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When you talk about love you should speak from the heart so here is my slightly raw take on love today.
Whatever love means for you right now, whether it’s intense pain, joy or something inbetween I hope you can stop for a moment and turn some of the love you feel inwards. You are the only person that you can guarentee will walk the entire path of your life with you. Sometimes you might not like yourself very much, you might feel lost, you might not know who you are or who you want to be but that’s ok. You can be all of those things and still feel worthy of love because you are a unique beautiful human being and part of being a human being is to sometimes be abit of a mess, a bit emotional, a bit fucked up, to not have the answers, to not know. To make mistakes, and then make more and then make even more! These might not be easy things to feel but they’re not wrong things to feel.
I think as a society we put alot of pressure on love, relationships, the right way to be or to feel. We beat ourselves up, we try and mould ourselves or force ourselves to be different. We hurt people and it breaks us, we get hurt and it breaks us. We fix ourselves over time, sometimes we try to fix other people. Sometimes we feel that a part of us will always be left behind in someone elses heart and sometimes we feel that we will always hold them in ours.
Love has such power-to make you feel intense connection, invincible, validated, wanted, cared for. It can also make you feel alone, isolated, despairing and shame. As people we have an innate need for human connection. It’s up there with our need for air and water and food! We are social creatures who crave company, compassion and warmth from others. It’s not suprising then that it has such an impact.
We can’t control who loves us, who we love and how our lives will ultimately unfold. At times that’s exciting and at times that’s petrifying. At times we embrace it and at times we resist it with every bone of our bodies. We want to be happy, we want to be safe, we want security. So how on earth do we navigate life and all the things it throws at us? Perhaps the only real way to have any of these things is to find love in ourselves first.
So, with that in mind, whatever is going on for you in your life at the moment, just stop for a second. Take a deep breath, feel your heart beat and remind yourself that in the craziness of life you are an incredible person and that love doesn’t all have to come from other people. It’s not always easy to find love for yourself but wrap your arms around yourself and remember that you will always have you and with a little time, compassion and patience and you can be pretty awesome-even if you don’t feel it now.
A friend once said to me that it all comes back to Love. I think she was right. But I think the best place to start is with yourself. x
Operations at TalkLife
There is something profoundly beautiful about music, it’s calming, its invigorating. It’s helped me cope with a broken heart, with love, with concentration, with relaxing, with exercising and with expressing myself. It helps me find words when I have none. It helps me feel connected to people. It helps me feel close to people I love when i’m apart from them. It sparks memories, stirs emotions, makes me cry. It reminds me there is beauty in the world and comforts me when sometimes I can’t always see it.
Music liberates me, it makes my feet want to dance, my arms want to wave, my heart to beat faster or to steady. It’s a single voice pure and true, or a large orchestra united and breath taking. It’s a comfort blanket, a hug or a jolt of energy to wake me up in the morning or get me through that run!
It’s a powerful thing music.
New music, old music, spoken word (ok not strictly music but it has the same impact!). Music provides the sound track to so many of our lives and I think it’s the one thing (apart from the obvious air etc!) that I would really struggle to live without. So I wanted to share what music means to me. I’d love to hear what it means to you…or what your music equivalent is!
Operations at TalkLife
Like most of you over the last week I have been on the hunt! The search for my own Mew or Alakazam has been incredibly addictive and I’ve found myself on adventures, taking longer walks around the block and even chatting with new people?! The whole TalkLife team are on it!
So could Pokémon Go be one of the first games that’s actually really good for us? Aside from the In App purchasing, the lack of sleep and those who have gone walking into dark alleyways, I would like to lay out five reasons Pokemon Go can improve your mental wellbeing!!
Sunlight– fresh air and breathing in the world around us!
Most of us know this already, however a healthy amount of sunlight has been shown to be good for the body! Not only does sunlight help us in improve sleep cycles, circadian rythms and serotonin levels, it can also help to stabilise our moods. Not helpful for those playing Pokemon in Winter.
Exercise– Yes trekking to Pokéstops is good for you.
Exercise is incredibly important for mind and body. It can be a fast pick up if you’re feeling flat. Often after taking a brisk walk or run around the block you‘ll noticeably feel the difference. I’m not going to dive into endorphins, serotonin or the stuff doctors have been telling us for years, but I will say that whenever I exercise I feel better. I encourage you to try it– why not catch Squritle at the same time???
Distraction & break
At TalkLife, many users say to me that they often feel at their lowest or triggered to harm when they’re inside and have nothing to do with their minds racing around in circles.
We all need a break from ourselves at times and getting stuck into a game is a great way of switching off our minds, relaxing and stepping away from our thought patterns for a little while.
Pokemon Go forces us to get outside and physically take on a gym.. or two.. Not only does this remove our previous thinking but it challenges our minds with a new task. Our minds like to be challenged!
We can meet new people
I need to be careful here! I’m not suggesting meeting everyone who has a lure on a Pokestop is a good thing, i’m definately not suggesting you head down a dark alleyway to hang out with Boris & his friends.. but I am saying that the act of having an aligned purpose or interest is a huge icebreaker! Seeing a fellow trainer walking along The Strand hunting pokemon gives you something to laugh about– a chance to break down barriers.
Finally – IT’S FUN!!! Yes that’s right, fun, laughter, smiling!
It’s okay to have fun and it’s okay to giggle as you capture a 120CP Pikkachu!!! Sometimes we can get so caught up in our situations we forget to have fun, we can even forget what that feels like. Perhaps a dose of smiling, adrenaline and chasing imaginary creatures down highways or millitary bases could be exactly what the Doctor ordered?
I think this game is incredibly fun and if your parents suggest putting your phones away– you’re welcome to quote Jamie’s top five tips above!
What do you think? Are you enjoying Pokémon Go? Leave your comments below.
Today I am hiding away. I am having one of ‘those’ days-a down day, a funk, feeling a bit low whatever you want to call it. It’s been building for a few days and it generally passes within a few days but for now it’s resulted in me sitting in my pyjamas feeling totally shit and then hating myself for it. And knowing it’s probably only temporary isn’t helping one bit. It’s making me feel very angry at myself and at the world around me. I promised myself that I would talk about this. So I am. I have to share how I feel because I believe that in sharing and not hiding away it might make a difference-not only to how I feel but maybe if there are other people out there feeling the same it might make a difference to them. Or it might not. Either way I’ve started now so I might as well continue.
We hide so much as a society. A few days ago I was locked in the bathroom whilst out with friends taking a moment for myself having felt overwhelmed (when this first started to kick in) and it occurred to me how much we hide and how hiding can feel so isolating and lonely. I started to think about all the ways and things we hide. Hiding is a huge characteristic of our society, we all hide all the bloody time!
I hid my need for some space alone (a perfectly reasonable need? But slightly socially unacceptable?) by telling my friends I needed to use the bathroom-that always buys you a good 20 minutes before anyone really realises you’re gone. I’ve taken days sick from work with ‘food poisoning’ because it’s much easier and more acceptable than saying ‘I can’t get out of bed today and I can’t really tell you why’. We hide the fact that we are pregnant incase something goes wrong and we wouldn’t want people to know about that (i’ve never quite understood that, personally I would want the support but thems the ‘rules’), we hide the fact that we want to get pregnant, or don’t want to. We hide the fact that we are grieving (still), that we are struggling with relationships, that we feel scared, insecure, anxious. We hide the moments where we have fallen apart as human beings and where we thought we might never find a way to build ourselves again. We hide that we can’t sleep or struggle with eating or drinking. That we feel fat, or thin, or unattractive. We hide that we worry about our future, that our children and friends are finding it hard to cope and it’s tearing us up inside. We sometimes even hide when we are happy, or when things are going well. Or we hide our hopes and dreams for fear that they might not come true (or they might, that’s scary too!) or we might seem arrogant. We hide what makes us unique for fear of being unacceptable or causing upset. We hide what makes us human. We hide what we all feel at times. We hide what ties us all together, what makes us love and cherish each other and what makes us feel connected.
It feels so unnatural to hide the bits of ourselves that society finds unacceptable but it has become so natural to us that we hardly recognise we are doing it.
I totally understand why we hide, sharing the difficult stuff sounds terrifying and i’m the first to admit that being around me on a day like today when I am not hiding is no fun for anyone! But I think it’s equally terrifying being isolated and feeling like you are the only one in the world feeling like this on a day like today.
So I’m not going to hide today. And i’m not going to write anymore either-I’ve run out of steam. But for anyone out there who is hiding as well today-you are not alone. x
PS. I feel marginally better.
Jamie Druitt, @thejdexpress
Friday I was sitting in a black cab in London with a terrible head cold. I was on a mission to get to work quickly and preferably without too much communication. The driver and I exchanged Brexit banter, we talked about Uber, Euro 2016 and then he asked, what do you with yourself?
Although I was coughing and spluttering, I managed to get out the basics. I work for a small start up and we try to help young people in mental health. The driver sat silent, I assumed my start up lingo had put him to sleep and thus so we had passed the chit chat stage. We spent the next few minutes in silence.
At the next jam in traffic, with a teary expression the driver turned and muttered something about his godson. I made out through the crackling intercom that his godson had taken his life four years ago, leaving two young children and he wanted to know why.
He shared with me that he had so many questions, and if he could just have another five minutes, maybe he and his family would be able move forward. A few years back this would have been one of those dear God get me out of here moments, but I sat there and listened. I didn’t say anything, occasionally adding an oh or sigh.
I have no idea how I started having these conversations. I often feel like the least qualified person to be listening to a cabbie. Six years ago, in fact, I had a stable career, a dog and a desire to live a comfortable life. I had a challenging moments growing up, everyone does, but I believed most situations could be overcome with proper goal setting, planning and determination.
It was around this time when my life was properly thrown into turmoil, catching me completely off guard. It was rough, the world seemed to amplify my failings everywhere I looked and the little empire I built around me fell to the ground. I vividly remember one night sitting on my cold slate kitchen floor, the house empty, waiting desperately for my phone to vibrate, for the universe to alert someone of my need.
Logically I knew what I needed to do, eat, sleep, swim and work — do this, and you’ll be okay my brain repeated. My body, however, woke up feeling drained, my legs heavy with a pesky dark cloud that seemed to follow me everywhere I went.
For the first time in my life, I felt isolated; when I woke up my brain would quickly remind of my failures, that I deserved this and I would never overcome it. Social events became hell and when I managed to venture out, I maintained a facade that life is going great. Inside an insecure wreck desperately wanting someone to pull me aside, break down the layers and ask me how I was really going.
It was during this period that some of my closest friends drifted away, and some I could see were uncomfortable catching up. They had that squirmy look in their face of not wanting to say the wrong things and at times avoiding the situation all together for risk of not knowing what to say.
I think this is one of the major reasons why we so often struggle to ask our friends, family and colleagues ‘how are you really?’. We simply don’t know what to say once they start talking. We’re afraid that they’ll wait for us to respond with some groundbreaking wisdom or that we’re obliged to add insight to the change their situation. We tell ourselves that we are neither trained nor equipped to deal with this and therefore avoiding the awkwardness of it all is probably more beneficial for everyone involved.
This is where I think we need to begin. After years of working alongside young people and hearing thousands of stories, I’ve learnt that there simply isn’t a right way to be of help. There is no such thing as a mental health superhero nor a right or a wrong thing to say — it’s being there that’s important. Shutting up and not trying is our powerful first step.
People often ask me, why this? Right now there are people all around us living the kitchen floor moments, fighting off their own pesky dark clouds and waiting for someone to sit down next to them and show them they’re not alone.
We all hate it when we reach out for help, and get responses like “get over it” or other tough love. Don’t be that person, listen and respond with love.
Listening and asking follow up questions is the best way to help someone. Don’t try and solve their problems. Most people are just looking for someone to validate their feelings.
Everyone can help someone. We don’t need a special expertise to help, just an genuine interest to listen to others.
Depression…it’s a word that I am sure is very familiar to you. We use it a lot don’t we. Isn’t it curious then that we know so little about what this word means. The reality is that it probably means different things to different people. So with this in mind we asked some of our TalkLife community to share what depression means to them, because that’s what really matters right? How depression makes people feel. It makes some pretty powerful reading.
What does depression mean to you?
“It is something like seeing the game over screen and being out of coins.
Or like eating the ice cream but it has no taste.
Or like dreaming things that seem always better than your reality.
Or knowing that you could have made a better choice.
Or having a birthday party all by yourself.” Read more
I have spent the last five plus years of my short life being completely submerged in the world of mental health advocacy. I have also spent five years battling Binge Eating Disorder.
Typing those words even shocks me, so to my family and friends who are going to be upset with me for not telling them. I am sorry.
In my world, I am seen as recovered. I am quite literally put on stage to inspire people to keep trying. To let audiences know that recovery is possible and, more importantly, worth it. When I started speaking in 2010, I felt that I had conquered depression, anxiety, and suicide. At that time, I was surrounded by friends, succeeding in university (after nearly failing out in first year), and finding my voice in advocacy and on stage. I was getting attention I never thought would be possible for someone like me. Someone who never had a lot of friends, didn’t accomplish very much of anything, and seemed to always walk a different way then everyone else. I started to fall in love with how the people saw me (well the parts of the world who wanted to listen to me anyways).