comfort, they were relatable to me and I have learned so much. So many of us feel the same way so why are we so intent on ‘putting a face on’, is it purely to make others feel better, if so does it really help you?
The Pursuit of Perfection
Sat in a coffee shop where most of our meetings happen these days Sam and I pondered over how social media plays a role in our mental health, we all know that it does, but do we ignore the niggles and plough on anyway, or even worse do we not even recognise the signs and stop to address them?
We love instagram for its creativity, inspiration and yes totally addicted. Our names are Sam and Keeley and we are addicted to instagram:) The app packs a punch with squares upon squares of beautiful images, beautiful people, beautiful interiors, beautiful photography, beautiful locations, INSTA WORTHY…you name it there’s an image of it. It sells a dream in one way or another. But we’re not talking about the positives today , there are many to be celebrated, but the increasing problem attached to social media platforms and mental health is growing and it’s important that we talk about it. #realtalk
Instagram – The Dark Side
Instagram and social media is all new to us all and I feel so sorry for the young ones trying to navigate through it. Here you go, never thought i would write these three words down…’In my day’ the connection to the outside world was Jackie & Just Seventeen magazines, Saturday morning TV, Broom cupboard with Gordon the gofer and cheesy adverts…not much happened or improved in the latter years. Being Influenced by what I saw was very minimal.
Welcome to 2019, lets max out, where you are rammed with material goods (btw, we have been groomed from the 70’s to want and need more), dreams, body perfect images and trying to accomplish perfection…keeping up with the Jones’s syndrome. But this is more than keeping up with the Jones’s, it’s about how we value our worth and we are seeing more and more comparisons with the images that we see on Instagram.
Young people are comparing themselves with images of beautiful people (the photoshop generation) living a perfect life, money, celebrities and wearing the must have clothes, you get the drift. You should never trust what you see, an image can be deceiving and you should alway look beyond as some images can come at cost… A prime example of what lies behind an image is the subject of ‘Yacht Girls’, go and have a google as this subject could fill a whole blog post.
A relevant term at the moment is FOMO is the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’, why can’t that be me, why haven’t i got that, why don’t i look like that, they have everything…sound familiar?
This in turn can bring on anxiety, low esteem, no worth, body image issues and depression. You get caught into the mass of images that span all four corners of the world and judge your worth on material goods and a square image. We as a society judge on what we own, compare ourselves to the Jones’s ( Who are they BTW) social value is now about material wealth but material goods and wishing for someone else’s life does not bring happiness but can and does effect your mental health.
We need to stop, look up from our phones and appreciate what we have, not what we haven’t got, follow your own journey and not follow/want/copy someones elses (which as you know could be a lie any way).
Our mental well being is a valuable commodity and we need to protect it. When you feel the green eyed monster lurking, jealous of what others have, if your starting to feel bad about your life, unhappy with the way you look, you want more… it’s time to turn off that phone. The world is a f*^ked up place and we have been groomed to want more…do we need more?
Don’t strive for the perfect life…it’s not out there. Instagram is an illusion of what you think your life should be.
If you couldn’t be arsed to read all of the above we have summarised it with our top tips
Exercise, walking, run, jog, shuffle just get moving. “ Move on up, when your down baby take a good look around, I know it’s not much but it’s ok….Said the great philiopshers FIVE – if you know you know.
Podcast Your Life – There are millions out there to inspire you.
Talk – There are load of charities out there, but maybe it’s sometimes just saying to a friend “i’m not ok”
Instagram – Remember it is only a snapshot its not the full picture, we have both posted positive talk when behind the scene we have been a mess! Take regular breaks and most importantly if someone or something makes you feel shit you can always unfollow them.
Breathe – If anyone has heard of alternate nostril breathing you will know the power this has when you suffer with anxiety…if you haven’t go check it out.
Food – Might seem a simple one, but do you really know what foods impact your mental health, what your triggers are. It’s worth understanding.
So that’s it from us, if this helps just one person that we have made a difference, please spread the word and remember not everyone that wears a smile is ok, check in on your friends, you never know when it could be just what they need.
Thank you for reading
Keeley and Sam