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Lifestyle Mental Health

What my life after university is really like

universityPhoto by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I graduated from university back in 2014 and I had a few ideas what I thought life was going to be like after I finished my course. I’d had friends telling me different things that had happened to them but different things happen to different people! I spent 3 years doing a Theatre course where I studied acting, stage management, script-writing, directing and theatre in education. In short…SUCH A GOOD COURSE!!

When I joined the course in 2011, I was the last year to pay £3700+ instead of £9000! I was so lucky to miss it but I knew that I would one day have to pay all the tuition fees that had built up. I only had a couple of people whose parents actually paid for their time at university but the majority were like me who would pay after.

It wasn’t a day after I graduated that I got a letter from Student Finance to say that I now had a bill of £21,000 to pay.

They clearly didn’t want to wait!

What I hadn’t expected after I finished was for my mental health to take a nose-dive. My depression was officially diagnosed in 2014 and I was really struggling. I did look at getting part-time jobs to start the ball rolling to pay back; however, I didn’t have to start making payments until I got a job with £21,000 a year wages. I couldn’t get a full-time one as I was also caring for my mum.

Regardless of my depression I was on a major high with my acting! I had graduated with a 2:1 (I got a 1st in my final acting assignment!) and was ready to take on the world!

As you can probably guess, that didn’t work out for me. Life happened in the form of Mum getting cancer, looking after her full-time, various health conditions being diagnosed and…yeah.

My newly fresh graduate life had ground to a halt.

The green-eyed monster kicked in when I went on my social media and saw people on my course going to drama school, taking part in professional projects such as UK tours and even going on TV!

I was at home and not even getting the chance to do any of what I had hoped I could do. I don’t blame my mum at all for what happened. She couldn’t help getting cancer and I couldn’t help my depression taking up a large part of my time. Life just happens sometimes!

My love for theatre was still there and that is why I started blogging at all! I started a blog called PromptsByDee where I could talk about my thoughts on theatre, Harry Potter and just life in general. Though life hasn’t gone the way I’d hoped, I can still take on the world like a fresh graduate would! I have life experience now which is completely different to some of my friends and I was able to learn new skills that might be helpful for me when I manage to find myself a job!

If you went to university, how has your life been since finishing?
Is what you expected it to be?

Mental Health

4 Toys/Objects That Help Ease My Anxiety

toys

Over the years I’ve tried and tested multiple ways to try and ease my anxiety especially when I’m in public. Some have worked and some have done nothing but, in the last year or so, I’ve discovered a few toys/objects that have really helped. They don’t just help with my anxiety but with my ASD too so woo!

4 toys/objects i’ve either tried or want

fidget cube:

Everyone has heard of a fidget spinner but I could never click with using that. It wasn’t until I saw this yellow and white fidget cube in a knick knack shop that I found what worked! I was always that annoying pen clicker or fidgeter in class purely because I couldn’t keep my hands still!

This fidget cube has something for everything! It has buttons to click, little wheel to roll your thumb over and clicks a little too, a smooth groove, a teeny light switch and a button thing you can roll around or push up and down!

TANGLE:

This toy is a recent addition! I’d initally heard about these from watching a Youtuber called BeckieJaneBrown who used them for her Trichotillomania (hair pulling). They seemed such a fun way to keep my concentration so when I stumbled on this tangle in TheWorks, I was so happy!

They are perfect for anyone who gets distracted easily or needs a distraction, whether you have ADHD, autism or any other disorder. You can get them in a bunch of different colours, different sizes and with textures or smooth! They can be pulled apart and put together easily and they don’t make much noise!

If I’m in a class or on the bus I’ll usually pull this out to ease my anxiety!

Weighted Blanket:

Okay…so…I don’t actually own one of these BUT I have heard a bunch about them on the internet and a couple of bloggers! It seems like such an interesting concept and I hadn’t realised that it can really help. I don’t know what kind of magic these weighted blankets use but I do know they’re meant to be amazing for anxiety and for anyone who doesn’t sleep well!

Kids can use these blankets too!

One of the main reasons I don’t own one of these is mainly because they’re pretty expensive! They all seem to be £100+ but I think it would be a good investment! Maybe Santa will be generous this year!

Hand Therapy Stress Ball:

This final toy/object is another that I’ve heard about but this was from a fellow chronic pain sufferer. She had been using this ball to help ease pains and aches in the joints in her hands. She said that it was small enough to fit into the palm of her hand and she could squeeze it to help strengthen her joints too!

Definitely going to buy this to try! I’ll be sure to review it properly when it comes!

What toys do you use to help ease your anxiety?

Lifestyle Mental Health

How To Make Yourself A Priority

priority

So many people these days put other people before themselves. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing since sometimes it shows a great sense of character to help others and think how you impact on people around you.

Charities and volunteering are great examples of this!

However, you can become so focus on others that you forget about looking after yourself as well! I’m beyond guilty of this! I love the idea of helping friends with their problems that I tend to ignore the fact that their problem could be triggering until it was too late. I find it easier to help them and forget what should be the priority.

Here are a few ways I’ve thought of overcoming that forgetfulness and allowing you to make yourself the priority and not feel guilty about it:

Meditate when you wake up

This is something I want to start doing every morning to try and ease any residual anxiety from either the day before or during the night. You get the chance to calm yourself for the day ahead, say some positive affirmations and not trigger your mind by looking straight at social media.

Don’t be afraid to stay home

It’s great if you can be social. Some people find it easy and others struggle. Regardless of how you are, it’s good to be around friends you can chat with or others who challenge you positively. That said if you don’t feel like yourself, whether you’re sick or having a low day, or the weather isn’t amazing…stay home! No errands? Stay home! You don’t have to always go out and face the world.

Take a social media break

Social media and blogging have a way of taking over our lives! You find yourself checking your phone every few minutes if you get a notification, constantly seeing how many likes your Instagram is getting or whether you’ve gotten any comments on your latest blog post. As hard as it might feel doing this step away. You don’t have to delete any accounts or anything that drastic but keep your phone turned off or do something else. Go for that walk on a nice day, read a book…whatever you’ve been putting off.

treat yourself

Okay…we probably treat ourselves every day in some way but there’s nothing wrong with your treat being something small or a bit bigger. If you did something you struggle with, have that favourite snack or put a mask on. If you got a promotion, buy that bag or coat you’ve had your eye on for months. You’ve worked so you’ve earned it!

Say no

This is such a difficult word to say. Like I mentioned earlier you always want to help people if they’re struggling but there are some people who like to take advantage of your kindness. They find ways to get you to help them or do work for them because they know you will help. This is when you have to say no. That person might not like it but you are more important than they are at that moment.

If a person’s struggle is genuine and they don’t normally ask for help, say yes all you like. Just know when to say no. You could say no if you don’t go out or you don’t feel like having a certain meal.

How do you plan on making yourself a priority?

Mental Health

6 Tactics I Use To Get Out Of Bed Each Morning

There are many moments that you struggle with when you suffer with mental health. You can be struck at any time of day or night. When I’m at a particularly low mood or sometimes get overwhelmed by something negative, I find it nearly impossible to get myself out of bed in the morning.

Morning

You don’t just get affected mentally but sometimes also physically. At the time I’m writing this (on the Sunday prior), I’ve had one of those mornings so I thought it would be therapeutic to chat about how I get myself up out of bed when I’m really struggling. My little tactics are what work for me personally (not all the time but most of the time) since everyone is different, but maybe they can help you create some of your own.

My 6 Morning Tactics On Low Mental Health Days

think about my parents:

This is a right hook to the feels for my brain! My parents are vital to my life even if they are no longer here. They fought for me when I was born 3 months premature and was told I might not survive at 2lbs but they knew I would! Both of them worked nearly their whole lives and, even though every life is different, I still use them as an example to get me up. It’s almost impossible but I do.

Have an emergency back-up:

What I mean by an emergency back-up is something special that you love to do but don’t do too often. It could be going to see a film you’ve been excited for, going for afternoon tea somewhere local or, for me, it’s visiting my nearby cat cafe! Cats always have a way to cheer me up because they just slump next to you and just chill without expecting much fuss! An added bonus is that the people who run it understand mental health so don’t push me to chat.

Force yourself:

Tough love! This is something I use on my medium low days when my brain is really getting me to stay in bed and I have an appointment to get to. This tactic doesn’t always work because it sometimes ends up making me feel worse but, if I do feel an inkling of stubbornness, then I force my legs and body right up!

Write a to-do list:

I’m all about lists! I don’t know what it is about writing them that I love so much but it just makes me feel productive even if I don’t tick all the points off! My days don’t tend to have much routine (even if I desperately wish it did) so I have to give myself chores to do each day to get me out. I’ve been adoring my bullet journal for this lately and I usually get an inkling the night before if I’m going to have a low day. I don’t so much give myself a day off because sitting in my flat with my noisy neighbours makes it all worse but I’m a little more relaxed if I don’t tick off every single point.

Drink a lot of water:

Okay…this point is a bit of a crazy one but it works. If I drink a lot of water either the night before or during the night then you know what will end up happening. Nature likes to help me kick mental health up the tush!

Have a friend text you:

You don’t have to go out on these low days. If the weather is bad and you know that your mental health will be made worse surrounded by people then socialise a different way! Have a friend who you will be honest with about how you’re really feeling text you. You might not be able to cope with strangers but there is something nice about having someone care. I usually leave my phone next to me in bed so I can chat with gifs and improve my mood enough to get up.

If you struggle to get out of bed on low days, what are your tactics to get out of bed
or do you give yourself that low day?

Fandom Mental Health

Why I Find It Easier To Communicate Through Gifs

Gifs

For as long as I’ve used Twitter, I’ve loved using gifs in my tweets. At first I would get them off Tumblr and then I decided to collect some of my favourites to use whenever I wanted. I have seperate files for different fandoms that I love such as Harry Potter, Merlin, Sherlock and Disney. Yes I’m a little bit extra but I love finding new gifs that I can use. Obviously I use them for fun but I also use them when I can’t think what to say or if I can’t describe how I’m feeling at that minute.

Some don’t always get what I’m trying to say through the gif and then I have friends who get the fandom I’m using and even take part in whole conversations with me only using gifs. The times I’ve been able to do this have been the best and I’ve had more than a couple nights when I’ve just been giggling. I know that not finding it easy to communicate offline with other people but I find it so much easier to do so since people aren’t talking face-to-face and they also follow me because we have the same interests!

I may have many files to choose from but I have a handful of gifs that I love to use for various conversations and over and over!

If anyone has been mean to someone, been particularly dumb or just gotten to me in some way, you’ll see me using this gif from the Philosopher’s Stone. It’s amazing for getting the point across and Hermione just has a way with words!

Luna Lovegood…my spirit animal! I’ve never related so much to a character than I have with Luna. I love this quote from her since it’s the first one that we hear from her in both book and film. If anyone is thinking they’re a bit weird or if they like the same thing as I do, I always use this to try and make them feel better. We might be a little different compared to others but that doesn’t mean we’re alone!

Doctor Who has some incredible quotes people can make gifs on but one of my favourites has to be during David Tennant’s time. The Doctor is in a massive library and describes books as some of the best weapons in the world! I love using this if books/reading are ever judged negatively!

Do you enjoy using gifs in your tweets?

Lifestyle Mental Health

Dealing With Grief Through A Memory Bear

Memory Bear

This is a post that I’ve been 50/50 about posting due to it being a little morbid and others may think that I’m weird to have this if they don’t understand. I actually remember Shane Dawson mentioning this in one of his creepy videos and him saying that it was creepy to own. That said, there are so many people who may love one of these so I’m going to talk about my memory bear. I will be talking about death and cremation so this is my trigger warning for you!

Let me take you back to the beginning.

It was a few days before my Mum’s funeral and I was really struggling with the idea that I wouldn’t get to be with her anymore. It had been difficult losing my dad and knowing that he was going to be cremated (even though I knew that he wasn’t there properly anymore and that he’d gone to be with my grandparents), but the part I had had rode the shoulders of and hugged when I was upset was still there. I know it sounds a little silly but I was only 14 at the time and it was my first experience with the Chapel of Rest.

Before Mum passed, she had already made it clear that she wanted her own ashes to be mixed up with my dad. I totally understood why and was determined to do that for her. What you might not know about cremation is that the urn your loved one isn’t in a nice teeny tube. It’s in a massive pot and really heavy! One is bad but try having both your parents in one bag! I actually found myself visiting my local Co-Op because there was a lady called Maria there who was the loveliest person and made me a cup of tea when I came to chat about Mum’s funeral.

Mum had made the funeral process super easy for me since we had spoken openly about what she wanted over the years and vice versa. I was so happy that I got to make things happen for her. She wanted it to be a celebration of her life so I had her entering to ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ since she loved Queen and thought it was hilarious since she was being cremated. During one of my chats with Maria, I spoke about the fact that I would miss my Mum’s hugs (she gave the best!) and she said that it was one of the biggest things mentioned by those who had lost a loved one. That was why the Co-Op made it possible to get a Memory Bear! It is pretty pricey but it is so worth it!

I didn’t ask about how the ashes were transferred into the bear because I didn’t want to know but they’re in there! The amount of times I’ve hugged this little bear is off the chart. Whenever I’ve been really struggling, missing my parents or just needed comfort that only a parent could give after a long day, I hugged. Personally I actually sleep with it beside me. Morbid I know but it’s just reassuring for me. Every one is different!

What do you think about Memory Bears? Would you ever get one?

Lifestyle Mental Health

What Are My Social Media Peeves?

social media

These days social media is a massive thing to a lot of people! It’s important to bloggers, our readers and companies alike! There are loads of different sites: you have Twitter, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat, TikToc, Tumblr and more. Social media lets you reach so many people from all over the world and I do adore that but I do have a few peeves that make using it annoying sometimes.

the comparison factor

Ahh! This is one giant peeve! I compared myself to others long before social media was a thing but now it’s a big problem especially to children and teens. They see their favourite celebs/vloggers/bloggers posting what seems like such a perfect life and look that they can’t help but compare what their life looks like. They don’t always realise that what they’re seeing has been edited into such a way that it looks perfect. It can really play upon the mental health of kids and I hate that. I’m trying to not be as triggered by what I can’t be but focus on what I can.

Fake accounts/bots

Whoever started with the first ever fake account should’ve been banned for life! Fake accounts and bots are a nightmare to deal with! As a blogger you’re constantly trying to build your online presence and reach actual people who want to read/watch! However we get hassled by these fake accounts. You look at your follower count, get excited when you see it has gone up and then see it go down almost immediately. They ask follow for a follow, random comments that make actually no sense and are even sometimes gross porn accounts. Ew.

triggering images/videos

This is a sad peeve since it has actually involved me muting some friends in the past. I totally understand why people want to either want to share or comment on something that they feel passionate about, but I think they sometimes forget that they may trigger others.

I’ve seen pictures or clips online of some horrendous things such as animal abuse and they have sent me offline. Along with that you can also get posts where someone has added a trigger warning (which is greatly appreciated!) at the start but immediately get into the topic. This is usually around mental health. I love the fact that people are talking more openly about it but…yeah. I’ve now muted the words that trigger me in hopes I don’t see any of this.

trolls/perverts

I ask myself every day why not more is done to prevent these people being online. They are some of the worst types of people and they don’t care. The trolls that find one of your posts and immediately start bullying, leaving awful comments about the way you look, wishing you the most horrific death in detail and doing everything they can to push you over the edge for fun. You then have perverts. I’ve been doing my best to avoid these guys and it helps that I’m not interesting at all, but I’ve recently seen some of my friends being targeted such as HelloMissJordan and FromSarahLex!

I do have so many other social media peeves but I thought I’d let you leave before you have me ranting for hours. I’d love for you to share what annoys the heck out of you about social media whether it’s through working on it professionally, blogging or just in general!

What are your top peeves?

 

Lifestyle Mental Health

Why I Haven’t Posted On Youtube In 6 Months

youtube

If you’re new to my blog then you probably won’t know that I have a Youtube channel. It’s like my blog in terms of Harry Potter with a dash of lifestyle and mental health! The only difference is that you can see and hear me! I’ve been on there for a year and a bit but as you can see from the title, I haven’t posted in 6 months. There are so many reasons why I haven’t posted anything so I thought I’d choose a handful so you can see what is going on inside my head.

i hate the way i sound and look

Yeaaaah. This is definitely one of the very top reasons why I haven’t posted. I have no problem chatting to the camera! That is something I find a lot of fun especially when I can be a little more creative or I’m chatting about something I’m excited about. It’s when I get to editing my video that I have to listen to myself talk and I hate it. I’ve always hated the way I sounded ever since I was a child. I sound super nasally which I have tried to have rectified over 10 years ago through a septoplasty, but nope…no change. I do sound clearer than I did thanks to doing acting over the years but not enough for me to like.

As for the way I look, that is a major issue I’m hoping to come to terms with in therapy. A lot of body issues right there especially with my smile!

my neighbours are noisy

I moved into my flat just over a year ago and what you don’t know is that I’ve had a few little issues with my neighbours. Don’t get me wrong…they are really friendly and I can chat to them whenever I see them. However, the neighbours below me are alcoholics and love to blare their music extra loud during all hours of the day and sometimes late into the night and the ones near them love to chat super loud outside, play the car radio super loud and yell at each other. All of these factors make filming awkward.

It doesn’t help that the walls are pretty thin so you can every little thing and I find it a little difficult to be as energetic as I want to be in case they hear me. Maybe I’ll find the confidence to be me but we’ll see.

i’m too boring to watch

That annoying comparison demon loves to hit me! I always think ‘Why would anyone watch me compared to that person? I’m so boring!’. I have images of what I wish my videos ended up like but they either never turn out that way or I don’t have the means to make them like I want. More and more Potter Youtubers have been joining and I see them doing so much better. Their content is really good but they also seem to have a bit more money than me so can buy merch to do unboxings and things! I hate how whiney I sound yet I want to be completely open and honest with you on how I feel.

my camera hates me

Alright so it isn’t so much that my camera hates me or at least I don’t think it does, but I can only film 2 minutes before my camera stops recording. When you’re trying to film a 5-minute video, it makes you lose the will to record anything. I could be chatting away like crazy or actually like what I just did and then I realised that I’ve been cut off. Gah!

I’m going to add to my July goals by saying I’m going to try and film at least one video this month. I will be extremely rusty so, if I do, please don’t judge!

Have you subscribed to me on Youtube? If you have, which video did you enjoy? If you haven’t, what would make you subscribe?

Mental Health

Tracking My Anxiety Triggers Through A Week

triggersPhoto by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Oh boy…the last few days everything has triggered my anxiety and left me sometimes a sobbing, trembling wreck. It’s a nightmare! If you suffer from anxiety too, there may be a few triggers mentioned so this is a little warning for you just in case. They shouldn’t be too bad since they’re my own personal triggers but you never know!

This post was actually inspired by Career Girl Daily who wrote about tracking your mood and the things that work and don’t work in your day. I thought I’d put my own swing on things and try to track some of my triggers last week to see if I can figure out what I can change or just learn to deal with!

Periods/pmt/lady time/hell

Ooooof! Excuse me while I rant at Eve for causing ladies to have this chaos every month. Every girl deals with her lady time differently. Some have it light, some heavy, some not at all. We all have hell! I seriously get triggered every few weeks by my period starting and it feels like it heightens my anxiety x100. I cry, I hate the way I feel bloated, my skin looks terrible and my mental health just takes the worst rollercoaster ever!

I would love if any of you ladies have got tips you’ve found helped you during this time.

Weather

The UK is known for its freaky weather. One minute it could be glorious sunshine and the next, it’s the ice age! You literally can get 4 types of weather in one day! Right now I think Mother Nature is having her lady time because it keeps going hot and then cold and then extra hot. Nothing nastier than feeling icky at night and not knowing what to do with yourself. I hate being sweaty and never have the right night-clothes for the job! I have tried to drink more water and sleep with a sheet on top but I can’t control the weather.

*mumbles* Stupid weather ruining my life…

Social media

To be honest, the only social media I use consistently is Twitter and that site can be bloody awful sometimes! In the last week I’ve had people I follow either tweet or like tweets that have been extremely triggering especially one with a cat being kicked. WHY?! Why does that need to be a thing online?! That actually started a very low night for me and lasted for 3 straight days. It doesn’t take much to trigger someone so please:

  • Be mindful of what you comment on or like especially if it shows a form of abuse.
  • Be respectful if someone asks you to delete a tweet. They aren’t forming a vendetta on you personally but may be triggered by what you’ve typed.

Neighbours

Not everyone has noisy neighbours or idiots that visit them but the last week has been crazy for one of my neighbours. She constantly has people coming back and forth to her flat at 2am revving their car, full headlights on, laughing loudly or even yelling at each other. This could happen at least 2/3 times every other night. I chose the flat I have now because it was quiet and made it easy for my Aspergers but AHHHHH! I was actually triggered today because I was told that a rat has been seen near her property.

Anxiety attacks are NOT fun. Thankfully one of my elderly neighbours saw me, brought me into her bungalow, gave me some tea and let me listen to music while I calmed down. She’s a godsend!

What are your anxiety triggers? Have you found things that help?

Mental Health

Thank You BBC Three For Listening | Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

BBC Three

One channel that I have adored both on TV and now online has to be BBC Three. Like Channel 4, they are not afraid to look at the documentaries that target real life issues such as LGBTQ+ and mental health.

Carrying on with my mental health posts for this week, I’m going to look at some of the programmes/videos that have made me feel as if I’m not so abnormal. I’m going to put a trigger warning here because quite a lot of these may trigger you so don’t be afraid to click away or just read what I’ve written instead of watching.

Overshadowed

BBC Three

Everyone knows how popular Youtube is these days with famous vloggers documenting beauty routines, what is new this month and a day in their life. That is why I loved watching this short but incredible series following a vlogger called Imogene who starts by vlogging her life and slowly starts noticing something so much more: anorexia. You are able to see it taking hold on her and hear all thoughts about herself and those around her. You wish you could help her but all you can do is watch.

This is actually based off a play by Eva O’Connor so, if you love theatre/reading play texts, check it out!

George Shelley: Learning To Grieve

I’ll be honest with you: I never listened to Union J. I knew who they were and sometimes caught their songs on the radio but they never really interested me. It wasn’t until I watched George Shelley on I’m A Celeb that I noticed him and heard the story of his mental health. Hearing about the death of his sister is awful and grief is something I’ve struggled with a lot in terms of losing my parents. There is something called survivor’s guilt that some people have to battle with where you feel intensely guilty for being alive when the person you lost has died. It feels like your life loses all meaning for a while and watching this documentary a year after losing my Mum really helped.

Things Not To Say

This little series on Youtube by BBC Three was the first mental health thing I watched by them! I adore all of these videos for being brutally honest, really funny and beyond relatable especially when the people talking suffer/are going through the same thing as you. You even get to see my friend and fellow blogger, Sarah, in one of these about wheelchair users! They look at so many subjects that other channels wouldn’t touch and one day, I will be on one of these chatting about something…BBC Three, call me! (Haha).

I’m gutted that BBC Three is no longer a TV channel because it was so different to the standard BBC that we know and it reached more eyes than it seems to online. That said, I just wanted to say thank you to the team and to the people who help create these programmes based on mental health of all different kinds and for making others aware of how much it can affect a person.

What programmes/videos have you watched on BBC Three?