Suicidal Ideation According to Me

I find mental health diagnoses really weird. The brain isn’t the same as the rest of the body in that its illnesses are completely different for everyone who experiences them, even though they might come under the same label. Depression is different for everyone. Anxiety, too. Every single mental experience is completely different so every single mental illness will be very different. Of course, there will be similarities/crossovers and, with the improvements in mental health understanding and awareness over the last twenty years, it is becoming ever more understood just how complex the human brain can be. As I have understood my own illness more over time, I have grown more and more interested in mental health awareness and begun to value the importance of sharing personal experiences in order to help others. It is vitalthat we talk about our mental experiences so that we can normalise very frightening realities of the mind which most people will probably experience at some point in their life. Recently, I was introduced to the term ‘suicidal ideation’ – I might have been told about it at previous points in my treatment over the last five years but I hadn’t connected it with my own experiences. It was in doing research for my dissertation that I came across the term recently; I think somehow reading about it in an ‘objective’ context completely separate to my own personal experience allowed me to emotionally connect with the experiences, and therefore to make it personal. I began thinking about it…

 

Suicidal Ideation. What exactly does that mean? I think it must be different for every person who experiences suicidal ideation; in my research so far, there are such varying experiences of mental illness. Some of the labels which are most commonly used are ‘depression’, ‘anxiety’, ‘mood disorder’ and ‘personality disorder’ but I think the reason ‘suicidal ideation’ stood out to me is that I hadn’t heard it used much. So I want to talk about it. I want to explain myexperience of suicidal ideation, starting with what it is to me – I have to stress that this might not bear any similarity to another person’s experience of suicidal ideation, but since my most up-to-date diagnosis I have come to accept ‘suicidality’ as being almost synonymous with ‘suicidal ideation’ – so when I am said to experience suicidality, I have come to think ‘suicidal ideation’ is a better label for me.

 

For me, ‘suicidal ideation’ is this constant stream of consciousness in my mind which thinks about nothing other than suicide. I think I should mention hear that I’m a vocal thinker, meaning that I hear my own voice saying my thoughts – I saw something recently saying not everyone thinks like that so I thought I should clarify why I use the word ‘voice’ without meaning voices other than my own. I hope that makes sense?

 

I have had this part of my mind which thinks about suicide for almost as long as I can remember, I think the earliest memory I have of a suicidal thought was when I was about nine or ten and I was being bullied. I remember thinking everything would be better if I killed myself – I thought everyone would be happier, I’d stop suffering and that would be that. Over a decade later and I still think about suicide every day.

 

When I say I ‘think about suicide’, I mean that I think about the topic of suicide and not just my own potential suicide. I have a fascination with suicide it seems, which I think I probably had before I ever even experienced depression; depression must just have led me to thinking about myself in the suicidal situations rather than another person. I am 21 now and almost every day I wake up with suicidal ideation; I wake up disappointed that I have woken up and that part of my mind fantasises about how I might manage to never wake up again.

 

The reason I think ‘suicidal ideation’ feels like a more appropriate label for myself is because my experience is not ‘active suicidality’. I don’t always feel the need to act on my ideations. It’s just this really annoying suicidal voice which wakes me up and whispers to me throughout the day. It is always, without fail, the first voice in my mind each morning. I’ve got pretty good at drowning it out though, hence why I don’t want to describe it as ‘active suicidality’. I can make my other thoughts louder and stronger so that the suicidal thoughts are muffled, but they’re still there. It’s almost like a low level of white noise humming in the back of my head; only, every now and again a word slips through the hum like “drown” or “suffocate” or “die” and for a moment the ‘bad brain’ has a hold of me.

 

Thanks to a form of self-medicating I have been using over the last 2 years, my experience with this immediate suicidal ideation most mornings has improved. I have become able to shut that suicidal voice up or, if I can’t silence it completely, I can make my other voices in my mind louder to drown it out. I have become able to sleep at night without fantasising about suicide too. Of course, some days are worse than others and some nights the suicidal voice is still there, some mornings the suicidal ideation doesn’t stop or I can’t make it quieter, some days are entirely bleak because my dominant voice is suicidal all day. But those days are farfewer than before, they are easier to manage and they are less terrifying for both me and those around me.

 

I want to stress to those who know me that this should not raise alarm bells. This is something I have been experiencing for years and am only now finally able to explain and give a name. I am stronger and more equipped through experience to deal with everything than I have ever been; in learning more about my own mind I am becoming more able to cope with it. It seems a bit odd that giving myself yet another diagnosis/label makes things easier, but it does. I think about my semi-colon tattoo, about the semi-colon project and its meaning; the author uses a semi-colon when she could have used a full-stop but the sentence isn’t quite over yet, it’s just a new part of it. My moments of suicidality make me the author of my life and I make the decision to use a semi-colon. It is a bump. A pause. It is not the end.

 

So, there’s an insight into my mind; I hope that anyone else experiencing anything like what I have mentioned is able to feel less alone in their experiences. Please reach out for help if you are struggling, more people care about you and want to help than your mind lets you think.

 

BOYCOTT LOVE ISLAND PLEASE

In the last two summers I have written two blog posts about Love Island; one completely slating it for the trash that it is, and the other seeing the entertaining side of it. So, now we’re in the middle of a new season it is time for another post. Only this one will be different, this one will be even angrier than my first post despite not having seen a single episode of the new series… because people have died because of this show. And it is still being aired.

I want to start with the facts, the harsh and upsetting truth to explain why I have boycotted Love Island this year, which is that Sophie Gradon, Aaron Armstrong and Mike Thalassitis all killed themselves as a result of the show. Now before you start shouting me down, claiming it wasn’t the show that killed them but the ‘fame’ or whatever else, ultimately those three people would not have been thrown into the positions they were in if it weren’t for Love Island. The fact that Aaron Armstrong was even a bloody contestant on the show and yet the damage it did to his girlfriend in turn caused so much damage to him is heartbreaking and incredibly concerning. How does Jeremy Kyle get axed after one suicide but Love Island keeps going after three suicides? Because Love Island makes ITV more money; it sucks the entire nation in and turns love into a game, making you believe you need that Love Island water bottle if you want to be happy.

What I find increasingly worrying is the number of ‘proper’ adults watching the show. I am so shocked by how many of my friends’ parents watch Love Island religiously while their children boycott it. My parents’ generation, in my opinion, should know better than to get hooked on such a toxic show. How is it toxic, you may be thinking, let’s cover some bases again like I did in my last two posts (Here and Here):

DIVERSITY. Um… what diversity…??? The fact that the only dark-skinned, black woman has been ‘dumped’ from the island and the token ‘plus-size’ contestant is barely bigger than a size 12 is depressing. The girls have had work done, some obviously more so than others and there is a distinct lack of wobbly bits which just make it unrealistic and upsetting. How many people are looking at their own ‘bikini body’ in comparison to the Love Islanders’ bodies and wishing they looked different? How many young girls’ self-esteem are we damaging and do we have to keep damaging until we wake up and realise what we’re doing?

ENTERTAINMENT VS REALITY. Okay, so why is it entertaining to watch other people get mugged off and rejected on TV? Why do we enjoy watching people cry as their very new relationships get ripped apart by a random new person entering the villa? I think it is absolutely crazy that these people think they love each other after knowing one another for a few days… but I can fully imagine what the heightened environment would do to their perspective on life and love. A day can feel like a week in the villa, and those who stay in the villa from the beginning until the end will most likely forget aspects of their life outside of the ‘Love Island Bubble’; so obviously she thinks she loves him and they will live happily ever after outside the villa… but bring reality back into the picture, give them expectations and responsibilities and it will all come tumbling down. The reason it (excuse my language, I’m angry) fucks with their heads so much when they leave the villa is because they suddenly have this audience watching their every move and very quickly have to return to reality, but their reality has changed. These people used to be ‘nobodies’ in comparison, now they are judged for everything they do. What they wear, how they speak, who they’re seen with, what they advertise… it’s a minefield which they have to try to navigate with no preparation at all. A person in the villa could think the nation love him/her, only to be ‘dumped from the island’ (I hate that expression) and discover that everyone hated him/her. This person can now sit at home for hours reading everything anyone has ever written about him/her on the internet… They can begin to believe the horrible things they are reading because, let’s be honest, if hundreds or even thousands of people were claiming you were a bitch, or a slut, or a fuckboy, or just a horrible person, you would start to believe it too eventually. Ultimately this show changes people’s lives forever, whether they expect it or not, and it is designed to entertain you. Aspects of the show are planned and staged. You are not watching a reality, but your opinions of the contestants are shaping their new reality outside of the villa based on the one hour of carefully selected clips from their 24 hours in the villa and that is not fair.

Okay, so some of you might say, well, they’ve chosen to go on the show so it’s their own fault. But in response to that I ask, would you say it is a person’s own fault for getting skin cancer because they went out in the sun? No. We make choices without knowing what the long term effects might be. Nobody can predict the future and unfortunately I think a lot of the contestants on Love Island are just hoping it will give them a better future. Nobody would enter a show knowing it would make them suicidal in the end. These people just aren’t aware of how powerful social media is. Nobody really is. Social media influences everything and if we read that Georgia (random name) is a ‘homewrecking slut’ (random phrase) over and over again on Twitter, we’ll be intrigued, maybe even watch Georgia on TV and then join the Twitter army against her, adding fuel to the fire than will inevitably engulf Georgia’s life once she has ‘left the villa’ or whatever.

Ultimately, what I want to say is this:

  1. Love Island sets unrealistic body image expectations. Girls, you don’t need surgery or injections or anything to look good. Appearance is superficial and ‘goodness’ comes from within. You could meet the best looking guy in the world but he might have the personality of a slab of concrete and no moral compass.
  2. We need to stop judging and harassing these people on social media because all it is doing is hurting them. We have to think in the rule of three when speaking: is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If what you want to say/post does not fulfil two of these criteria, don’t say it or post it!!! The most important to be aware of is necessity because, although it might feel necessary for you to post that ‘Emma is a horrible, fat cow’ (random name again), it is definitely not necessary at all, nor is it kind and frankly it’s probably not true because Emma is probably a human not a cow.
  3. We need to stand up to ITV and say ENOUGH. By watching the show you are putting money into their pockets for what? For people to commit suicide after leaving the villa because they can’t cope anymore? Capitalism can be a great system for creating wealth but, when it overlooks the wellbeing of people to maximise wealth, is that not a sort of breach of human rights? When did money become more important than people? Where’s the balance that we need? Why are we encouraging these businesses to exploit actual human beings for money?

 

Over and out x

#BoycottLoveIsland

10 things I have learnt in my second year at university

Here is what I have learnt in my second year at university:

1. It is up to you what you take from the set readings and research – if a section does not feel relevant to your angle, skip it over! The readings are full of so much detail that you should only read what interests you, the rest will feel like a waste of time. You decide what you want to take away from your degree, and that doesn’t have to be every detail. You will kill yourself trying to remember everything.

2. Your real friends will not stop being your friends just because you don’t see each other as much. It will always be the same when you see them, no matter how long it has been. Your real friends will also support you, whether your decisions are stupid or not (though they might recommend against sending certain messages, but you’ll do it anyway). And they’ll be there to help you pick up the pieces when it all falls apart.

3. You need to do a weekly shop and actually cook for yourself. You cannot live off Deliveroo and Dominos. Go on BBC Good Food, get a cookbook, cook with your mates – just bloody cook!! You don’t have the money to order food every day. (I’m still working on this one)

4. Despite how hard they can be, long distance relationships are so worth it for the right person.

5. Hoover your room, make your bed, clean your desk – you will feel as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

6. Wake up in the morning, even if you don’t have a lecture. Don’t sleep in every day until 12, you lose half the day which could be spent doing productive things.

7. It’s okay to have some days when you can’t get out of bed though. Wallow in those days so that the next day you wake up ready to start again. Watch Disney films, get your friends over, acknowledge the feeling and address it.

8. You don’t need to go out in order to have fun. I’ve had my best nights this year at home, laughing with friends. Going out is great once in a while but you’re getting old and you can’t handle the sesh like you used to.

9. Tell your friends you love them. Tell them you’re thankful to have them, tell them how much they’ve improved your life, because who doesn’t want to hear how happy they make someone?

10. Look after yourself. Shower. Brush your teeth. Do your make up. Style your hair. Get at least 8 hours sleep. Love yourself. Nap. Go outside. Exercise. Just remember to keep living for yourself, do what makes you happy. You are the one thing in life that you can control, so take control of your life and live it well.

It’s my name for a reason…

I am content. So content. And when I’m with my friends, I am happy. When I am with my boyfriend, I am happy. When I am with my family, I am happy. I am able to feel happy and it has taken me a while to recognise that. One of the questions my doctor asks me at my check ups is ‘Are you able to enjoy things to their full extent?’ and historically my answer was NO WAY. I couldn’t. I hadn’t learnt how to cope with the ‘bad brain’ and it would frequently get in the way during sixth form and my first term of university. But I have grown with my illness I suppose, by that I mean I have learnt how to live with it (and my medication is definitely at the right level at the moment). I understand myself a lot better now than I did a year and a half ago when I started university, which obviously is a natural part of growing up; but when you’re figuring yourself out whilst coping with mental health problems… I just couldn’t recognise myself for a long time because my illness would turn me into someone I wasn’t.

The thing that I had to change was my perspective, or the eyes through which I live my life you could say. I began looking at everything through a mind of gratitude, I took time to think of the wonderful parts of my life, even on the worst days. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy and sometimes my moments of gratitude are as simple as missing an old friend and letting them know. Sometimes my moments of gratitude can remind me of aspects of life which aren’t good. But I am always left feeling positive because I think of every reason I have to be thankful. A part of me wishes I was religious because I could be thankful for God then, but I can’t force myself to believe in something which I just don’t so I guess I look at the world from more of a spiritual perspective… that sound w*nk but it’s the best way I can describe it. I’m thankful for the amazing people in my life and the positive spirits they have brought into my life. And what I seek from the world is love because I sort of believe that’s what we’re here to do: love one another.

So now, I’m here. I’m stable. (I never thought I’d say that). I’m content. And when I think about the love I have around me I am happy. Ultimately, my name is Loveday so it was inevitable that would always I thrive off love.

I appreciate you

In the last year I’ve come a million miles when it comes to my mental health. This time last year I wasn’t even sure if it was a good idea for me to stay at university, I genuinely was a bit of a danger to myself. I didn’t look after myself and I didn’t love myself. Now, here I am, still learning how to look after myself and love myself, but in the strongest position I’ve ever been in. And that comes down to a few things, the first being my ‘vice’ which those close to me know about (it has changed my life, for the better). But another reason I’m so much stronger now is because of the amazing people in my life: my friends. All of you, those from home, those in Exeter, those thousands of miles away. So here’s to you guys:

I am so grateful for the positivity that you bring into my life. Thank you for making me laugh when I feel like crying. Thank you for calling me just to say hi. Thank you for updating me on your life so I don’t feel like I’m missing too much! Thank you for showing me parts of myself I never knew existed and teaching me to like myself. We’re working on getting to loving myself, but without any of you I wouldn’t be here today. Thank you to all my girls at home for having my back since day one – we march together. Thank you piñapple. Thank you Pat. Thank you to the weirdos I get to call some of my new best mates, I’ve only known you a year but I feel like I’ve known your messi-selves forever. Thank you to the good eggs that I live with for making our house feel like a home, I know I’m not the most useful housemate but I hope I provide entertainment? Thank you to the best thing that came out of my break up; every cloud has a silver lining. Thank you d**g-mother, you helped me transform my life.

I could go on and on. There are so many more people I want to thank, even those who might not consider me a friend. You’d be surprised how much of an impact one interaction can have. I suppose the purpose of this post is to make sure my friends know they’re appreciated, but also to remind others to think about the people in their life and what a difference friends can make. Write a list of who/what your grateful for. Tell your friends how much you appreciate them because everyone deserves to feel the love!

(I would also like to thank my family but that’s an entirely different post to be done one day)

Love Island 2018 – have I been converted?

I have a love-hate relationship with Love Island because, until it was put on Netflix, I had never properly watched it but I was very against it. I even wrote a blog post about it here and, having reread that, I still agree with a lot of what I said. The difference this year is that I understand why people watch it for entertainment – it is entertaining, I can’t deny that, and you do get hooked onto hoping certain couples work out and whatnot. The show has also handled sex much more sensibly this year, introducing rules after the chaos of last season. However, I still have some issues…

The GIRLS – this has been posted about everywhere already but, there is NO body diversity among the women on the show. All of them are slim, toned, no ‘wobbly bits’ and have probably had work done; which is fine but where are the curvy girls, or the ‘normal’ girls? I get it, attractive people make more people watch, fair enough, but the fact that the only diversity is that Samira is mixed-race is appalling in my opinion.

The GENERAL SHOW – I know I said it was entertaining, and it is, but it’s also sort of brainwashing us… I read a tweet last night that bothered me.img_4436.png

This bothered me because, yes the way Adam behaved was not on, but you can’t just brand every guy that is remotely similar to Adam as someone to be avoided. We also have no idea what Alex might do, he could prove to be exactly the same as Adam, or worse. My point is, every single bloody person is different so WHY do we compare people and assume everyone of a certain appearance or background will behave like one person…

At the end of the day these people have known each other just over a week and we, the audience, know them even less than that because we see snippets from just 1 hour of their 24 hour day… We do not know what these people are truly like, so don’t go idolising one and demonising another because you don’t know what goes on if the cameras don’t show you.

I mean, I’m literally watching Love Island now as I write this and I love it, so I don’t want it to stop but I think people, especially young girls, need to know how unrealistic the entire show is.

Unpopular opinion: I like Eyal

an in-depth study of eyeliner

I have a post-it note on my desk saying “WRITE ESSAY“, so naturally I decided to do a comparison of all my eyeliners and rank them according to their best attributes. Yes, eyeliner has attributes.

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So, first up is Eyeko’s eye do liquid eyeliner. This eye liner is perfect for beginners to wings or cat eyes, or for people who aren’t as bold with their wings. The tip of pen is like a felt tip and, though it has a fairly short life, it creates a very fine tip… Until you use it too much, and it gets stubby. But the solution to that is to cut the end of the pen, as though recreating the original tip. It is a thick black, not too liquid or washy so gives you a good clean line for a wing. This eyeliner lasts well; typically I could wear this for an entire day, maybe 16 hours, and it won’t have come off or smudged.

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Next is my ‘go-to’ liner, YSL’s shocking eyeliner. This liner claims to create a false lash effect and I think it definitely does; it makes your lashes look fuller because of the depth its deep black can create. The reason this is my go-to liner is because it’s very easy to use and creates a strong, bold, black wing which is my go-to eyeliner look. The tip of this pen is much longer and thinner than the Eyeko liner so you can create a longer, bigger wing easily as well.

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Third on the list is the longest-lasting eye liner, MAC’s Liquidlast Eyeliner. THIS EYELINER DOES NOT BUDGE. I have kept this eyeliner on for almost 3 days before, with no topping up, and it only began to fade after the second day. This eyeliner is like a tattoo for your eyes. It’s dangerous because it doesn’t come off easily, so you have to get your eyeliner right first time. I’m always hesitant to use this because, even though it is the longest-lasting and therefore ideal for lazy make up users, it is extremely thick liquid, almost like melted gel. And you have to wait for it to dry which often goes wrong because my eyes flicker somewhere and then BAM I’ve got eyeliner all over my eyelid. So for this one you need patience, a steady hand (which I really don’t have, so it’s a struggle) and lots of time. But when this stuff is done right it creates a very bold, fierce and clean-cut line.

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The fourth pen on the list is the one which served me best in its very short lifespan, it is BareMineral’s Lash Domination. This liner gives you such a good wing and is extremely easy to use but it dries out extremely quickly and, even for some of my friends, the lid pops off extremely easily without you realising. It is more liquid than most of the eyeliners I use but that makes it easier to apply if you want very fine lines.

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I don’t very often use pencils because I like the smooth line you can achieve with a pen but if I am doing a smoky eye or a softer look I will always reach out to these, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. These liners will blend with any eyeshadow you want to create a smooth transition; I particularly love doing this with the brown liner for my more basic looks. These create a very clean line, considering they are pencils, they are easy to use. However I would never use these to create a wing, they are far too stubby for that – no matter how much you sharpen them.

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Finally, I thought I’d note on how not all high-end products are good. All of the eyeliners I have mentioned are good quality from high-end brands but I have often been more disappointed by high-end products than drugstore products. This is MAC’s Penultimate eyeliner. I think this is possibly the most disappointing eyeliner I have ever bought and I spent £16.50 on it (at least, because I probably ordered it online and had to pay shipping). The colour is supposed to be ‘rapid black’ and yet here I am with wishy-washy black; it is a sheer covering of very thin black eyeliner. Two seconds later is has rubbed off as well. I had high expectations for this, based only on the fact it was from MAC, and I was extremely disappointed. I suppose the moral of this is go for quality over brand when it comes to make up. Of course, the higher end brands are more likely to produce products like foundation which are better for your skin. However, this is not always the case, so I am always trying new products to find the best one for me, cost-wise and skincare-wise.

This was a bit of a different post, in fact this was the sort of stuff I expected to be posting more often on here when I first created this blog. It’s what I want to be posting more of, but I’m not sure if people actually care and will read them. So feedback would be lovely. THANKS!