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All Posts in Mental Health

June 22, 2016 - No Comments!

Just Like Clockwork

TalkLife Moderator Alice talks about how difficult suicide can be but how important it is that we talk about it.

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“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” - Hellen Keller

Friendship is, in my opinion, one of the simplest and truest pleasures we can experience. Having been a TalkLife user for almost four years now, I have had plenty of opportunities to meet people, and to make some truly amazing friends. I also wholeheartedly believe that friends become just as important as family. They are often the ones who are holding our hands and walking with us through the dark.

Today I would like to talk about one particular friend. His name is Derrick. The reason I am talking about Derrick today, is because he passed away on the 22nd of June 2015. Derrick’s death was not an accident; it was a suicide. He was just 28 years old. He was engaged, to a beautiful young woman named Brittany; whom he met on TalkLife and loved very much. He also had a gorgeous British Bulldog named Hank. He loved music, particularly playing the guitar and photography. Read more

June 07, 2016 - No Comments!

TalkLife’s Top Tips for dealing with Stress!

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Stress-it’s a word we are all familiar with. Our ability to cope with what’s going on around us can change, we sometimes find ourselves feeling stressed by something that hasn’t had such an impact on us before. Things can also build up slowly over time and we suddenly feel very stressed without really understanding why.
Have you ever had that feeling when suddenly everything feels too much, you can’t cope, your emotions are very close to the surface, you lose your ability to concentrate and what’s worse is that you aren’t really sure why. Maybe you’re feeling like that now? If so, you have taken the first step to learning to manage your stress-we implore you to read on!

Here are our top 5 stress busting tips:
Read more

May 07, 2016 - 1 comment.

#mentalillnessfeelslike

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She’d always known that something wasn't quite right. For as long as she could remember she’d been a careful girl, always concerned about the potential of failure. She didn't know the name for it then, didn’t realise that there was a name for it, but she certainly knew how it felt. It felt horrible. And the ambiguity around it only made it worse – how could she possibly fight something she didn’t even understand? She felt helpless and frustrated. It felt like an unending battle, and one she sure didn't have the weapons to fight. She couldn't talk about it and that made it harder still - it was always there, a constant reminder in the back of her mind. Eventually it started to affect her physically as well – she felt hot and sweaty all the time, couldn't catch her breath, and her heart would hammer at a mile a minute. Soon she started to lose her appetite and even having to leave the house was an immense struggle.

 

At that point she learnt the name for it; mental illness. This wasn't some phantom, imagined experience but something very real and apparently very manageable. This new knowledge changed her perceptions – she started to feel a little better and more than that she felt relief. No longer was this an uncontrollable, impossible force but she could do something about it. She started to feel positive, confident and each time she challenged herself she relished the pride that came with the success.

 

Of course she quickly learned that it wasn’t just a continuous upwards climb. Things weren't as easy as they’d started out to be. She quickly became disheartened, feeling frustrated at her perceived lack of progress. She experienced bouts of sadness, and weeks where she’d vow to just give it all up – what was the point if things would just go bad again and again?

 

But she kept going, and even though it may have taken a lot of time, she realised that life kept progressing too. Soon she got bored of sitting on the sidelines, and that boredom encouraged her to try again. It wasn't easy, given her past missteps – but she learned that one bad day didn't equate to a lifetime.

 

Now her mental illness makes her feel a number of different ways. Some days – the harder ones – she still feels defeated, run down and like she’s made hardly any progress at all. But more and more she feels empowered by the experiences she’s been through. While some have been almost unbearably hard, she’s still here and she’s even stronger from them. She's learnt that while there's a lot to abhor about mental illness, there might just be some good parts to it too…

 

May is Mental Health America’s annual Mental Health Month and this year the theme is Life with a Mental Illness. Individuals are encouraged to “share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike (or submitting to MHA anonymously). Posts will be collected and displayed at mentalhealthamerica.net/feelslike ...Posting with the hashtag will allow people to speak up about their own experiences, to share their point of view with individuals who may be struggling to explain what they are going through—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness. (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.  

 

Writing about my own experience, I've realised that my feelings surrounding my anxiety disorder have changed a lot, as I too have transformed. This keeps me hopeful that one day the world’s perception of mental health problems and mental illness can too go through a metamorphosis and abolish the stigma that still exists today. Speaking honestly about what mental illness is goes a long way in furthering the understanding of those who have never experienced it. Everyone experiences mental health problems in a unique way, and their feelings about living with mental illness no doubt also differ. For this reason this month I also asked Talklife users to share their feelings:

 

feather: misunderstood, mistreated, lonely, different

 

addictedtoselfdestruction: For me it's like nobody understands you even though they try their very best all the teachers can't relate and they don't understand that the reason you didn't finish your homework was because you had no literal motivation at all and you ended up breaking down into tears after you only wrote one sentence down....

 

orion: It just feels normal at this point. I've been disassociating since I was 2.

 

scarlettears: Feels like you are getting deeper in the darkness as time passes by.. getting deaf, mute and blind.. and all that exist is the insanity.. at times it feels like you are in the other side of existence.. looking at other people who are normal just passing by in your front.. feeling helpless and alone..

 

luis: endless fighting with the voices in your head .endless paranoia thinking everyone is following you feeling unsafe

 

ShatteredDreams:  It's fighting a battle everyday to make yourself get through the little things. It's fighting against your brain, your thoughts, your own self, to get out of bed, or to talk to people, or to eat. It's wanting to do things, but being way too exhausted to. It's not just feeling sad, but it's feeling empty and numb. It's feeling scared to do basic things. It's doing those basic things, but breaking down afterwards. Having a mental illness is fighting a battle that no one else can see every single day, and most days you feel like you're not going to win.

 

deathgrips: The twisted thing about mental illness is that you somehow force yourself to believe it's normal, like everyone is facing the same obstacles as you but you're just weak and can't handle it as well as they can. You feel like you're faking it and you keep on waiting for your mind to snap out of it but you can't. When the weight is lifted off your shoulders for as short as one day, you constantly wait for it to come crashing down on you, and it always does. No matter how many people tell you that you're "strong," you don't feel that way, and you feel like you pity yourself too much, that other people can better handle themselves than you can because they're capable of fighting through it and you're not. You feel like you can't tell anyone, that if you do, you're seeking attention, but at 3 AM when it's at its worse, you have to, but no one's awake and you've pushed everyone away.

 

DiamondRose: It's like drowning but you can see everyone else breathing, it's like you're a failure and that you will never be good enough no matter what, like you just make people annoyed and that everyone just wants you gone

 

Saria The fighter: Like I'm trapped in my own little bubble, which is the only thing I understand. It's like being unable to read other people no matter how hard you try. You feel stupid, and misunderstood, because you can't read people, and people just see you as dumb or annoying. It's like being constantly paranoid of what will happen next, since you know nothing more scary than the unknown. But mostly. It's the feeling of being unable to trust anyone.

 

p57chr74n: It feels like life, my life... It feels like constant paranoia where nobody understands you but you. Its like having a disease that constantly changes for the worse. Its like me... lonely.

 

silent tears: It feels like the worst physical illness but for every single day it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle. It feels like I'm being crushed between two walls and I can't do anything to stop it. It feels like I'm in the middle of a desert with nothing or no one around. It feels like I'm totally alone racked up with guilt and pain

 

bobbiekins: For me it feeling of being numb, numbness to which you are physically , mentally and emotionally exhausted. It's hearing a noise and get anxiety , it's being sick with the flu and you seem worst than what you are. It's the insomnia , it's the nightmares of the past ,it's the guilt it's the not knowing if people will under stand you. It's being afraid , it's looking yourself in the mirror and you hate yourself

stronger_than_ever: it feels like an endless circle that you cant get out of. it strips you pf your identity and confidence. It turns you into someone else, it causes you to see the world differently to others.

it feels like you are different and misunderstood. it feels like a losing battle everyday before you have even began to fight because you feel there is no point trying.

 

Alix Wellings: or me, it feels like you're trapped.

But there's nothing actually trapping you.
You feel alone. But you're surrounded by people.
Like, you feel nothing, there's nothing there, yet you're so overwhelmed.
It's like I live in a black and white world because nothing seems to have colour in it.
It's like I have no motivation to do anything. Stuff will sound cool, but when it coming to doing it, I'll think "what's the point"
I'll stay in my bedroom so I don't have to encounter people. Or if I do go outside, I'm always alone, in my own little bubble.
The only thing that keeps me sane is my own little world in my head. They understand.
My best friend is myself.
That's what mental illness feels like to me.

Cannavampire: For me it is endless paranoia and trusting no one. Everyone is out to get me everyone. It is isolation and still being paranoid and unsafe. It is the cycle of trying and failing. It is destroying relationships with family every time i try to socialize. It is self destruction that doesnt stop and being so lonely damn lo ely and having nothing to do about it. Being sick and tired and furious with no solutions. Being at the end of my rope 24/7. Zero peace zero kindness. Hell

 

Iris: Like I'm caged in a glass tank and the water is slowly rising up. Outside of the tank I see everyone that I love and I've reach out to. Some don't try to help me. The ones that do don't know how to. I feel helpless and defeated

 

Hailey: Mental illness feels like another person living in my body. She took over when I was ten and controls my thoughts and actions.

 

Rye: like i'm trying to hold an enormous boulder by a string that is dangling off a cliff and if i let go i'll go down with it

 

brOKengirl: it feels like i am tied to a chair in a burning room, the fire is getting closer only slowly but i know it will reach and consume me... there will be no rescue

 

How does mental illness make you feel? Share your responses with us @TalklifeApp using the hashtag #mentalilnessfeelslike

 


If you haven’t heard of TalkLife, it’s where you find friends and a place to belong. There’s a huge community of people like you, who understand. Download for free on your Apple or Android device.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, and potentially at risk of self harm or suicide, it is important to seek professional help NOW. Click here for links to emergency help.

March 30, 2016 - 1 comment.

What to say when you don’t know what to say…

We’ve all been there right-you see someone who is having a really tough time, you want to try and help them but you’re not sure what to say. Maybe you're worried about saying the wrong thing, or making someone feel worse or perhaps you just can’t find the right words.

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So i’ve been chatting to some of you about this and have come up with a few thoughts about what to say when you don’t know what to say. Now these are just a few ideas and they might not appeal to you but it’s a starting point and if you have any other ideas please post them in the comments section!

We all love the reactions buttons on TalkLife right (same, OMG, support and hug) and for someone posting, seeing that people have reacted to their post can be really supportive. Have you ever thought about telling someone why you reacted though?!

“I’ve sent you a hug because I wanted to let you know I care”

“I’m feeling the same as you, I didn’t know what to say but I wanted to let you know”

Sometimes it’s great to ask a person a question-it can encourage them to open up and share more about how they are feeling which can be really helpful. Open questions are ones that don’t have a specific answer. Like these:

“How are you feeling?”, “What’s that like for you?”

You might also want to ask a question to see if someone wants to share a bit more information about what’s going on-again try and keep your questions quite open if you can, although this isn’t always possible and there are no rules!

Another way of being supportive is to summarise or reflect back someone's comment. It might sound strange but this can show someone that you have really heard and understood what they are saying. For example you could say something like this:

“Sounds like you’re feeling really upset that your mum isn’t listening to you-that must be hard”

“I can hear that you are feeling really sad at the moment and want to let you know i’m thinking of you”

Another great way to offer support is by short words of encouragement- ‘hang in there’, ‘thinking of you’, ‘sending you a hug’ are all great ways of showing someone you care!

Remember, you don’t have to try and solve other people’s problems and you don’t have to give advice, but just by showing someone that you are there and you care can make a huge difference. As long as you are trying to be supportive there isn’t really a right or a wrong thing to say and it’s very unlikely that anything you say would ever make anyone feel worse-we all appreciate it when someone responds to our post right?

Still feeling unsure? Here’s what some of your fellow TalkLifers had to say about it:

“If someone was nervous about commenting on a post I would ask them to think about how if feels when they get comments on their own posts. The feeling of not getting a comment is no-one's favorite feeling. A short comment saying nice words can help a lot of people”

“I would tell them not to be afraid. Tell them as long as you are trying to help them then say it. You might even save their life”

“If you don’t know what to say, you can say that! People want to be acknowledged and feel support, it can feel vulnerable to post something about ourselves, sometimes there aren’t words to help, but showing up is what’s most important.

“If you wanna help or give words of wisdom just go for it, that’s why we are on here!”

So next time you want to say something but don’t know what to say why don’t you give some of these techniques a try and let me know how you get on!

Jen x

 


If you haven’t heard of TalkLife, it’s where you find friends and a place to belong. There’s a huge community of people like you, who understand. Download for free on your Apple or Android device.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, and potentially at risk of self harm or suicide, it is important to seek professional help NOW. Click here for links to emergency help.

 

March 18, 2016 - 1 comment.

Welcome Jen!

Incredible TalkLifers! Please make a giant purple welcome for @jen who's joined our family this week. If you see Jen in the app please give her a massive high five

TalkLife

 


If you haven’t heard of TalkLife, it’s where you find friends and a place to belong. There’s a huge community of people like you, who understand. Download for free on your Apple or Android device.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, and potentially at risk of self harm or suicide, it is important to seek professional help NOW. Click here for links to emergency help.

February 28, 2016 - No Comments!

#DearYoungerMe – #EDAW2016

For Eating Disorders Awareness week,  we asked our awesome community what they would tell their younger selves about living with an eating disorder. Here is some of the awesome and inspiration things they said! Names have been removed. Read the encouraging things they would tell themselves below:

 

#DearYoungerMe "Getting the perfect body isn't important and don't listen to the bullies

 

#DearYoungerMe try to participate in gym and not let yourself be brought down by bullies comments

Read more

February 01, 2016 - No Comments!

The “danger” of hope

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Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality. ~Jonas Salk

Why does hope feel so dangerous?

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot in the last week or so.

Two or three years ago I had planned to do an interstate day trip – about an hour’s flight – not only for the challenge it would pose to my crippling agoraphobia and generalized anxiety, but with the added purpose of renewing one of my passports. Unfortunately (perhaps in some ways predictably) the morning of the trip I chickened out, self-doubt and a thoroughly undermanaged anxiety disorder leading me to believe that the goal was impossible. This of course led to a period of frustration and hopelessness - there’s nothing like the hit your self-esteem gets when you choose to back out of something you’ve been planning for a while.

Last week however, years and a lot of personal development later, I actually did go on that same trip I’d planned to do back then. Read more

December 23, 2015 - No Comments!

Colouring Books For Christmas!

As you might have seen, adult colouring books are really popular right now. You might be asking yourself why these books are so popular? 

Colouring is a great way to focus your brain on something small and fun to take the focus away from worried or depressed thoughts. Creating something colourful and awesome feels great, and gives you awesome photos for facebook, twitter or Instagram (so everyone knows how artsy you are!).

Read more

December 17, 2015 - No Comments!

It’s Almost Christmas TalkLife!

From all of the team at TalkLife we would like to thank you for making incredible 2015, it's been our privilege and honor to serve you and the TalkLife community!!

We want to wish you the very best for the coming holidays however you're spending them. We'll be here all holiday if you need to chat or have time to spread some Christmas cheer.

Much Love - From all of the TalkLife Team

December 10, 2015 - No Comments!

TalkLife is proud to feature in the 2015 Nominet Trust 100!

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We’re really excited to announce that TalkLife has been named among the 2015 NT100 – Nominet Trust’s annual celebration of 100 inspiring tech for good ventures from around the world.

These inspiring projects all use digital technology to tackle some of the world’s biggest social problems from lifesaving health tech to knowledge sharing via SMS text messaging. Meet just some of the projects in this short film.

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Following a global call for nominations earlier this year TalkLife, was selected by ten judging partners from the tech and charity world in recognition of our work.

We hope you will join us in celebrating this achievement, explore the 2015 NT100 here

While the recognition is really nice, we're all about our users. TalkLife is your platform! We merely the people who have developed this for you. So we want to thank all of our amazing volunteers, the helpers, and especially we want to thank you for being part of our community!

If you want to check out some of the press we had a really nice fantastic mention in the Guardian online and print  - you can read all about that here.