Are we, the student minority, silenced?

According to a study by the Adam Smith Institute, eight out of ten universities are left-wing. And, though it can clearly be argued that right-wing are the majority by simply looking at the government in power, left-wing are definitely the majority within students and young-adults.

What frustrates me is that right-wing supporters are seen as homogeneous, while it is perfectly believable that one might be only slightly left-wing as opposed to an extreme communist. Yet, if I admit to being right-wing, the assumption is made that I am a fascist and a racist. (Plot twist: I’m not)

I am a centrist – however I definitely lean further towards the right; I might even go as far as to say I am a small side step to the right from centre. I liked David Cameron, I hate Jeremy Corbyn, but I was a Milifan (bring back Ed) and I don’t think Theresa May is the best prime minister we could have by any stretch of the imagination. I am NOT a Brexiteer. I think Donald Trump is a ridiculous person to be leading the most powerful country in the world, however it is undeniable that in some ways he has made America great again – just look at the statistics.

I could make the unfair assumptions about left-wing supporters that are made about right-wing supporters but that isn’t fair. Yes, if someone tells us they support UKIP we are bound to question exactly why they do. But if they provide me with a valid reasoning, for example changes in taxes or the greater support for the NHS, I can respect their opinion and understand it. That isn’t to say I’m going to suddenly support UKIP, but I am able to see why they choose to. But if I went to a Corbynite and said I am a Tory, immediately harsh assumptions would be made about me, let alone if I claimed to be a UKIP supporter! Right-wing supporters are not all bigots, they are not all racists, they are not all homophobic, they are not all sexist, etc. That’s not to say none of them are,  but equally there are bigoted, racist, homophobic and sexist left-wingers.

Let’s focus on bigots. Controversial line coming up, but in my personal opinion, I would say left-wing students tend to be more bigoted than centrists or mild right-wing students. There seems to be an identity attached to being left-wing that involves being loud, angry at the world and extremely opinionated with no leeway for changing their minds. We’re all angry at the world at this point. Look at it. Nothing seems to really be going right. Haha punny. But the hostility left-wing students thrust out there is only making the world a more bitter place to exist. I understand being left-wing, I agree with some of their policies, and I don’t believe all left-wing people are judgemental and whatnot by any means – I am speaking generally based on personal and social experience.

I, among many others like myself, have been afraid to admit my political views. Because, what if I get branded a spoilt, racist, bigot before anyone has even heard what I have to say?



relapse and recovery

I’m a bit reluctant to write/post this – I don’t know which one I’m more reluctant to do really. But the thing that makes me want to write and post it is this: I have made it out the other end of this and that is what I need to keep showing whenever this happens. Plus it almost sort of detoxes the relapse out of my system to write it down.

Now, I am going to admit firstly that I had been drinking when I relapsed – I hadn’t had stupid amounts, but enough that I was having fun. We get the gist, yes? However, alcohol is a depressant so I have to be more careful around it. So, it was Friday night, I was out with my mates and I was having so much fun. Genuinely. But then something switched in my head and I couldn’t hold back the thoughts. Here’s the thing, whether people realise it or not, I am constantly fighting back negative thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all consuming when I’m on medication, but I do have to work at it every day to keep the suicidal and other such thoughts at bay. I have coping mechanisms which I have evolved over the past couple of years which work well for me, only on Friday night they didn’t. I was sat outside waiting for my mates to have a smoke and suddenly my brain turned on me. I didn’t deserve to be happy and having fun. I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I wanted to disappear because I couldn’t handle my own literal existence. Imagine that, not being able to cope with the fact that you are a living, breathing human being. I felt so dark. So, naturally, I left the club and went home. I had told some of my friends that I was feeling this way and, of course, they were concerned – if you’re reading this I’m still sorry for doing that to you. Walking home my thoughts just got worse and worse until eventually my inner voice was screaming “KILL YOURSELF” at me. (Now this next bit may be triggering so please skip to the next paragraph if you are easily triggered) I got home, found my sharpest knife and sat in my bathroom cutting my wrist until I collapsed from the pain. I was completely alone, crying and screaming, cursing myself and wanting it all to just end right there and then. And as I collapsed I truly thought I might have succeeded in killing myself, just for a moment.

A couple of my flat mates came back and found me in that state. Again, to them, I say thank you for everything you did to take care of me. What happened after my flat mates found me has overwhelmed me so much. I was in a strange hysterical state where I was calm, but inside my thoughts were still racing. I was sort of falling asleep but in a very negative mindset when two of my friends, one a very old friend, appeared in my room. The feeling I felt seeing these people surrounding me, four amazing people who were giving up their own time for me, was almost euphoric. I was being distracted by them so, although the thoughts were still there, they were being held back more. I want to specifically focus on one person, my old friend, I hope you’re reading this. The fact that he was someone who I had known so long, someone who has seen me at my worst states, and could easily just have forgotten about me once we moved to university to avoid all my ‘drama’ (haha, it’s funny because I study drama…), yet he came to see me. As cliche as it might sound, I was so touched by this. And, as all four of them sat with me, I felt safe for the first time that night.

I have realised that, despite what my illness might tell me, people do care. Depression might make you feel lonely, isolated, worthless and every other negative word under the sun – it sure has for me – but it is a bully. It is a liar. So is anxiety and every other mental illness. They are genuinely nasty things; they eat away at you like a tumour until you are so weak you cannot keep fighting them. But you have to hold on to the moments of light that come in the darkest times, I clutched at the support of my friends and held it tight to make it through the night and start a new day. And I woke up feeling so positive (in comparison to before) and thankful. Depression doesn’t often let you feel thankful, so we have to appreciate those little moments and, as I said before, keep hold of them. I suppose that’s the “moral of this story”, that positivity can come from the worst of times and relapse can help you move further towards recovery.

Gender pay gap? Yes, yes. It’s a thing.

Look, we all know we’ve come almost a million miles in gaining equality for women in the past century. That’s indisputable. So, let’s celebrate that for a moment – WOO! Okay, moment over. Now, let’s face the fact that there is still inequality, lots of it. Now, I have to make a disclaimer – I am focusing on Western countries and using British statistics, so by no means am I claiming this is accurate for the whole world. Let’s face it, Eastern culture has even less equality (sorry).

So let me hit you with some F.A.C.T.S (Fucking Awful, Crazy, Terrifying Statistics). The average gender pay gap in 2017 between employees of all ages in all full time occupations was 14.1%. (I should probably state now that all the statistics I provide are averages found in government research.) Culture, media and sports occupations face an average pay gap of 35.9%. This should come as no surprise if you saw the leaked pay of BBC employees. Now, some people argue that it’s a different argument for the BBC because popularity and fame has to play a certain role in the salaries, which to some extent I agree with. However, let’s take BBC news readers as an example, no offence to them but I wouldn’t say people get excessively excited when a specific reporter is on the 10 o’clock news. The 3 top paid news readers are male, earning from £400,000 to Jeremy Vine’s higher band of £749,999. The first woman comes into the table at number 5, which seems good, and it’s Fiona Bruce earning between £350,000 and £399,999. Fair play to her, you go girl. But then the rest of the female news readers are capped at £200,000 to £249,999 with Victoria Derbyshire being the next highest paid female after Fiona, in 12th place. Now, I may be mistaken but I don’t think gender plays any role in how the news is presented, and yet almost all the female news readers are in the bottom bracket of the salary. To use another example, let’s look at Clare Balding. We all know Clare Balding and frankly if you don’t you must live under a rock. Clare Balding is the 96th highest paid BBC star. I’m sorry but I think Clare Balding is pretty popular, she’s pretty well-known; so if the BBC have to also take popular demand into account, I’d expect Clare to be a little higher on the list…

On a different note, let’s look at the difference in pay gaps in various age ranges. It didn’t surprise me at all to learn that the younger generations have smaller pay gaps, for example ages 18-21 have an average of 6.7%. I think this is because the opportunities for promotions, pay rises and everything else haven’t yet come to workers at this age, so at the base of it the genders start equally. It’s only when women go on maternity leave, when they fail to get or even apply for the promotions which men will inevitably get, that the pay gap widens. The pay gap in workers of 60+ is 18.4%. Now, we cannot deny that this gap is a result of previous inequality and that, sadly, many women of that generation may be so used to being paid less than men that there is less argument against it from them. Let’s break it down even further and focus on specific jobs. In health care professionals aged 60+ the pay gap is 45%. This is shocking as, for most people, these are their last years of work when they are trying their hardest to earn whatever they can to better their pensions. So, the female health care professionals are being practically robbed of a better pension, based quite frankly purely on their gender. I can’t tell you what the pay gap is for health care professionals aged 18-21 as it is not available for whatever reason, but the pay gap in ages 22-29 in this field is 13.9% which is vastly smaller than that of the older workers. Are organisations taking advantage of the fact that older generations are more accustomed to the pay gap? Are they using historical cultures to save money cunningly? As a whole, the health sector pay gap is 27.9%, one of the highest of them all. And yet, this is, for the most part, a public sector and the average pay gap in the public sector is 14.3% compared to 17.1% in the private sector. Why is this relevant, you ask? It’s relevant because there are far too many people looking at statistics individually and not combining them to find where certain fields of work are really abusing the pay gap. You might look at the pay gap among sectors and think, rightly so, that private sectors are more guilty of unequal salaries. But that doesn’t mean that the public sectors don’t have worse pay gaps in certain fields of work.

Is this making sense? I’m writing this and confusing my own brain a little bit so I don’t blame you if you’re baffled. I know I’ve simplified this a lot but that’s because you’d be reading an entire dissertation if I put it all into one post. It’s a very complicated thing, the gender pay gap, because in some cases it can be purely coincidence that a woman is paid less than a man for a similar job, dependent on circumstances and whatnot. However, when a man and a woman do exactly the same job, there can be no excuse for paying the woman distinctly less than the man. But alas, as much as some may deny it, certain companies still do this despite the laws in place and their moral compasses (which I have come to the conclusion that they must lack because how can you have one if you think women deserve less than men for the same job purely because they have a vagina between their legsSorry, I’m getting emotional about it, blame my hysterical womb! You see, I’m giving you all these numbers because I know people prefer facts and figures to opinions and emotions. So, take this cold, hard evidence and I will not place my emotions on top of it. But believe me I’m emotional about it. It is ridiculous. Sorry, emotionally unstable woman speaking, I know we’re only here to be looked at, not heard. I know our opinions aren’t as valid as men’s, I know, I know. What? Am I being outdated? Well, since we’re still living in an outdated world when it comes to gender pay, why not play the role?

my problem with #metoo

This is going to be controversial. I can be sure of that. So, I am going to first put in place my disclaimer:

I know that sexual assault and the rape culture within the media and film industry is a problem. I do not deny that there are disgusting, disrespectful people (not only men, but women too) who have and even some still will assault other people both physically and verbally in any manner, but in particular sexually. There is no dispute about that, and I have the deepest sympathies for anyone, famous or not, male or female, who has had to endure anything of the sort from anyone. Especially when said person, for example Harvey Weinstein, had a position of authority and control over their victims to make them feel more vulnerable and less in control of themselves. Please bear my disclaimer in mind when reading the rest of this.

Here is my problem. Too many people can now falsely accuse notable people of sexual misconduct or other such behaviour. We live in a world where people do disgusting things in fits of anger and everything is instant. Now, I’m not saying we should just immediately assume every victim is making up their story, nor should we assume every accused person is a criminal. The difficulty is, people throw around these habitual argumentative phrases such as, “let’s all believe in the innocence of a white good looking male and discredit the woman’s testimony as always” and “no one ever believes women, this is why we don’t talk”, and these call upon every discrimination that we so violently hate in society nowadays. In particular, sexism and racism. We are all turning so firmly against “the white man” because he must be a criminal based on the way we, as a society, push for equality in everything.

Now, this argument of mine could become far longer if I go into exploring my view of ‘feminism’ vs. ‘Feminism’ and why that word is completely antiquated and should be, because of how far we have come in getting women equal rights already, called ‘equalitism’. But let’s not. Let’s save that one for a rainy day. Let’s just look at the way society is now. Frankly, we live in a world where nobody can keep themselves whiter than white (what an ironic saying in these times…) and everybody slips up, whether it be big or small. Yes, sexual assault is more than just a slip up. Yes, there are boundaries to draw the line between human nature and unforgivable behaviour. However, nobody is a saint. Saints do not exist. Human nature dictates that, no matter who you are, you put your survival needs ahead of anything else when it truly comes down to it. It is only when there is an imbalance in the chemicals that human nature can begin to shift, which I think must be the case for assaulters. I truly don’t believe anyone can be of sound, sane mind and believe that sexual assault and rape is acceptable at any time. No. I’m not excusing their behaviour at all. I am simply saying, we need to understand the intensity of the world we live in, especially for people in the public eye.

What I am angry about is that I believe that all this will do now is make more men (and even women) turn against ‘feminists’ (or ‘equalitists’) due to the storms of abuse that have and still will be thrown at innocent men, especially white men, about sexual assaults. It will also make those people who believe so strongly and passionately about this that they hurl this abuse at innocent bystanders, purely because they are angry at the world and human nature for being the way it is quite frankly, even more abusive. Abuse is never the answer to abuse, is it? I am scared that more and more women (or men) will come forward and falsely accuse these “white, privileged men” of rape or similar things in a fit of rage. Think about how easily you can sometimes send a text in anger, or spit out some hostile words at someone or about someone. In this day and age, with social media, it only takes one second for something to move across the entire world and make headlines. I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever falsely accuse someone of that behaviour, to such an extreme that I could ruin their entire lives and have them end up in prison. However, equally, I cannot imagine ever believing it would be okay for me to force myself upon a person and sexually assault them without consent. And yet, people do believe that that is acceptable behaviour. So, I believe it must work for both sides.

We live in a far from perfect world, full of far from perfect people, living far from perfect lives. Of course, victims of assault of any kind should speak out and get the support they need. Of course, nobody should ever assault anyone. Of course, nobody should lie. But we cannot guarantee any of that. We cannot force human beings to be this ideal, every person has different wiring in their body and we are far from understanding the true depths of the complexity of the human brain. So, for now, we have to accept that this world is fucked up. And all we should want to try to do, is make it that little bit less so by being fair and honest.

anxiety, episodes, attacks, panic.

I want to talk about panic attacks. Or anxiety attacks. Whatever you want to call them. The reason I want to do this is because, certainly for myself when I first started suffering from anxiety attacks, I had no idea what was happening and wasn’t aware I even had any form of anxiety. I’m going to explain my personal experiences of anxiety – they may differ to those of others – but I hope this might help people realise that anxiety affects a lot more people than we think. You might have had a panic attack and never known.

I have two types of panic attacks. One of them I don’t really label as a ‘panic attack’ because I don’t feel like I’m panicking so it feels like mislabelling. However, the first definitely is a panic attack. It is caused by my social anxiety, which I am happy to say I have managed to get very much under control over the past few years. My social anxiety is triggered by unfamiliar public journeys alone. So, basically, if I have to get the train to somewhere I have never been before on my own I get anxious. When I was younger I physically could not take public transport by myself and would not go out unless my mum/dad could give me a lift. I could not even take taxis – and taxis are still something I find very difficult at times. The anxiety would also get bad if I felt remotely threatened, for example if I was around drunk strangers, or frankly (sorry for the stereotype) strange men.

So this panic attack, how did it manifest itself? I’m going to use an example of when I was with two of my friends (I wasn’t even alone) at a train station in winter. It was about 6pm, so not late, and we were getting the train to meet one of my friend’s mums for dinner. We had to walk down an alley type thing to get to the station and it was dark because of the time of year, I felt slightly on edge. I wasn’t panicking at this point but I could feel my palms were sweaty and my heart rate was very slightly faster than usual. All of a sudden some drunk men stumbled towards us and one started pissing practically on us. They shouted things, though it was unclear as to whether they were aiming their proclamations at us or just the world around us. Immediately my heart rate doubled and I was gasping for breath. We kept walking towards the station. We realised these men were also walking to the station now. See, I can safely say now with the benefit of hindsight that these men were not following us and didn’t actually have any interest in us. But in my head, in that moment, I was telling myself something else. “They are going to rape you.” “They are going to grab you and take you away.” “They are going to kill you.” “You are going to die.” These thoughts whirled around in my head and I could not keep them at bay. Suddenly there were tears running down my face, only I wasn’t crying in my usual way. They were just tears of fear, no sobbing or wailing, I simply and truly believed I was going to die in that moment so I was crying in terror. I was stood on the platform, with my two friends sheltering me, genuinely believing the thoughts in my head. I was shaking, unable to breathe evenly; I could only mutter single words at any one time. Eventually the train came and we left the drunkards behind, but my anxiety remained. For the rest of the night I was quiet, still shaking and my heart rate was still too fast. Now my brain was telling me those men were going to find me. I felt as though I was suffocating that entire night, it took a long time for the panic to subside, and it only really did when I went to sleep.

The second type of anxiety attack I have is caused by my general anxiety. The example I will use here is a sensitive one, which I find pretty hard to write about because of the circumstances, but it is the best example I can give. It was late at night and my ex-boyfriend and I were in bed about to go to sleep. I can’t remember what it was but we fell out over something, it was no doubt stupid but it felt so important in the moment. The reason I don’t like to call these episodes anxiety/panic attacks is because I don’t feel anxious in the traditional sense, I’m not panicking about anything. They just are what they are. I felt this heat surge through my body, almost like the feeling you get when you’re really angry at a person, except I wasn’t angry. This heat filled my whole body and I began to want to rip off my skin to cool down. I was sat bolt upright in bed and holding back tears. I cry a lot so I try my best to refrain wherever possible. My eyes were stinging and I was beginning to hyperventilate. We kept arguing, he got more frustrated as I feel deeper into my episode. I began to get angry at myself, a livid monster was inside my head telling me to stop. “Just stop.” “STOP.” “You are bad.” I was just angry. I cannot explain why this happens, I don’t understand why my brain immediately turns to self-loathing but these bullying thoughts start and I can’t stop them. Suddenly I started hitting myself on the head. I smacked my head with my hands over and over again, causing myself as much pain as possible. I started pulling at my hair, wanting to rip it all out. I wanted to get out of my own body. I felt possessed. It was as though my spirit was trying to escape the prison that is my body.

My episodes happened quite frequently towards the end of my relationship. It is only since the break-up that I have realised the trigger was him. That we just weren’t working anymore. But that’s a different story. There were other ways my anger towards myself manifested itself in my episodes – sometimes I would bang my head against a wall, sometimes I would cut myself. I don’t think people really associate self harm with anxiety attacks; it is generally thought to pair with depression/bipolar/BPD/etc. I think anxiety is often overlooked as a mental health problem because it’s not omnipresent. However, if I can make just one person realise that they are not weird or messed up, that simply they experience mild anxiety (or any other extremity of anxiety), so that they feel more self-aware, then I am doing my job here. It’s ridiculous that people feel ashamed of the emotional sensations they feel in certain situations. Anxiety is our body’s natural defence mechanism – think about fight or flight. That response is entirely based on our anxiety. It’s just that when you label something with “anxiety” it suddenly has very negative connotations. So let’s embrace all that. We should be proud that our brains are intelligent enough to have this safety net in place just by human nature. Wow. I love the brain.

Cool. I’m done now. Hope I haven’t rambled too much. Have a nice day!

unrequited love (literally)

It’s late and I can’t sleep, so what do I think to do? I think it wise to sit at a computer typing out all these thoughts I’ve been having for the past however many weeks it has been. CLEVER LOVEDAY. Stimulate that brain instead of putting it to sleep.

So, by now my blog isn’t very anonymous and I actually have it set to automatically share every post to Facebook and Twitter (attempting to break the stigma, ya know). This means it is actually very hard for me to talk about certain things because people know more detail than is necessarily helpful to my writing. For instance, I want to write about my break up. But that’s not easy when 99% of people reading this probably know exactly who I was dating. And it’s not fair on him either.

But I want to write about this stuff. So, what do I do? I’m going to write. But not anything damning or rude; I’m not going to go into the depths of the falling apart of my relationship or share anything personal beyond myself. I’m going to write about the emotional journey (cliché phrasing, I know) that I have been on.

I have to say first, I am in a much sounder place in my head and I am genuinely happier than I have been in a long time – this break up was for the best for both of us – I hope he is happier too.

So, Loveday, what are you on about? Well, reader, I want to talk about the feeling of loving someone who no longer loves you back. Maybe my love grew, whilst his remained the same. Perhaps he had loved me less for a long time and my love for him was the same as ever. Truthfully, there will never be any way to evaluate that properly and I’m not sure I would want to know the answer anyway.

I was beginning to feel crushed, as though my body was being shattered into pieces. It took control of my body very physically and aggressively, and I had no control over it. I was sick several times a day, gripped by anxiety and in very real bodily pain. But that’s just the physical side of it – mentally, I had been fighting a lot harder and for a lot longer. We knew going to different universities would be hard, but nobody could really prepare us for how hard it was going to be. It got to the point where I constantly wanted to scream at him and demand that he love me back just as much as I love him. But love is a funny thing; you can’t just force someone to love you more, or even to love you back.

I felt him slip away from me those last few weeks. Only it wasn’t a gradual falling apart. Suddenly, one day, he just no longer had space for me in his life. Whilst I had all the space for him in the world. So, I was thrust out of his life while he slowly fell out of mine. In my head, he was my be all and end all. He was the oxygen which I breathed everyday, and losing him would kill me. So, I gripped tighter, I breathed heavier and deeper, until eventually the air ran out. I bled him dry. And if he’s reading this, I am so sorry for that – that is where I will accept my blame in this mess.

The pain I felt over those few weeks was indescribable. My whole body hurt physically and my mind was the worst place to be stuck. I threw myself into a whole new world and behaved in ways that speak nothing of my true character. I had no self-worth. I became a shell of a person, I had no substance, so I left him with nothing to love. I was angry at him all the time, because I couldn’t understand why our love wasn’t the same anymore. I couldn’t comprehend how I could still love him so hopelessly and yet he didn’t love me like that anymore. In some ways, I still can’t. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still lie awake and hurt at night sometimes. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still furious at him for everything that happened, for throwing it all away. But, as I said before, I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t happier. The pain of loving someone who doesn’t love me back is still kicking – not constantly – but it’s there. However, I’ve come to learn that I love this idea of the person I thought he was (and, even, the person he used to be) and that person does not exist. So, I love someone who doesn’t exist, someone who maybe never even did exist. And the person I projected that great love onto has stopped loving me, whether he was that actual person or not. (I’m sorry if I’m not making sense…) And the pain of that is all-encompassing and horrific at times. This is not something I would wish on my worst enemy.


desserpeD yllacinilC: A Backwards Brain.

I’ve been awol for a while. I know. Sorry. I’m 75% messy mind half the time so I juggle what I can, and for the past few weeks that’s been focusing on trying to get my YouTube going (if you weren’t aware of it, here ya go: However, this week I’m taking a break from filming because, to be quite frank, I don’t have the mental capacity to put on a smile for a video and spend the endless hours editing. Again, sorry.

I was, well, incited to write by a book I’m reading. It’s called Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression, written by Sally Brampton and published in 2008 when, I suppose, she was in a period of remission. Perhaps remission sounds strange to you when describing mental illness. But there is a stigma we want to break. “We” being the mentally ill folk. Remission exists in exactly the same way with mental illnesses as with physical ailments, such as cancer. And there is the same fear of relapse (which, funnily enough, is a word commonly used to describe mental illness by many people, yet there is a lack of awareness that pre-relapse a person is in remission…did that make sense? Not too sure.)

Where was I? Yes. Relapse. Remission. All that jazz.

So, let’s talk about Sally Brampton for a moment. I have been incredibly touched by her writing, relating to what she describes more than I ever thought I could and realising more and more that the way I feel isn’t abnormal when faced with mental illness. Sally passed away early last year, she walked into the sea. Her obituary in The Guardian said this, “Sally will be remembered as the editor who transformed the women’s magazine market and trained a generation of confident, accomplished female journalists. She should also be remembered as the woman whose ferocious honesty about depression saved lives.” ¹ She was a high-powered editor, hugely responsible for the success of the British edition of Elle magazine, and yet she fought the same battle against depression that so many people fight on a daily basis. It’s strange how you can connect with someone from such a different world to you because of a mere chemical imbalance.

As I read Brampton’s book, I find I’m learning more and more things about my illness, which I didn’t think possible after living with it for almost two years now. I don’t know if I’ve ever really clarified what exactly I suffer from. Maybe I have, maybe if you know me you already know this. However, I didn’t actually know what to call it until I sat crying in front of my mum the other day and asked her what was wrong with me. It’s called clinical depression. Nice name, eh? I also suffer from anxiety and disordered eating, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. The reason I say it like this is because I’ve had people, namely certain males from a neighbouring school, mock me for telling people about my illnesses. I have been accused of attention-seeking and everything a sufferer of anxiety’s worst nightmares are full of. (Excuse my grammar there I know you’re not supposed to finish sentences with prepositions but I couldn’t figure out a better way to phrase it).

Well, anyway, the purpose of my writing all this babble is because there are two things Sally Brampton has taught me. One, is that remission can have an end AKA you can (and often will) relapse. Sadly, she showed that in the worst way. Although, it feels oddly ironic being suicidal and saying “sadly” someone managed to commit suicide. It’s almost that sort of bitter congratulations you give someone when they beat you in something you really wanted to win. However, being both British and human, I have to put sadly as, despite everything, death is just sad. I am relapsing. This is possibly the one moment I will fully admit it. I can tell I am relapsing because I no longer want help. I don’t want to eat anymore, I don’t want to exist anymore, and I find everything causes me horrible pangs of anxiety. So that’s that. Let’s move on from that hastily please. I mean it when I say I don’t want help, sincerely. The second lesson is that my memory loss from my most ill phases is COMPLETELY normal. This is a very specific lesson but I always found it so confusing that I just can’t remember huge chunks of the first term of my lower sixth year. And I am always left with blanks after I have episodes. I forget whole conversations I have. Sally wrote in her book, “There are parts of my memory of that time that are still missing…There are conversations I have had, or that people have told me I have had, that are quite blank to me and I am apt to grow confused about the chronology of months, or even years” and reading that, I felt this sudden sense of comfort knowing I’m not the only one. I think about it a lot. Often, I ask myself why I have so little memory of my worst moments and I have come to the conclusion that it is my brain protecting me. Just as your body creates a scab to cover an open wound, your brain controls what you remember to protect you. It’s science! Your brain chooses not to record the conscious memories you could have kept, in an attempt to prevent that pain from returning. However, it works the other way too, as Brampton put, “other parts of my memory of that time are still acute enough to mean that I have only to pass certain places of smell certain scents to feel intense pain. It returns at an almost cellular level.” This is the brain maintaining the conscious memory of tiny little details of traumatic experiences, rather than the whole experience itself. Again, not too sure if I’m making any sense but I hope somehow this all pieces together for you to read.

I think now, the last thing I want to do is leave you with some lines from Shoot the Damn Dog that I relate to and have stuck with me. Maybe, if your brain is sometimes silly (always silly, Loveday, be accurate) like mine, it will help you feel less isolated. Perhaps you’ll just understand more what sufferers of mental illness go through, and you’ll be able to help someone close to you by showing your understanding. Who knows? But here you go:

“Nor is it, truly, a desire to die so much as a fervent wish not to go on living.” (on being suicidal) Honestly, I have never read anything which sums up my thoughts on suicide more.

“Depression is a paralysis of hope.” You just feel hopeless. All. The. Time.

“Religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who’ve been there.” When I read this, I thought a lot about it. I wouldn’t call myself spiritual at all but I know, having been in the darkest of places that (for me, it may be different for others) religion is not something I can see any hope in to save myself.

“These days I believe that it wasn’t myself that I hated, so much as the self I became during depression. I wanted it dead.” If any depressive doesn’t think this, I’m very jealous. We all want the bloody thing to go away.

“Imagine saying to someone that you have a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, and being told to pull yourself together or get over it.” Let’s break this stigma please. YOU CANNOT JUST GET OVER DEPRESSION. Or any other serious mental health problems for that matter.

“Frankly, I’d happily shoot the damn dog and be done with it; but I’ve come to accept that it is both unkillable and, in some sense, unknowable. Certainly, it often takes me by surprise.” In case people aren’t aware, “the damn dog” refers to Churchill’s labelling of depression as “the black dog”. This sort of ties in with the above quote, it’s not something you can just remove, nor is it a reasonable illness.

“Depression…depresses every single cognitive process. Concentration, memory, logic, reason, even the interpretation of facts and actual events are all interrupted.” This is so important for non-sufferers to understand. Everything, everything, is affected by depression and we can’t help it.

“I am, in all these ways, blessed. I am also a depressive. It doesn’t quite fit, does it?” I often think like this. How am I depressed when I have such an amazing life. But unfortunately, depression (and other mental illnesses) doesn’t discriminate.

“I am a case. I am a trial. I am an error.” Sometimes this is just how I feel, going back and forth to appointments, trying medication, frankly trying everything.

“I don’t want sleep. I want oblivion.” Sleep is my saviour. Always.

“Depression is the great thief.” I guess I take from this that she is saying depression steals your life. For example, for me it has stolen my sixth form. A time in my life I should have been learning how to grow up, not how to deal with clinical depression. It steals your entire body and all your attention. Yeah, it’s selfish like that.

“I used to be somebody. I am still somebody.” This perfectly sums up the contrasting feelings between my good brain and my bad brain, AKA depression vs. me.

“I want to die. I want, so badly, to die.” Pretty self-explanatory.

“Today I can’t honour it by calling it an illness. Today it is just a thing that neither of us knows or understands.” Some days I wake up so sick of fighting this bloody thing. I can’t stand it and want to spit in its face.

“I am terrified she will give up on me, that this thing will drive her away. Every depressive has that fear. Why would anyone want us? We don’t even want ourselves.” I think this one comes under anxiety more than depression. There is a constant fear that everyone is going to leave me because I’m a downer and have 0 personality half the time and I am just a pretty nasty person when in the intense grip of my depression.

“Telling somebody in the grip of severe depression that they are being selfish and self-pitying is like telling somebody with asthma that they have breathing difficulties. It is meaningless except as a statement of fact…They are lost in a place without boundaries or borders, where the concept of self has no meaning. They have lost their very self.” We all know we’re selfish. You don’t need to tell us. But as selfish as we are half the time, we are also so very concerned for others the rest of the time, for fear of them ending up in the state we are in. Make sense? It’s human nature.